When the goal is to lose fat, sometimes people focus on the quantity of what they are eating more than on the quality and types of food they are putting in their mouths. In all reality, up to 80% of successful results in weight loss depends on diet alone. While food quantity is definitely important, fat loss results will almost certainly plateau if the wrong foods are being consumed.
Today’s society is very fast-moving and busy so it’s often hard to resist all the “quick and easy” meal options that are available. The problem with fast food or packaged meals and snacks is that they are highly processed and contain chemicals, preservatives, excess sodium and are often packed with saturated fat and sugar. Even pre-packaged “diet” meals contain added sodium and preservatives. These foods can result in blood sugar spikes, excess fat storage, low energy levels, and bloating. In order to attain the best fat loss (and health) results,iIt’s best to stick to foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Whole grain and whole wheat pasta, brown rice, rolled oats, potatoes and sweet potatoes, cream of wheat, 100% whole wheat bread, beans and legumes, fruits such as berries, apples, and melons, and veggies are all carbs that are unprocessed and retain all of their natural nutrients and fiber. They won’t spike blood sugar and will be used more efficiently for energy instead of fat for storage!
As with carbs, protein that is unprocessed is always best. Also, some protein can be high in saturated animal fats, which should be highly avoided. Lean protein that is close to its natural state includes skinless chicken breast, skinless turkey breast, pork tenderloin, white fish and salmon, shellfish, lean beef (loin or round), egg whites, and low-fat cottage cheese. Whey protein powder is also a great way to consume lean protein.
Anything natural and unsaturated is the way to go. It’s best to stick to Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, and natural nut butters.
Switching over to an unprocessed and natural food diet might take some getting used to and will probably require more cooking and preparation in some cases, but the results will be incomparable. Fat loss can be a difficult task, but if the diet is clean and natural, fat won’t have a chance!
By Becky Conti, C.P.T. Fitness & Physique, Summer 2011