Healthy weight loss diet

While different diets suit different people, there are some general guidelines that can help people to make better food choices on a healthy weight loss diet. These guidelines are outlined on page 13. A daily diet built around high levels of complex carbohydrates, low fat levels and moderate protein intake is the best approach for those wishing to lose weight. It is also important to obtain vitamins and minerals in amounts at least as high as the RDAs. A diet that consists of a wide variety of wholesome, minimally processed foods, fortified foods and, in some cases, supplements will play apart in safe, effective weight loss.

Healthy weight loss dietCalories in a healthy weight loss diet

The energy value of food is measured in kilocalories, which is usually shortened to calories. The word" calorie" comes from the Latin for "heat" and a calorie is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The metric measurement is kilojoules. One calorie is equivalent to 4.2 kilojoules (kJ).

Food is usually defined in terms of calories as a way of comparing the relative energy value it holds. Fat, carbohydrate and protein are known as macronutrients because they provide energy. Vitamins and minerals are known as micronutrients as they have no energy value. 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories (38 kJ) 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories (17 kJ) 1 gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories (17 kJ)


Fat is the most concentrated food source of calories and many healthy weight loss diets are based around limiting fat. Many people trying to lose weight aim to exclude fat from their diets altogether in the belief that this will bring faster results. However, while excessive intakes of certain fats can contribute to obesity and health problems, it is important to remember that some types of fats are essential nutrients and are necessary for health.

Carbohydrate in a healthy weight loss diet

Carbohydrate foods vary in the rate at which they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods high in simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose (table sugar) are quickly absorbed and this leads to a sharp rise in insulin production to move the sugar out of the blood. This is followed by a sharp drop in blood glucose and a craving for more sweet food. This contributes to obesity as these foods are high in calories. Complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly into the blood than simple carbohydrates, which leads to a slower insulin response. In this way, blood sugar levels tend to be more consistent, avoiding the sharp rises and falls of a diet high in simple sugars. Sucrose also seems to cause a greater increase in blood fat levels than more complex carbohydrates.

Healthy weight loss dietIn fat tissue, insulin facilitates the storage of glucose and its conversion to fatty acids, and also slows the breakdown of fatty acids. Sharp rises in insulin may contribute to obesity and it seems that blood insulin levels correspond to body fat stores. The longer and more often insulin levels are high, the more likely sugars are to be converted to and stored as fat. Eating large amounts of foods high in both fat and sugar increases weight gain even more.

Eating too many sugar-rich foods such as cookies, cakes and candy that contain refined carbohydrates increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies as there may not be enough room for nutrient-dense foods. Sugars and refined carbohydrates require vitamins and minerals for metabolism but unlike whole grains, they do not contain enough of these vital nutrients.


No healthy weight loss program is complete without an exercise component. When a dieter concentrates solely on food restriction to achieve results there is a loss ofboth body fat and muscle. This is less than ideal as muscle helps burn fat. The most effective weight loss programs involve both diet and exercise.

Aerobic exercise is the best way to lose fat. It burns extra calories, a few hundred or more per hour of exercise, depending on the type of exercise, a person's weight and how hard they exercise. Over time, exercise builds muscle which raises metabolic rate and improves the ability to bum calories and reduce fat tissue. Exercise has the added advantage of increasing metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after exercise has been completed.

Healthy weight loss dietMore complete exercise programs also include anaerobic exercise as this is the kind which builds strength and flexibility. Strength training can also help with weight loss and improve body image and self-esteem. Building muscle mass will also increase metabolic rate, which burns more. The best fitness programs involve a balance between aerobic fitness and flexibility and strength training.


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