Eating For Health
Eating for health is eating all of the essential nutrients required by your body for optimal function. If you have been recommended a diet that eliminates any of the essential components of a healthy diet – be careful! These diets should be considered very dangerous. These include detox programs, low carb and low fat diets. If you use the Australian Dietary Guidelines proficiently, you will have no trouble consuming all of the essential nutrients.
Eating for Weight Loss
Eating for weight loss is simple and complex at the same time. It is simple in the sense that all we need to do is consume less kilojoules than our body expends. It is complex because it is difficult to measure and there are many variables. We can use equations to estimate your energy expenditure but they are based on some general assumptions. We can also measure the amount of energy in a piece of food E.g. An apple. But all apples are not the same size and the kilojoules consumed and absorbed by your body can also vary. The best method in my experience is to experiment with your food to produce a modest kilojoule deficit where you are losing a moderate amount of weight on a weekly basis. When you find the winning formula, all you need to do is repeat over and over until you reach your goal weight. This is why I weigh and measure all of my clients on a weekly basis.
Eating for Health Vs Eating for Weight Loss
The task of eating healthy and moderating your weight can become even more complex when we consider that many high kilojoule foods are very healthy. E.g. Salmon, blueberries and almonds. These foods are full of vital nutrients but the portion sizes need to be controlled to prevent over-eating. Conversely some low kilojoule food can be quite unhealthy and have a low “nutrient density” (nutrient density refers to the amount of nutrients per gram or per kilojoule in a food). Take a look in the supermarket and you will find a lot of examples of products that are low fat, low carb, low calorie, lite, light, etc. In some of these products you would be right to question what is left that is of nutritional value?
My recommendation is to prioritise foods in your diet that are high in nutrient density and low in kilojoules. Almost all vegetables fit this description. Foods high in fibre and whole grains also generally fit this description. With this simple step you will find yourself more full and satisfied by low kilojoule food and less inclined to reach for high kilojoule, low nutrient density foods. You will still need to eat a well-rounded diet but with your priorities in the right place you will notice a marked difference in both your health and your weight loss. Good luck!