When setting out on the journey to your ideal body weight, there’s no question that an adequate level of nutrition knowledge is paramount to ensure the proper choice of foods, both type and amount.
This allows us to make sure that we are in a caloric deficit that’s necessary to lose the extra pounds while helping us feel as full for as long as possible to avoid the dreaded evening cravings that steer us off track so often.
Contrary to popular belief, this nutrition knowledge is important not just in order to know which foods in your home to have, or rather not to have, but actually for when you are purchasing the foods before they enter your home too. This is the significance of nutrition labels.
They allow us to instantly tell whether an item we see in the supermarket will facilitate our weight loss goals or do the opposite and potentially remove the work of a whole day’s dieting!
Therefore, in today’s blog post, we will be breaking down nutrition labels so you can make better-informed choices to become ever closer to that ideal body weight!
We’ll touch on:
-Checking your diet calories
To begin, it’s vital to understand how to calculate the number of calories you need to consume in order to lose weight as you can be doing all the exercise you can, but if you’re not burning more than you are consuming, all of your weight loss attempts will be in vain.
Funnily enough, this is determined by first seeing how many calories we need to consume to keep our current weight, referred to as your maintenance calorie intake.
This is done by calculating your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is how many calories your body needs for energy for it’s essential bodily functions.
For men, this equation is 10 X weight(kg) + 6.25 X height (cm) – 5 X age (y) – 5 while for women its 10 X weight(kg) + 6.25 X height (cm) – 5 X age (y) – 161.
Next, you need to use this calculated BMR value and further multiply it by how physically active you are weekly.
Little or no exercise= 1.2
Light exercise 1-3 days per week= 1.375
Moderate exercise 3-5 days per week=1.55
Intense exercise 6-7 days per week= 1.725
Very hard exercise= a physical job or twice a day training= 1.9
Following this, you will now have your maintenance calorie intake!
Consequently, once you have your maintenance calorie intake number, all you need to do to find out your weight loss calories is to subtract 500 from it.
I would not advise going lower than 500 calories below your maintenance calorie intake because consuming too few calories is, most notably, bad for your health.
At the same time, it will result in you feeling exhausted during the day (limiting calories you burn from being physically active) while making you feel starving.
Now that we know how to calculate our weight loss calories let’s look at optimal macronutrient (fat, carbs and protein) intake when it comes to dieting.
The first nutrient we’ll discuss that’ll you’ll see on a nutrition label is fat. Fat on nutrition labels is broken down into either total fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, trans fat and saturated fat. Total fat is the weight accumulation of the latter four subdivisions, the unsaturated fats are the “good fat”, and the trans and saturated fat are the “bad fat”.
Good fat is known
good as they help with vitamin A or D absorption while supporting the immune system, metabolism, and hormone production. On the other hand, bad fat is bad because it raises bad cholesterol and reduces good cholesterol.
When on a diet, you should be consuming approximately 30% of your weight loss calories from fat, which means predominately from unsaturated fats!
Like fat, there are also good types of carbs and bad types! Good carbs are complex, unprocessed carbs with a lot of vitamins and minerals that enhance health and provide a stable energy source over the course of a day, reducing the likelihood of cravings.
In contrast, bad carbs are the simple, processed carbs that lack vitamins and minerals and don’t provide a stable source of energy and instead cause spikes in blood levels, enhancing the possibility of cravings later in the end.
While dieting, 40% of your weight loss calories should come from carbohydrates. Like fat, we want to have the predominant proportion of these calories from good sources, guys.
Finally, we have protein! Now, you may be thinking, “but isn’t protein just important when building muscle and gaining size, which is the opposite of what I am trying to achieve?”
Protein indeed helps us build muscle mass, but it is also a macronutrient that helps us feel full and, therefore, reduces the onset of cravings each day. Further, protein is important while dieting because when we are losing weight, we aren’t only losing body fat weight but also muscle mass weight, even if it is a significantly lesser proportion.
So, getting the levels of protein intake while dieting helps us retain as much muscle as possible while dieting too, but keep in mind that some form of resistance training alongside this is essential at the same time.
You can probably guess the percentage of protein we should have daily if 30% should come from fat and 40% should come from carbs.
That’s right, 30%!
In sum, having a good idea of nutrition labels is vital for any successful ideal body weight journey. From this, you can make more informed choices on what goes into your body to enhance your feelings of being full for longer, limit cravings, and make sure you are intaking fewer calories than burning each day to lose the extra pounds. Remember guys, when it comes to dieting, knowledge is power!
If you would like to read more on this topic, please see: https://www.platoweightmanagement.com/how-to-read-nutrition-labels-for-weight-loss/.
Colm Diver has a MSc in Weight Management from the University of Chester. With a passion for nutrition and previous experience working in Ireland, the UK and Canada, Colm uses his knowledge and skills to help people achieve their ideal weight via counselling, personalised diet plans, health promotion and exercise and nutrition education. You can visit him at www.platoweightmanagement.com.
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