What should we be eating? And how much!
Did you know?
• At 7 calories per gram, alcohol contains almost as many calories weight for weight as fat at 9 cals per gram.
- There are good carbs that keep us full for longer, such as wholegrain pasta, rice and bread, and other carbs which give a quick ‘sugar hit’ but leave us hungry soon after like cakes, biscuits and white bread.
• Margarine isn’t any lower in fat or calories than butter.
• Eating just 2 chocolate biscuits a day for three weeks over and above the amount of food your body needs, will result in a 1 lb weight gain. Likewise – cutting them out will result in a 1 lb weight loss!
• Some packets of ‘normal’ crisps are lower in fat and cals than those sold as low calorie.
Reducing fat – how far to go
Fat is the most concentrated source of calories with more than twice as many weight for weight as carbohydrates or protein. So it makes sense that the most effective way of cutting calories is to eat less fat.
The target you’ll be given is based on the recommended guideline that no more than 33% of your daily calories should come from fat. Some very low fat diets may advise less grams of fat per day than the guideline here, but it is important not to go over the top as some fat in your diet is essential,
Fat is important as it carries vitamins A, D, E and K around the body. Also some foods with a naturally high fat content such as salmon, mackerel, olive oil, soya oil, avocados and nuts are an excellent source of essential fatty acids, which help the heart and immune system. Switch to ‘good’ fats like these, the fat to avoid is the kind found in cakes, biscuits and pastries.
As a general rule, government guidelines recommend we should eat the following amounts, but your free personal assessment will give you individual guidelines that are right for you – based on your lifestyle
|Weight loss diet|
GI diets vs calorie counting
The good news about calorie counting and GI diets is that they work together. It is still all about calories – just what types of food you are getting them from.
‘GI’ (or glycaemic index) compares how different carbohydrate foods make your blood sugar increase. Some release energy slowly which helps you feel fuller longer, whereas other give you a ‘sugar hit’ leaving you hungry soon after. It’s all about selecting the carbohydrate that fill you up – what any dieter wants!
The truth about weight loss is that it does come down to calories in the end.
|Low GI = slow energy release & feel fuller for longer||Porridge oats, multigrain bread, bran cereals, nuts, pasta|
|High GI = quick energy release & feel hungry sooner||Sweets, biscuits, cakes, white bread, sugary cereals|
Reasons for weight gain
The most common reason for gaining weight is consistently eating more calories than your body needs, in which case a straightforward weight loss diet can help you lose weight. However there can be other reasons. Some people may suffer from hormonal imbalances or medical conditions that cause weight gain; as do certain medications. Anyone in such circumstances should consult their doctor before starting any weight loss programme.
Also, it is normal to experience weight gain during pregnancy and it is not advisable for anyone pregnant or breast feeding to undertake a weight loss programme. Please seek medical advice before beginning any diet regimen, especially if you have recently given birth.
The thorny issue of exercise!
There’s no getting around the fact that exercise is a vital part of weight loss, but not everyone has the time, money or will-power to join a gym. But lots of things count as exercise and a good start is to add more activity into your day.
Our lifestyle today is geared up for convenience and we’re used to parking next to the supermarket door and jumping in the car to take the children to school. Start by changing your attitude to walking – try to find ways to build more into your day. Every step counts! Buy a pedometer and challenge yourself to gradually build up to the target of 10,000 steps a day.