Lose weight: Are you doing it the right way? Part 2
This is the part 2 of ‘lose weight’. Click here to read part 1.
In this part, we will be talking about the three macro-nutrients, namely Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat, found in our food.
It is very important to have a basic understanding of these nutrients and how they impact our body when we eat them.
There are a lot of myths and misinformation regarding all three of them.
Before you start reading any further, I urge you to keep an open mind. A lot of conventional views will be challenged.
Let’s get started.
Protein – The building block
1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.
I guess most people are aware of the importance of protein in building muscles.
But good quality protein is also important when you are trying to lose weight.
The protein is made of 20 amino acids.
And the food that contains all the 20 amino acids in optimum quantity are considered good quality protein sources. All the 20 amino acids are essential for the optimal nourishment of the muscles.
Protein from plant sources is not good quality as they lack in 1 of the 20 essential amino acids.
Getting good quality of protein is important to save yourself from muscle loss when you are trying to lose weight. Because your body will start breaking the muscles to get the protein if you do not provide it through food.
Now, there are many myths floating around that high protein can cause kidney damage.
They say that eating too much protein will increase the creatinine levels in the blood which affects the kidney.
There are no studies or clinical trials that have ever proved this conclusively. It is just a theory that is perpetuated as a fact. Do not fall for it.
And after hearing various rumors from media and health professionals, people get even more scared. And reduce the already low amounts even further.
When you talk about high protein you should first understand that most people are not even taking the bare minimum required.
Protein is like the cement for your building, it holds all the bricks together.
If you do not put in the best quality cement your building will be weak and fragile.
Proteins have a high thermic value which means, just by eating good quality proteins, you can boost your metabolism which increases weight loss.
Your entire skeletal muscles are made of protein. So how is protein bad for you?
All the hormones (except sex hormones – testosterone and estrogen) are made from protein.
Our blood needs protein. Hemoglobin. Heme= Iron Globin=Protein.
It is essential for our immunity system.
Good sources – Eggs, Chicken, Fish, Meat, Milk, Curd, Cottage cheese (Paneer)
Carbohydrate – the over glorified nutrient
1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories.
Carbohydrate is considered to be the primary source of fuel for the body. This is not true at all.
What happens after you eat a heavy lunch that is loaded with carbohydrate?
Say, for example, a typical Indian lunch – Roti (Indian bread), Dal, Rice, Vegetables? Do you start to feel the surge of energy rushing through your body? Or do you feel lethargic and sleepy with a bloated stomach?
The problem with eating a lot of carbohydrates is that once digested in our body it will convert to glucose.
This will increase our blood sugar. Increase in the blood sugar above the normal level affects our system.
The pancreas release the Insulin hormone, to protect our body from this damage.
Insulin takes the excess sugar from the blood to every cell and tissue to burn as energy.
But if there is a huge amount of sugar in our blood this is treated as an emergency situation. So the insulin will not be going door to door of different cells.
It will take all the sugar including the sugar that is necessary to maintain the normal level in the body and dump it directly into the fat cells.
This is like a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it reduces the normal level of blood sugar necessary which is why you feel lethargic and sleepy.
And on the other hand, instead of providing the energy to our hungry cells and tissues, the sugar is stored in fat cells.
Thus, your cells do not receive the necessary nourishment and on top of that, you increased your fat storage. This makes you feel bloated.
The fruits that taste very sweet are also high in sugar. Avoid them.
It is very important to know what type of carbohydrate to eat so that it will not spike your blood sugar and instead give you energy in a sustained manner.
When you are trying to lose weight the first step is to avoid these fat storing carbohydrates.
Avoid these fattening carbs – Wheat, polished rice, Corn, any kind of sweets, Potatoes, Juices, Bread (including Brown bread)
Include in small quantity – Fibrous rice like brown rice, Oats, Quinoa.
Fruits and vegetables to include – All types of green leafy vegetables, uncooked carrot, tomato, onion, spring onion, apple, orange, guava, avocado, pomegranate (Anar) and papaya.
Fat – The misunderstood nutrient
1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.
Most people believe that eating fat makes you fat. Especially, saturated fat like ghee, butter, and cheese.
When you are eating bread and butter it is not the butter that is making you fat. It’s the bread. The poor saturated fat has taken all the blame. While the bread was safely hiding in plain sight.
The biggest myth is that saturated fat will increase your cholesterol.
What it does is increase the good cholesterol i.e. HDL. Although, it also increases the so called bad cholesterol LDL.
Well friends, I have news for you.
The LDL is also good for you. The body itself makes 80% of the cholesterol.
So it does not matter how much cholesterol you intake through food. The main culprits are the triglycerides.
Fattening carbohydrate increases the level of these triglycerides.
The other argument is that since it contains 9 calories per gram and it will increase the amount of calories you eat. And this will make you fat.
It doesn’t matter how many calories you eat. What matters is the kind of calories you eat and the impact it has on your body.
Every cell membrane in our body is made of fat (Phospholipids).
There are important vitamins (like Vit A, D, E, K) that cannot be absorbed without fat.
The two most important hormones, testosterone in males and estrogen in females, are made from saturated fat.
Without these hormones, you will not be able to lose weight.
As low levels of testosterone in males and estrogen in females will induce fat gain.
And it does not matter how clean or how little you eat. And to increase these hormones and maintain them in optimum level it is very important to eat saturated fat.
Saturated fat does not increase the blood sugar like carbohydrates do. Thus, no insulin comes to dump it in our fat cells.
Also, it provides sustained energy so you will not feel hungry for a long time.
Eating saturated fat gives satiety (feeling full) without the lethargy and bloated stomach like high carbohydrate food does.
Good sources – Egg yolk, Ghee, Butter, Cheese, Coconut oil, Milk cream.
In the next part, we will cover why dieting is a bad idea to lose weight.