This is a very common question put to us, particularly when someone is just getting started and is looking to make some positive lifestyle changes.
So what should you eat if you are looking to lose weight?
Unfortunately despite what some may say its not quite that simple. No individual food or foods will help or make you lose weight over other foods. It all comes down to total calorie intake.
Despite many using carbs (sugar in particular) and other foods/food types as scapegoats your bodyweight comes down to how many calories you are consuming each day.
Research has proven this,
Leibel RL, (1992) completed A trial in a controlled setting (a metabolic ward) and compared several diets composed of 15% protein, 15-85% carbohydrate, and 0-70% fat. They concluded that caloric restriction, not macronutrient ratios, determined weight loss.
Research has also been done comparing low and high-carbohydrate diets over 6 weeks and 12 weeks. They all led to the same conclusion, as did comparing a low-fat/high-protein diet with a high-fat/standard-protein diet.
So what is the big take home from this??
Any diet that restricts calories will work. Period.
What is most important is finding an approach that fits your unique preferences and lifestyle.
This is where the majority of people go wrong or get stuck on their weight loss journeys. They either take on a diet involving foods and eating patterns that they don’t like, or simply doesn’t fit within their life. Asking a mother of 3 young kids for example to eat 6 meals a day and have to cook a separate meal for herself and her kids simply isn’t likely to be sustainable.
This is why so often we see people who have great initial success on new diets and then things drop off when it becomes to difficult to stick to.
So what should you focus on?
Use a logical approach to dieting,
Know how many calories you need to consume to lose weight.
Consume a diet of foods you enjoy eating.
Make room for treats within your calorie allowance.
Find an eating routine that fits within your lifestyle.
Understand your circumstances are completely different to everyone else’s therefore your diet should be unique to you.
If you can find a method that works for you and places you within a sensible calorie deficit you will be successful.
Trial and error is key and if something doesn’t work for you but does for others then that is absolutely okay.