Best Foods for Weight Loss
Before answering what the best foods for weight loss are we have to clarify a crucial point almost no one is aware of when they begin their journey to their leanest, strongest, healthiest body.
When wanting to lose weight the real goal is to lose body fat. Losing body fat does not mean that weight loss will be continual. In fact, at many points in the journey weight will remain consistent, however stable weight does not negate that body fat loss is continuing.
The best foods for weight loss ultimately depend on the individual. Some have created their leanest, strongest, healthiest body on high carb, low fat diets. Others like myself have used the OPPOSITE approach for their leanest, strongest, healthiest body being high fat and minimal carbohydrate.
To make sense of why people can succeed doing what seems to be the opposite approach we have to look at the principles underlying ALL successful body transformations.
Calories In Calories Out: ENERGY BALANCE
Calories in / Calories out has been the predominant paradigm for creating one’s leanest, strongest and healthiest body. This principle has proven true time and time again. However…. (there’s always a however right??) this principle was taken too far by declaring that the source of those calories doesn’t matter. This has created the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) philosophy, saying that a calorie of say white sugar is the equivalent of any other carbohydrate, even a healthy one like a green vegetable. This simply is not true and leads to the second reality.
All calories don’t effect us the same. There is a huge difference between how a calorie from a protein, carbohydrate, green vegetable, or a fat impacts our hormonal balance. A high glycemic load (GL) sugar or starch creates a series of hormone reactions that has been associated with our modern health epidemics, when they are consumed at the levels we currently see most in western culture eating. (High glycemic load is a fancy way of saying that it greatly elevates blood sugar and quickly). Consuming protein requires more energy to metabolize each gram of protein than is required to metabolize the same amount of calories from fat/ carbohydrates.
The type of carbohydrate becomes crucial here. All vegetables are classified as carbohydrates, BUT their reaction within the body is far different from sugars and starches. To this day, having been exploring nutrition and body composition personally and professionally going on 20 years now I have yet to read of someone eating too many green vegetables to gain unwanted body fat.
Blood Sugar Balance
You’ve no doubt noticed I have singled out sugar and starches several times now. The best foods for fat loss, for each individual, will always create stable blood sugar and hormone responses. Those who thrive on high carb diets process sugars and starches much more efficiently than those who do not thrive on carbs. These individuals will have a much different list of best foods for fat loss than most I would argue. A simple, straightforward means of testing this for yourself is to consume several pieces of fruit (provided you’re not on a medical diet that has eliminated fruit) alone without any protein or fat. Observe the effects at 30 minutes, at 60, beyond. Those who metabolize sugars well will feel balanced for several hours after this snack,
People like me however will consistently be thrown out of balance by high and even moderate GL carbs. Ever eat a huge meal, thousands of calories, have your stomach feel physically stuffed and STILL want to eat more? For me that’s my norm, IF I eat starches and sugars. Having done that fruit test above (more times than I can count as I’m a slow learner) I know firsthand the way I metabolize sugars leads to rampant hunger in slightly over 30-45 minutes,
HOW TO BEGIN
A simple starting point is to begin with a balanced ratio EVERY time you eat. Refer to the main cover picture for this blog. If you’re eating low/medium GL starches this equals;
1 hand size of protein.
1 or less fist serving of low to moderate GL carbohydrate.
1-2 Fists of green vegetables.
A beginning keto nutrition hand guide removes the starches while increasing the fat and green vegetables. Protein will come from lean or fatty sources depending on the goals and what creates balance;
1-2 open hands of proteins (can include fatty proteins)
2+ fists of green vegetables
A meal such as above will give many physical satiation and mental/ emotional stability for 3-4 hours. If not try increasing the protein a bit, as well as the veggies. Tracking different carb and protein sources can dial in which make you feel best. Want a more precise method? Author extraordinaire Robb Wolf has created a great reset program that lasts 30 days, and is then followed by a 7 day carb test to objectively track individual responses to different carb sources, you can learn more here.