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Fat Loss - Part One


At the start of the year it seems that everyone is looking to lose the weight that may have piled on through the Christmas splurge and to get into shape before the summer. This often leads to people falling into the trap of following the latest diet and jumping head first into something unsustainable. In fact, a survey of over 2000 people showed that 4 out of 5 would be dieters would have given up before January even finishes. This two-part blog is going to cover some of the very basics into the mechanisms behind weight loss from a nutrition, supplementation and exercise point to help you start a more sustainable plan.

Nutrition for Fat Loss

You may have heard that weight loss is just about taking in less energy that you expend, this comes from the very basic principle that energy cannot be made or destroyed, only transferred. The problem is that this has led to the common theory that weight loss is just about eating less and moving more. However, if it were as simple as that we wouldn’t see the increase in weight throughout the country.

The difference between a calorie and a calorie

When it comes to what you eat we measure the amount in calories. However, two different foods with the same number of calories can have different effects such as those of our hunger levels (try eating 500 calories of chicken and 500 calories of ice cream). Those same two foods can also need more or less energy to digest – protein generally requires more energy to digest than carbohydrates and fats. Lastly, we can absorb different amounts of calories depending on what the food is and depending on the composition of the bacteria that our found in our guts.


But what does this all mean? If you eat a huge excess of calories without doing much exercise, you will inevitably gain weight. At the same time, if you eat too few calories and create to large of a deficit, then your body will begin to lower your metabolism. Is it all a no win situation then? Definitely not. Although there is no ‘one true way’ to lose weight, here are a couple of factors to consider that research has shown to help.

Maintaining muscle mass

A large calorie deficit can cause your metabolism to slow down for a number of reasons, one of which is that it usually causes you to lose not just fat mass, but muscle mass as well. Maintaining adequate amounts of protein can help offset this loss, especially when combined with exercise.

Having 4 or 5 feedings of protein (about 20-25g) evenly spread throughout the day will help to keep muscle protein synthesis higher. What does 20-25g of protein look like? The table below shows you different examples;

20-25g of protein ideas:

● About 3 medium eggs

● Around 100g of chicken breast

● Tin of tuna

● 180g of cream cheese

● 200g of Fat free Greek yogurt



Most people will consume little or no protein with breakfast and then eat a much bigger amount with their evening meal. However, by having smaller portions of protein more evenly throughout the day will help keep muscle protein synthesis higher and reduce feelings of hunger. So try having eggs for breakfast or adding cottage cheese to wholegrain bagels.


Eating less calorie-dense foods

On a day-to-day basis, people generally eat a similar amount of food, by weight. So choosing foods with a lower calorie density allows you to consume the usual amount of food (or more) while reducing our caloric intake. Think of foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, unrefined wholegrain foods. Adding these types of foods at each meal will help lower feelings of hunger throughout the day and because many (but not all) of these types of foods are low in calories per weight eaten, you will be surprised at how much of these foods you can eat. For example, adding around 50g of kale will only add around 25 calories but will be make a meal more filling (and add a lot of micronutrients). These foods are often digested more slowly as well. This helps increase some of your stomach hormones to let the brain know you’re full.



The one true way

These are just two factors to consider when it comes to sustainable fat loss. However, it is also important that there is no ‘one true diet’ that is better than the rest. Some diets may help some people more than others or might result in better health outcomes. But just because fasting, paleo, high-fat, Atkins or any other diet has worked for one person, it doesn’t mean it will work for you, or work for them in the long run. Sticking to nutritional basics, like the two that have been mentioned here will mean that you are more likely to stick to a newer way of eating in the long run and so maintain any weight loss.