There are several aspects of food nutrition that have their place in many diets designed purely for weight loss, which make up the vast majority of all tailored diet plans. After all, it is no use eating a diet in order to lose weight if that diet did not contain all the necessary nutrients for maintaining good health, because losing weight doesn't mean you have to place yourself in a malnutrition situation. So what are the important aspects of a weight loss diet and what should the dieter be aware of when undertaking one or other plan to help them shed their excess weight safely?
While some popular diet programs such as Atkins promote the effectiveness of omitting the carbohydrate group of foods from the early stages of the diet, there are some considerations to be aware of with this strategy. There is sound evidence that suggests the body will switch to using up its store of fat (fat burning) when its primary source of energy (carbohydrates) is removed from the person's diet. This results in rapid weight loss in the early stages of the diet. The problem with this technique is that the missing percentage of food that would have previously been made up of carbohydrates is generally replaced by foods that are generally high in saturated fats, such as meats and dairy produce.
While the dieter may well lose weight early on with this kind of diet, they are putting their health at risk with elevated levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream. This greatly increases the risk of coronary disease, hypertension and increased risk of stroke. When such a diet is mishandled by the dieter and excessive levels of foods containing saturated fats are included in the diet because they follow the erroneous belief that without carbohydrates they can eat as much meat and dairy as they like and still lose weight, the opposite can happen. Overindulgence in red meat and other food high in saturated animal fats can still cause weight gain when the dieter is not burning the additional energy through exercise, as happens in many cases.
The correct way to diet healthily is to reduce the calorie intake while maintaining a balanced diet of roughly 30 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fats and 40 percent proteins.
While it may sound very old hat, counting calories is still one of the most efficient ways of maintaining a weight loss regimen. That's because the effectiveness of any diet is only as good as its ability to get the "calories in, calories out" balance right so that the body has to make up the energy shortfall by taking it from its store of fat.
The greater that the difference between the number of calories being consumed through diet and the number of calories used up by the body, the more weight will be lost. This can be artificially increased by the dieter undertaking some form of daily exercise regime, whereby the extra work being done by the muscles forces the body to use more energy than it is getting from food. This is what is also known as increasing the body's metabolism, or the rate at which it burns energy.
The greater the rate of metabolism, the more energy is burned by the body and that equates to greater weight loss when the number of energy units being consumed (calories) is restricted through a calorie controlled diet. Aside from exercise, there are some other ways to increase the body's metabolism, although exercise should always be taken as the most effective way to do this.
Eating a diet made up of predominantly raw foods (vegetables, fruits etc -- NOT meats!) can increase the body's metabolism because the digestive process is forced to work much harder to digest the raw food. This uses more energy and therefore results in more calories being used up simply by the digestive process.
Drinking lots or plain water throughout the day also creates a slight increase in metabolism as the body remains correctly hydrated, whereas for many people, lack of sufficient liquids creates a slightly dehydrated state which is often the cause of a sluggish metabolism when no other causes are obvious.
Caffeine can also increase metabolism as it creates more nervous tension and causes "nervous energy" to be used even when the person is sedentary. Excessive intake of caffeine is not a recommended way to boost metabolism as it can bring with it other health risks.
Eat to Lose Weight
The main property of a good weight loss diet is to create a situation where the dieter goes into a negative calorie balance. This causes body fat to be burned and thereby a reduction in body weight to result. When the diet is correctly formulated for the dieter's personal needs and the dieter takes action to maximize the diet's effectiveness through exercise and correct hydration, then weight loss will result over time. The length of time that it takes to lose a certain amount of weight will differ from person to person, but the general consensus is that a rate of between one and two pounds per week is the safest and most effective long term rate.
An excellent resource that introduces a number of different diets and explains each in great detail in related articles on the same website can be found in this article: Weight Loss Diets. It is well worth reading especially for those considering the undertaking of a certain type of diet to help them to lose some weight in a safe and healthy manner.