If weight losswere just about popping supplements, then we all would have been slim like reeds. All we would have to do then was sit on the couch, watch our favorite TV shows and fill the popcorn bucket with supplement pills instead of popcorn. But the sad part is, weight loss is not that easy. But what about the connection between vitamins and weight loss? Read on to know if vitamins are actually helpful in losing weightand what experts have to say about it.
Do they really help?
Whenever you go to a drugstore and scan through the shelves, what you definitely come across is weight loss touted as a benefit of many products. The benefits range from boosting metabolism to burning fat. But scientists have found little evidence to support claims about vitamins helping you lose weight.
No link has been found between calcium consumption and weight loss. Calcium only changes the way your body absorbs fat from your food. Your body needs calcium to support bone, muscle, blood vessel and nerve health. The only benefit of calcium-rich foods for weight loss is that they are rich in nutrients and low in fats.
We need Vitamin D to keep our bones strong but experts aren’t convinced yet that Vitamin D can help you lose weight. A study, published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that postmenopausal overweight women who took Vitamin D supplements lost more weight than women who did not take Vitamin D supplements.
More researches are required to test if Vitamin D supplements can help one lose weight. Until then, you can't really be sure.
A balanced diet which includes cereals, juices, fatty fish, low-fat dairy products also helps you to get the Vitamin D required by your body. Go for a walk early in the morning to get Vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin B-12 supplement does not improve your metabolism, either you pop a pill or take the expensive injections. There is no evidence till now that Vitamin B-12 can promote weight loss.
Though Vitamin B12 may not shed kilos for you but it helps by changing the way your body absorbs nutrients. It prevents nutrients from getting converted into fat and rather, converts them into energy.
But you definitely need Vitamin B-12 if you are anaemic, a strict vegetarian, heavy drinker or had a bariatric surgery.
Omega 3 fatty acids
According to American Heart Association, omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to your diet. They protect your heart from damage and diseases.
But there have been no claims till now supporting that omega-3 fatty acids can help one lose weight. Fishes like salmon, trout, sardines and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids but if you do not eat fish, then you can go for omega-3 pills.
Green tea is as popular as any other thing which promises weight loss. But green tea does not have any direct impact on your weight. It is rich in antioxidants, which protect your heart health and prevent free radical damage. According to a research by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the potential of green tea when it comes to weight loss is not really as significant as it seems!
Losing weight can be really hard. The fact that there are so many supposed experts, new methods, and "right" ways to do it just makes it all the more complicated. But putting aside all the fads, a basic mandate of weight loss is that you should be burning more calories than you consume.
If you're achieving a calorie deficit, your body will tap into its own energy stores (aka, fat) and use that instead. "For many people, but not all, losing weight requires eating less," Caroline Cederquist, M.D., founder of diet delivery program bistroMD , tells SELF. Exercise is important, too, but there's truth to the adage, "You can't outrun a bad diet." It's generally easier to lower calorie intake than it is to burn enough calories through exercise to compensate. On the flipside, it's very easy to overeat highly caloric foods in two seconds flat, but burning calories through physical activity takes time (and a whole lot of energy).
If you cut calories without having a strategy, it'll leave you starving and unable to stay on track for your weight-loss goals. But if you're smart about cutting back, you can safely (and sanely) lose weight. Here are some important guidelines to keep in mind:
A few calculations can help you determine approximately how many calories you should be cutting to lose weight.
There's no magic number or one-size-fits-all recommendation, but doing a few calculations can give you an idea of how many calories you should eat for weight loss . First, figure out your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories your body burns at rest, by just keeping basic functions running (like breathing). Experts use a formula called the Mifflin St. Jeor equation: (10 x your weight in kilograms) + (6.25 x your height in centimeters) – (5 x your age in years) – 161. You can also get your BMR measured at an endocrinologist's office. Then, factor in your activity level—try using this interactive calculator from the United States Department of Agriculture, which will give you a rough estimate of how much you should eat to maintain your current weight considering your BMR and activity level. To lose weight, you need to cut calories from that base number, either by deleting intake or increasing output. "Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is reasonable, safe, and healthy for most," Cederquist says. Since 1 pound of fat is around 3,500 calories, you'd need to achieve a 500-calorie deficit each day to lose 1 pound each week.
