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Best Diet

By Anne Keckler | August 18, 2014

Average Dieter:

“But Anne, I’m losing weight on this diet! How can you possibly tell me it’s not a good diet?”

Typical Weight Loss Diet

You’ll lose weight on just about any diet, at least in the beginning. Most diets require you to give up some of your usual foods. This sudden change in eating habits will cause you to consume fewer calories, at least at first. This happens on the low-fat diets, the low-protein diets, the low-carb diets, the grapefruit diet, etc. It doesn’t matter!

Best Diet

The best diet for you is the one that keeps you healthy. That means at a healthy weight, but more importantly at a healthy body composition! Many people who are overweight pay too much attention to the bathroom scale, and they ignore the fact that your goal should be to lose FAT, while retaining as much muscle as possible. (There are other goals you may be pursuing, as well, such as reduced serum cholesterol levels, reduced blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, etc., but I’m answering the weight loss question for now.)

Evidence shows the best way to do this is to consume enough protein to maintain muscle, consume enough carbohydrate to give you energy for your particular lifestyle, and consume enough fat (in the right ratio!) to keep you healthy (because fats do a LOT of different things for your health).

How Much?

How much of each of those things you need depends on your current body composition and your activity level, primarily. Start by keeping a log of everything you eat and drink for at least three days. During that time you should eat as you normally do. If your weight has been remaining the same, then this log will tell you what your current maintenance level of daily caloric intake is. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, aim to reduce your caloric intake by no more than 500 calories per day.

Get your body composition tested. This is the best way to know what percentage of your bodyweight is fat, and what percentage is lean tissue, including muscle.

Then you need to figure out how many of those calories you should get from protein, how many from fat, and how many from carbs. I recommend you try to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. For example, my current body weight is 127 pounds, and I have 15% bodyfat. That means that my lean body weight is about 110 pounds, so I should consume about 110 grams of protein every day. That comes out to about 440 calories. If my maintenance level of calories is 1200 per day, that leaves me 760 calories to use for fat and carbs! It sounds like a lot, but a piece of toast, a bit of juice, … it doesn’t take long for you to get all the carbs you need and then some! And don’t forget fat, which has about twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrate. Even though it has twice as many calories, it’s very important to your health.

The Simple Method

If it sounds too complicated to you to count calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat), just use the rule of thumb to have meat and vegetables at each meal. Lean meats are best for weight loss. And take fish oil to optimize your Omega6 to Omega3 ratio. That’s the simple way that will work for most people, assuming you keep portion sizes under control. Cut down or cut out all white carbs: bread, pasta, and potatoes. You can use them when you’re bulking or training for a marathon. Otherwise, you just don’t really need them. Maybe an occasional treat, if you aren’t trying to get super lean. And eliminate or reduce sweets, including fruit. Again, they are fine for a treat, or when they fit your current goals, but if you’re trying to lose weight they will cause problems, including insulin spikes.

Conclusion

Lose weight the right way by concentrating on losing fat, rather than muscle. Your metabolism will shift into high gear, and you’ll avoid the diet yo-yo that most people get stuck on with the typical bad diets and too much cardio.

Related posts:

  1. Nutrition: Macronutrients
  2. Meal Planning
  3. Nutrition: Protein
  4. Nutrition: Carbohydrates
  5. 25 Fitness Myths, Part 2

Related posts:

  1. Nutrition: Macronutrients
  2. Meal Planning
  3. Nutrition: Protein
  4. Nutrition: Carbohydrates
  5. 25 Fitness Myths, Part 2

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