DID you know that by staying away from five particular foods you can lose the weight you want to within a week and never be hungry?
And did you also know that drinking one glass of wine a day can give you the same health benefits as one hour of hard exercise?
Oh, and before I forget, if you drink nothing but antioxidant-enriched juices for three to five days straight, you will never get sick!
Does all that sound too good to be true? Well, that’s because it is!
Unfortunately, the diet, health and exercise community is rife with unsubstantiated claims and myths on how to lose weight, drop body fat and get that ‘summer body’.
While most of the claims hyped in popular magazines and newspapers are just flat-out wrong or vastly overhyped, some do have a lot of truth to them – so how do we know the difference?
We look to science for the answers, that’s how!
Most people don’t have hours (or years, in my case) to review all the literature, so I have broken it down into six key principles, as follows.
These principles are based not only on research, but also backed on the scientific opinion of industry leaders whom I greatly respect.
1. Calorie balance
The reality is calorie intake and body weight have a direct relationship with each other.
Body weight is massively important to your health; being too high or too low will impact your everyday life.
In terms of healthy eating for fat-loss, most people will get everything else right, they will buy the ‘health’ foods but they fail to get the calorie balance correct.
This is where you need to start.
2. Food composition
While the number of calories you eat will be the biggest contributing factor to your body composition goal, there is a concept of ‘healthy’ foods, and it will benefit you in terms of long-term health to fill your calories with nutrient-dense foods.
3. Macronutrient amounts
When constructing your food intake plan, ensure that you are consuming at least the minimum amounts of macro-nutrients, protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Don’t allow certain ‘Interest groups’ to influence and demonise nutrients – we all need protein, fats and carbs, and none of these are bad for you.
4. Nutrient timing
For the majority of us, three to five meals per day are what works best. We all lead busy lifestyles, and my advice is don’t stress over this, find what works for you and go with it.
If you like three big meals a day, do that – but if smaller and more frequent meals work, then do that.
To promote energy and alleviate craving, try to space your meals out with an even spread of nutrients.
To be hydrated is to have enough body water to support life. How can you tell if you’re hydrated? Well, it’s easy – your urine should be clear, or a light yellow colour, and you should urinate in high volumes at regular times.
Sort out principles 1-5, and in that order, and then look to your supplements. There are, however, some essentials, and I will cover them in another article.
The take-home message
It is important to remember that health is both deteriorated by and improved by diet (very slowly).
I believe that food should be enjoyed, not restricted, which is why our fat-loss plan produces great results that are maintained long-term.
A good place to start on your healthy fat-loss journey is a good fat-loss plan – it’s much more than just a diet plan, it’s science.
Sinead McSorley is a qualified nutritionist with more than five years’ experience
in the field. Sinead has a
particular passion for the area of sports nutrition, and is currently undertaking a Masters in sports nutrition.