Make sure you're eating the right kinds of calories.
"It’s important to remember that not all calories are created equal when it comes to providing your body with the nutritional foundation for weight loss," Cederquist says. The calories you are eating should come from macronutrients like lean protein, healthy fat, and whole grains. If you're cutting the number of calories, but only eating processed, sugary foods , your body won't be getting the fuel it needs to run efficiently. "I find that for most people, starting with an analysis of their protein intake is the best place to start when cutting or replacing calories." Eating lean protein is essential to preserve lean muscle mass as you lose weight, and to keep your metabolism chugging along. Other healthy nutrients like fats and whole grains will help keep you satiated and decrease the chance you'll feel starving and be tempted to binge on empty calories (read: sugar).
Finding the ideal amount of protein to eat can be tricky. The Institute of Medicine says the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)—how much you need to avoid deficiency—of protein for adults should be 0.8 g/kg body weight. To calculate it, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, then multiply by 0.8. But when you're trying to lose weight, your protein needs may change. Some research suggests doubling lean protein intake to help assist weight loss and prevent muscle mass loss. Cederquist recommends: "For a woman of average height (which in the United States is 5'4") I recommend 110–120 grams of protein per day," or about 4 ounces at each meal. "This is the equivalent of a small chicken breast —not an enormous burger or steak!" Before doubling up on protein, talk to a registered dietitian to make sure it's safe for you.
Don't cut back on calories too quickly.
Crash dieting can backfire and actually make it harder to lose weight—not to mention increase the chance you'll gain it back when you start eating again. At the same time, if you're cutting out calories without assessing and ensuring you're still eating the right ones, "you actually stop losing weight," Cederquist says. You can also feel weak, lightheaded and fatigued, like you're running off fumes. Not exactly the best motivation to hit the gym.
You should never eat less than 1,200 calories each day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics . If you dip below that, you risk losing muscle mass, screwing with your metabolism, and depriving yourself of the nutrients you need to sustain a basic level of activity.
Look for easy ways to automatically pare down your daily calorie count with minimal effort.
Load up on veggies—"Both cooked and raw veggies add satiety and nutrients without a lot of calories."
At the end of the day, it's always a good idea to consult a professional when you're changing your diet drastically.
A dietitian can help assess what balance of macronutrients you need. But it's also important to talk to your other doctors when you're cutting calories, especially if you're making a huge change, to make sure it won't affect any current medications you take or conditions you have. Losing weight may be your No. 1 goal, but maintaining your health throughout the process is just as—if not more—important.
When it comes to losing weight , there's a lot of conflicting, overwhelming information out there. But one expert says the best diets—as in, sustainable eating habits, not the conventional fad diets people often turn to for weight loss —have a few important things in common.
Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., a nutrition scientist and research professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, recently gave a talk on the best diets for weight loss at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting. During his talk, per Yahoo , Gardner said doctors, scientists, and dietitians should focus on figuring out which diet is best for each person—not which one diet is the best for everyone.
Before we continue, it's important to note that weight loss as a goal isn't necessarily for everyone. For anyone who has a history of disordered eating, even if you're in recovery, it's much healthier to focus on establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with food and nourishing yourself. You should speak with a doctor before you pursue any weight loss goal or adopt a new eating plan. And even if you don't have a history of disordered eating, before you decide you want to start losing weight, it's really important to have realistic expectations, as well as to make sure you're pursuing this objective in a healthy way. Results can be incredibly difficult, and can take a very long time to achieve. They're also really hard to maintain.
