Foods Can Help You Lose Weight

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Most of us know weight loss requires consuming fewer calories than the body uses. Losing ½ pound of fat by dieting requires 10 days of consuming 200 fewer calories or 5 to 7 days of consuming 400 fewer calories per day than the body uses. One pound of body fat stores about 3,500 calories.Most conservative weight loss diets involve consuming at least 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day. When rapid weight loss is needed, fewer than 1,200 calories may be consumed, but only for a short time. Such diets often have too little of essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, and calcium. Consuming fewer than 800 calories does not increase the amount of weight lost and is harder to tolerate.

For us to be healthy, weight loss diets should provide about the same volume of food (by including more fiber and fluids) as the normal diet. They should also be low in saturated fat and sugar and include essential nutrients, including antioxidants. The following general guidelines may help people lose weight:

Reading food labels: People learn what nutrients and how many calories food, including beverages, contains. Then, people can plan their diet more effectively.
Counting calories: People keep track of the number of calories they eat. This strategy helps people control calorie intake. Choosing nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods: When fewer calories are consumed, getting the needed nutrients-particularly vitamins and minerals-is more difficult. So people should choose foods that contain many nutrients but not many calories. Whole-grain cereals and whole-grain breads that are fortified with vitamins are good choices. Fruits and vegetables that are deeply colored (such as strawberries, peaches, broccoli, spinach, and squash) tend to contain more nutrients than those that are less deeply colored.
Eating small meals frequently: This strategy can help with weight loss for several reasons. Insulin levels usually increase after eating, and more insulin is produced when many calories are consumed, especially when the meal is rich in carbohydrates. High insulin levels promote the deposition of fat and increase appetite. Eating small, frequent meals prevents insulin levels from increasing, thus discouraging fat deposition and helping suppress appetite.

Eating certain types of foods at certain times of the day: For example, fast-energy foods, such as carbohydrates, are best eaten when the body needs a large supply of energy-that is, in the morning and during vigorous exercise. The body's need for energy is lowest at night, so avoiding carbohydrates in the evening may help
If one stops using sugar and fat substitutes: Such substitutes and foods that contain them can sometimes help people reduce calorie intake. However, in some cases, sugar substitutes have effects on metabolism that slow the rate of weight loss.Exercising: Combining increased exercise with dieting greatly enhances weight loss because exercise increases the number of calories the body uses. For example, vigorous walking burns about 4 calories per minute, so that 1 hour of brisk walking per day burns about 240 calories. Running is even better, burning about 6 to 8 calories per minute.

Many people follow a specific diet to lose weight.High Protein-Low Carbohydrate Diets: Diets high in protein and low in simple carbohydrates have become popular as a way to lose weight. Most of these diets usually also restrict fat because each gram of fat supplies so many calories. However, some high protein-low carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, do not restrict fat.

The theory behind these diets is that slower-burning energy sources-protein and fat-provide a steady supply of energy and thus are less likely to lead to weight gain. In addition, people tend to feel full longer after eating protein than after eating carbohydrates because carbohydrates empty from the stomach quickly and are digested quickly. Carbohydrates also stimulate insulin production, which promotes fat deposition and increases appetite. However, the reason that these diets cause weight loss appears to be that people tire of the foods allowed by the diet and thus consume fewer calories.Experts disagree about whether avoiding foods with a high glycemic index helps with weight loss, particularly in low-carbohydrate diets, or not. The effect of the glycemic index is less important when only a small percentage of total calories is carbohydrates. In a low-carbohydrate diet, the difference between how fast the carbohydrates in various foods (with their different glycemic indexes) are digested is sometimes so small that it makes little difference to most dieters. Avoiding foods with a high glycemic index also sometimes eliminates foods with valuable vitamins and minerals. Experts also disagree on how important the glycemic load (the glycemic index plus the amount of carbohydrate in a food) is for weight loss.Some experts do not recommend following a high-protein diet for a long time. Some evidence suggests that over years, very high protein diets impair kidney function and may contribute to the decrease in kidney function that occurs in older people. People with certain kidney and liver disorders should not consume a high-protein diet. High-protein diets can speed the body's processing of certain drugs and thus may affect how well the drug works
Very low carbohydrate diets (of less than 100 grams a day) can lead to the accumulation of keto acids (ketosis). When people do not consume enough energy for the body's needs, the body breaks down fats. As part of this process, the body produces keto acids. In small amounts, keto acids are easily excreted by the kidneys without causing symptoms. However, in large amounts, they can cause nausea, fatigue, bad breath, and even more serious symptoms, such as dizziness (due to dehydration) and abnormal heart rhythms (due to electrolyte imbalances). People following a low-carbohydrate diet (or any other weight loss diet) should drink large amounts of water to help flush keto acids from the body.
Low-carbohydrate diets tend to cause large amounts of weight to be lost during the first week or so, as the body converts stored carbohydrates (glycogen) to energy. As glycogen is broken down, the body also excretes large amounts of water, adding to the weight loss. However, once the body begins to use stored fat for energy, weight loss slows. People following a low-carbohydrate diet may substitute fats for the carbohydrates they are avoiding. In such cases, the diet may be so high in fat that the total caloric intake exceeds what the body uses. In such cases, weight loss stops after glycogen is used up.
Low-Fat Diets: Fat supplies a large number of calories per gram and is more readily deposited as body fat than are proteins and carbohydrates. Reducing the amount of fat rather than the amount of protein or carbohydrate may be an easier way to reduce total caloric intake because a small reduction in fat saves so many calories. A reduction of only 10 grams of fat per day saves about 90 calories. However, the best reason for reducing the amount of fat in the diet is to lower cholesterol levels in the blood Lowering cholesterol levels benefits most dieters because weight increases their risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks or stroke. Because lowering cholesterol levels can help prevent or delay atherosclerosis, a low-fat diet tends to be the best weight loss diet for overall health. High-Fiber Diets: Fiber indirectly helps with weight loss in several ways: It provides bulk, which makes people feel full faster. It slows the rate at which the stomach empties so people feel full longer.
It requires more chewing, forcing people to eat more slowly and perhaps less.

And dont forget that high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, wheat bread, and beans, are filling without providing many calories. Eating more high-fiber foods may enable people to eat fewer less filling, high-calorie foods, such as high-fat foods. However, fiber supplements, such as guar gum and cellulose, are not effective for weight loss.

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