What is the best diet for fat loss? Here is a question we often get from seasoned clients and newbies alike.
Intermittent Fasting, Keto, and Vegan are the decade’s most popular trends.
However, the obsession with weight loss became popular after the publication of Lulu Hunt Peters, who wrote the first official diet book promoting weight loss as an aesthetic solution. She had lost 70 lbs. by following her strict calorie counting diet. Her book sold approximately two million copies and continued publication for over twenty years. It is also credited with being the first modern American diet book and spurring a generation of calorie counting and fad dieting.
The low-calorie fads continued in the thirties with the Hollywood diet, followed by the cabbage diet in the fifties.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) made its debut in the 1940s and is also based on caloric restriction; you will eat fewer meals. However, feeling famished during the fasting periods could lead to binging behaviors when you are not fasting, eating more calories than you burn, and in the process gaining weight. So, for IF to work, you need to eat clean and stay in a caloric deficit. Research shows no evidence that IF leads to more fat loss than cutting calories alone.
Finally, in the seventies, we saw the Slimfast, a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, then a sensible dinner – become a diet staple.
The high-fat frenzy of the 1980s and ’90s promoted South Beach and Adkins diet, which lost popularity in early 2000. However, fat made a big comeback with the keto diet this past decade.
The eighties also brought the aerobics trend when Jane Fonda launched her first exercise video with the tagline, “No pain, no gain.“
But did any of the diets of the last century produce a slimmer, healthier generation?
Perhaps COVID-19 is giving us a wake-up call to change how we think about health, nutrition, and exercise.
The truth is there is no best diet. However, avoiding excesses and maintaining a balanced food plan is the answer. Michael Pollan gave the best advice of all time in his book: “If You Can’t Say It, Don’t Eat It! If your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, then neither should you.”
Here are your best tips for eating healthy
- Prepare home-cooked meals using whole and minimally processed foods as often as possible
- Limit saturated fat (unhealthy fats)
- Make sure to have lean protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates at every meal (Healthy carbs are your body’s primary source of energy: They fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system)
- Favor seasonal fruits and vegetable
- Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol; instead, drink water
- Drink more water (half an ounce for each pound you weigh)
- Substitute meat for a plant-based protein
- Eat smaller meals more often
- Plan your meals each week ahead of time
To be fit as a fiddle, you need to achieve an ideal BMI (Body Composition Index) and healthy metabolism.
Women often mistakenly believe that they have a slow metabolism due to hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction, or genetics. Sometimes that’s true, but it is often due to insufficient muscle mass, which slows down the metabolism.
Unfortunately, the aerobics craze produced a flawed belief system about the benefits of cardio for weight loss. Similarly, fad diets have misguided the masses about what to eat.
Long periods of aerobic activities combined with low-calorie intake will eventually cause weight gain because the body goes into starvation mode. This causes your hormones to conspire against you and provoke food cravings.
Ultimately, whether it is keto, fasting, low-carb, no-carb, low fat, high-fat, organic, vegetarian, vegan, you will end up overeating and gaining weight. When you eliminate a vital food group from your diet and deprive yourself, you destroy the hormones that regulate metabolism and longevity. This is the body’s natural and inevitable survival mechanism.
The answer to fat loss is building muscle mass.
Increasing lean muscle mass changes your body composition and reduces visceral fat that surrounds the internal organs. Visceral fat creates chronic inflammation, which causes illnesses associated with obesity, including heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
Strength training is a fundamental factor in improving body composition and lowering visceral fat. But unfortunately, you cannot evaluate visceral fat by stepping on a scale.
Therefore, acquiring muscular definition with strength training is healthier than solely losing weight through dieting. Best of all, it will also slow down the aging process.
Also, fat loss should not be confused with weight loss; those are two very different things. For example, through excessive dieting and aerobics, you could lose weight in the form of muscle loss, potentially causing health-threatening complications. But, on the other hand, you could enjoy a healthy diet, build muscle mass, look and feel amazing, yet have gained muscle weight.
Another point to consider is that lean muscle mass contains 75% water, while fat only has 10%. Water is mandatory to live healthily and makes up most of our blood that circulates and provides nutrients and oxygen to the body.
Keeping a caloric deficit is a necessity for weight loss, however. Calories can add up very quickly. Because certain foods are classified as healthy does not mean they are low in calories; thus, it’s a good idea to keep track until you get things under control, at least for a week or two. No need to be obsessed. There are many free apps you can find online to get started.
Following these healthy tips will result in progressive and sustainable weight loss.
Living young and fit is all about muscles.
Muscle loss syndrome starts at 30 years of age at an average of 10% per decade, depending on your lifestyle. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of this until they get in their 40s, 50s, and up.
One day they wake up, look in the mirror, and wonder what happened to their body!
There are no shortcuts. Dare to live young with strength training and a healthy diet.
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