When it comes to weight loss, there’s a lot more that goes into it than just a healthy diet—exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and keeping stress low, are all important if you want to achieve this goal. With so many factors at play, it's no wonder weight loss is a very unique experience for every person.
When it comes to deciding how to eat healthy or lose weight, it’s understandable that people would be paralyzed by choice. The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and The Obesity Society released an analysis in 2013 of 15 different diets than ran the gamut from vegetarian to high-protein eating plans.
But Gardner said that even with all the options out there, the best diets have a few factors in common: They encourage people to eat a lot of vegetables , avoid added sugars , and cut back on refined grains .
Beth Warren, R.D.N., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food , agrees, telling SELF that these three areas are “well-documented in their effect on one’s health.”
But Karen Ansel , R.D.N., author of Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day , tells SELF that there’s one huge, necessary factor missing: Watching portion size . “Even the healthiest foods can pack on the pounds if you eat too many of them,” she says.
These elements are all useful for different reasons. When it comes to the vegetables, “A plant-based diet contributes a significant amount of fiber and helps balance calories,” Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., CEO of NY Nutrition Group , tells SELF.
To ramp up your vegetable intake, Warren says it’s a good idea to make veggies mandatory at your meals. That can mean adding spinach to your morning omelet, having a hearty salad at lunch, and eating a side of vegetables with protein at dinner. She also recommends incorporating vegetables into your snacks, like having celery and almond butter, or hummus and carrots. Moskovitz says it's a good idea to turn your fridge into a mini-salad bar, with plenty of chopped fresh carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes that you can grab on the go or add to a recipe on the fly. “The easier and more accessible vegetables are in your life, the more likely you are to eat them,” she says.
Unlike vegetables, added sugars, meaning sugars that are added to foods during processing, are in the doghouse, and for good reason: Sugar can wreak havoc on your health. Added sugars can lurk in surprising places , which is why Jessica Cording , a New York-based R.D., tells SELF it's a good idea to check labels to see if there is sugar or another sweetener added to condiments, pasta sauces, soups, and breads—common sources of sneaky sugar.
Another good way to lower your intake of added sugar is to focus on replacing high-sugar foods with healthier options, Moskovitz says. “Since most people who eat a lot of sugar in their diet tend to get it from snack foods and beverages, finding healthier alternatives is the best way to cut back,” she explains. For example, instead of drinking soda with your lunch, try having club soda sweetened with a lemon or other piece of fruit, and instead of snacking on chocolate in the afternoon, have a fresh piece of fruit with yogurt or some nuts.
Increasing the amount of lean protein and fiber in your diet can also naturally help reduce sugar cravings, Moskovitz says, because they level out your blood sugar. Ansel agrees. “When it comes to staying full, fiber is a double win,” she says. Fiber expands in your gut like a sponge, filling you up, she explains. Then, it slows down the release of sugar from starchy foods into your system, keeping blood sugar—and your appetite—on an even keel for hours.
Like added sugars, refined grains can trip up weight-loss efforts. White bread, pastas, and rice are big sources of refined grains, Warren says, but packaged goods such as crackers and cereal are also typically made from refined grains. “[Refined grains] are often full of empty calories that can increase appetite, leading to excess calorie intake and thus, weight gain," Moskovitz says.
The easiest way to decrease the amount of refined grains you have is to choose minimally processed ones, such as whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal in place of highly processed packaged foods, Ansel says. It's also important to check labels and look for whole grains listed as one of the first few ingredients, Cording says.
If you want to incorporate these tips but aren't sure where to start, Warren recommends keeping a food log of everything you eat in a week and working from there. “Discover which types of foods and eating patterns you feel you need to keep and which less healthy ones you realize you can decrease,” she says. Then, you can introduce manageable mini-goals to change your eating habits for the better and potentially bring about weight loss. “Consistent small changes are very effective when it comes to weight loss,” Warren says. “You don’t need a major diet overhaul.”
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