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A Good Diet Can Assist With Weight Loss

Weight Loss Food

Many people focus on losing weight, especially after over indulging during the holiday season. One important area to address is the type of diet.

recent Harris poll conducted across the United States found that losing a few pounds was the number one resolution that people set themselves for 2015. While time at the gym and an improved diet can be factors in losing weight, eating right can be difficult for those who are simply too busy, or who lack the willpower to let go of the finer things.

According to dieticians the answer to this dilemma is choosing to eat high quality, premium foods in place of processed lower end products. This means selecting good quality and fresh food. For some, this means avoiding foods like fish that have been artificially colored or gassed.

Color additives are used in foods for many reasons. These include to offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions, as well as to enhance colors that occur naturally. The problem is that coloring food is often done to disguise ‘freshness’. It also stands that coloring food adds unwanted additives into the diet (problematically, some individuals can experience adverse reactions to food additives).

Another reason why fresh and nutritious food is preferable over processed foods is because such fare does not help with weight loss. For instance, according to a Harvard study, those who eat processed meats and foods regularly are more likely to gain weight compared to those who avoid such chemically enhanced products. This is because eating and weight gain is not simply about the number of calories consumed per day; of equal importance are the sources of energy in different types of foods and the time of day that meals are eaten.

Importantly eating well need not result in sacrificing tasty meals. One way to make sure that food is tasty is to keep it fresh, cut down on unnecessary additives, and keep the food basic. This often serves to lock flavor in.

The underlying philosophy with weight control is that some foods make it easier to keep calories in check, while other types of foods, like the processed variety, often make people overeat. This means that the quality and the types of foods – those that provide the best nutrients – are of greater importance than the relative quantity of nutrients in a typical diet. Thus a diet of premium foods can lead to weight loss and greater weight control more effectively than simply cutting back on the amount of food eaten.

This means purchasing foods and prepared meals that are rich in protein, low in carbohydrate, and where the fat content is not an important factor.

This might seem counterfactual for surely low-fat foods lead to weight loss? The answer here is ‘not necessarily’. There is a growing body of medical evidence which says that those who follow moderate- or high-fat diets can lose just as much weight as those on low-fat diets. For example, a study run by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that fat content in meals was not a significant factor in weight loss. Moreover, with disease prevention, a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center sponsored study found that there were no significant health benefits from being on a low fat diet.

Instead, the best nutritional balance to a diet is to cut down on the quantities of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate refers to any food that is particularly rich in starch (such as cereals, bread and pasta) or with simpler carbohydrates, such as sugar (found in candy, jams, and desserts). Diets high in such foods increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease, according to research conducted at the University of Navarra in Spain.

Also of importance is the type of carbohydrate that forms the main part of the diet. This is because some sources are healthier than others. Here, whole grains like whole wheat bread, rye, barley and quinoa are better choices than highly refined white bread or French fries (based on an assessment over 120,000 adults run by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School).

With protein, there is mounting evidence that higher protein content foods can help with weight-loss, not least because these types of foods tend to leave people feeling fuller and satisfied, meaning that between-meal snacking is less tempting. Protein also helps to maintain energy levels, acting as the building blocks for the body’s cells. Higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets can also help prevent heart disease and diabetes, provided that the right type of protein is eaten (here red meats should be eaten in moderation and greater quantities of nuts, beans, fish, or poultry consumed instead).

So, what does this mean for meal options? It simply means that good, wholesome food is best. One example of a good meal choice is the Mediterranean-style diet. This diet consists of a high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables together with a high consumption of fish. This can be supplemented with a moderate consumption of dairy products (like cheese and yogurt). Importantly, there should only be a low consumption of processed meat products with the diet, or eliminating such manufactured meals altogether. Various studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet correlates with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.