A very low-calorie diet (VLCD) or a generic weight loss diet can help you shed the extra kilos in a short time, but it is not a sustainable option. It is always better to be a tortoise than a rabbit when it comes to weight loss as- “Slow and study wins the race”. Experienced nutritionists advise achieving a weight loss of around 500 grams per week to prevent any nutritional deficiency and ensure successful weight management in the long term without causing any lethargy.
A healthy weight loss refers to a reduction of body fat percentage and conservation of lean mass. While planning a weight loss diet, the aim should be to provide optimum nutrition, reduce hunger pangs and promote satiety. Prioritizing food or food group can be one of the approaches to kick start your weight loss journey. Here is what Mrinal, Dietary Head at Oliva Skin and Hair Clinic has to say on this.
Prioritizing Food Groups for Weight Loss
Carbohydrates for weight loss
Carbohydrate is one of the essential macronutrients, which fuels the body’s functioning and is the primary source of your energy. Many dieticians suggest that carbs should constitute 40-45% of the total calories you consume in a day. Foods rich in carbs are also a good source of fibre and B complex vitamins. Eliminating carbs from your diet in a bid to lose weight rapidly can cause significant side effects like bowel irregularities, vitamin deficiencies and unmanageable hunger pangs.
Proteins in Very Low Calorie Diet
Protein is the building block of the body and helps repair the wear and tear of tissues. Nutritionists recommend that you consume a high-protein diet to lose weight healthily as it has a diet-induced chromogenic (DIT) effect that helps accelerate calorie burn and prevent hunger. So at least 20-25% of your daily calories should come from this food group.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are a must-add in your weight loss diet plan and should contribute up to 30% of your calorie consumption per day. Include foods rich in MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid) and ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid ) in the diet as they help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K. Low-fat diets can negatively affect the metabolism of these essential nutrients by the body.
An elimination or acute limitation of any food group without consulting an expert dietician can lead to severe nutrient deficiencies, adversely affect your basal metabolic rate and slow down or stall your weight loss.
Can This Help In Long-Term Weight Management?
Yes. Consuming a balanced diet will help you in long-term weight management, ensure fat loss and enhance muscle mass. The plateau stage (slow metabolism) is inevitable during the weight loss journey. However, the intake of a low-calorie but nutrient-dense diet that includes the recommended food groups in appropriate proportion can help you overcome it and achieve your weight goals.
Also Read: 5 Low Calorie Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss
Are BMI And Weight Management The Same?
Body mass index (BMI) refers to your weight and height ratio. WHO defined a simple formula that divides an adult’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2) to classify whether they fall in the overweight or obese category. Anyone with a BMI of 23 or above is overweight. While a person with a BMI of more than 30 is suffering from obesity.
BMI is an indicator of excess weight, but it fails to factor in the accumulation and distribution of body fat associated with metabolic risk. Using BMI for predicting potential diseases and mortality may not be an accurate or comprehensive approach as it overlooks critical factors that contribute to positive health.
On the contrary, Body Composition Analysis (BCA) is a reliable method compared to BMI as it considers different parameters like body fat, water weight, bone and muscle mass while calculating your weight. It works using bioelectric impedance analysis to estimate the total body water (TBW), fat mass, visceral fat and waist to hip ratio.
A certified nutritionist can help you plan a healthy weight loss that targets fat reduction and muscle gain based on the above information. She can help you set a realistic weight loss goal of reducing 2-4 kgs per month with a drop only in the fat per cent while maintaining lean muscle in the body.
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