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My Guide To Nutrition For Weight Loss

Discussion in 'Fat Loss/Cutting' started by marcus, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Turzy

    Turzy Well-Known Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    good evening then
    Alright, yeah, that makes more sense, I'll adjust to keep losing the 2 lbs a week, or a bit less.
  2. sacram

    sacram Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Question to Marcus' Guide to Nutrition re:fat loss

    Hi Marcus! Thanks for your very informative guide to nutrition. I too was aware of most of the info on BMR/calories required for weight loss, etc but I am new to the Macronutrient Percentages (carbs/fat/protein). I am curious as to whether these proportions really make or break it for fat loss. I ask this because I really don't think I can/should reduce calories anymore or do cardio any harder (I could potentially change the type of workouts if it makes a difference too).
    I realize you are male and your stats are quite different but I'm sure the same logic should apply to females.
    I am 5'5, (weight ranges between 118-122, that's a BMI of approx. 19.9) but I have this stubborn excess fat on the typical frustrating areas (stomach). The last time I had my bf % was 14% but that may not have been accurate (but I imagine I'm around 15-18%).
    I have shin splints so I have decreased my running to 3-4 days/week plus I weight train (do boxing/circuit classes with weights and cardio) and play soccer and am quite active (category 3-4).
    My BMR is 1351 x 1.55 = 2094 calories required to maintain weight. But I eat only 1400-1600 (no less than 1200 and no more than 1900). I eat very little fat (only 'good fats') and probably not enough protein and low GI carbs (and little to no refined sugar)
    How do I reduce more fat without reducing my calories?? Will the Macronutrient Percentages change this? Will the type of workouts change this?
    Sorry for the long-winded e-mail. I might need to post on different thread too if need be?
  3. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Hi Sacram,

    Hmmm, that's a tough one. Your body fat % is already rather low. I believe the average for females is around 14-21% so you wouldn't want to lose too much more fat.

    Macronutrients are a factor, but I'm not sure whether a change would make a difference in this situation. What are you current macronutrient percentages?

    It sounds like you have hit a plateau and I don't think reducing your calorie intake is the answer. Like you suggest, I think mixing up your training could help. Do you do fasted LISS in the mornings? How much weight training do you do? Putting on a little bit more muscle mass will increase your metabolism.

    I really need more information. I think you should start your own thread and post exactly what you eat and exactly how you train and post some pics. It would give me more to work with and make it easier to identify potential problems. There are also many knowledgable members on the boards (more so than myself) and they should also be able to come up with some helpful and interesting suggestions.

  4. popbelly

    popbelly Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Is protein requirement based on total body weight or lean body weight?
  5. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Likes Received:
    According to Marcus' post, total body weight.

    There are a million different approaches as far as how much protein is proper to consume for fat loss. I happen to stick around 1g per 1lb of total body weight myself.
  6. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Sorry, I haven't been around much the last couple of weeks.

    Like KarateTricker said I use total body weight.

    When I was writing this guide I experimented with a heap of different formulas and I found "Harris Benedict" to be the most consistent and the formula that provided the the safest, most conservative result (some can significantly underestimate your cals and have you eating way too little in the beginning which slows your progress).
  7. MrRoberts

    MrRoberts Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I have another question about the formula for a friend of mine who is pretty overweight.

    His fat percentage is approx 26% and he is 216Ibs (97.98kg). 5' 11" and 36 years of age.

    How can I possibly use his weight in the formula, which doesn't look accurate? Should I remove the fat weight and just add the lean body weight into the formula?

    What you think?
  8. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    The Harris Benedict formula should be fine for your friend. Just remember though, that no forumla is 100% accurate. Its just a guide to get you started and you should keep adjusting your daily intake based on your progress (ie: if you hit a plateau, lower your cals by about 200). After a few months you learn how to read your body and exactly what and how much you should eat to get the results you want. :cool:
  9. NoWhining

    NoWhining Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Great write up! Another newbie is now slightly further then before.

    Using your great write up I have figured out this much.

    I am 47% Carb, 33% Protein, and 20% fat for my intake.
    My total a day should be no more then 2049 which comes to 341.5 a meal eating 6 times a week.

    Using the other calcs I came up with 680 g of Protein a day, 45 g of Fat a day and 240g of Carbs a day. Does this look right?

    I read up on the macro nutrients and wrote down what looks like a bunch of good things to eat. Being a young student and learning to cook for myself, how can I incorporate this into what I should actually be eating? I am looking to do cardio 5 times a week with various lifting on Tuesday and Thursday. Should I be adding a bit of extra protein on my lifting days?

    #149 NoWhining, Apr 8, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2006
  10. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    G'day Mate, glad to see you're on your way.

    Your macronutrient ratios look good, however when converting cals to grams you made a little mistake. You should be consuming 169g of protein per day, not 680g. Your calcultaions for fat and carbs are spot on.

    With regard to converting this knowledge into actual meals check out some good recipes here.

    I personally make a lot of salads and cook a lot of stir-frys, both of which are very easy and can be quite tasty once you learn to how to get a little creative. Its annoying trying to calculate the exact amount of cals for those meals, but after you've done it once, as long as your are consistent with the amounts you use, you won't have to do it again (except to make small adjustments).

    With regards to protein consumption on workout days, you won't need to increase the overall amount, but you should have a large amount directly after your workout (ie. PWO protein shake).

    Hope this helps. :gl:
  11. DRLski

    DRLski Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Marcus, thanks for writing this up, I appreciate it, I've been having difficulty getting the right calories intake however I'm a little confused still. Using your calculations with moderate activity I'd be using up 2736 calories per day. Now what confuses me is if I use something like fitday, it would get just about the same number if I had said that my lifestyle at work is somewhat active, some movement. And then they add on more calories per each workout that you do which would bring me well over 3000 calories per workout day. So which one would end be more accurate? This is where I have the most difficulty, when trying to figure out calories when I'm both not working out and am working out during the day.

    I appreciate any advice you can give.

    Thanks again,
  12. marcus

    marcus Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Hi Dave,

    Don't worry about it. No matter what formula you use, you're not going to get an accurate result. Everyone is different, hence a standard formula can aspire to no more than being just an estimate.

    It doesn't really matter thought because all you need is a starting point to act as a guideline until you learn how your body reacts and how to most efficiently cut fat and retain muscle. You can do this by closley monitoring your bf% and your lean body mass. If on 2500cals your weightloss slows, you would lower it by 200cals. Or if you are losing weight, but its lean muscle mass instead of fat, then you know you are eating too little (and possibly training too hard). As you continue to lose weight you will have to keep making little adjustments. It sounds difficult but it wont take you long to become quite skilled at it. :gl:
  13. M@

    M@ Monster Maker 2017

    Jan 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Found this morning that http://www.dietfacts.com/ has a ton of custom Nutrition Facts information for popular brands.

    ...but the thing that makes it awesome is that there's a button you can click on the Nutrition Facts page for a product that says "Add Custom Food To FitDay". As long as you're logged into your FitDay account, it'll dump all that info in for you as a custom food. One click. Verrah nice! :tucool:

  14. guava

    guava Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    [highlight]Nutrition for a Healthy Weight[/highlight]
    Your nutrition requirements will be slightly different, depending on whether your focus is on fat loss, muscle building, or maximum health. In this section, we'll focus on maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage.

    [highlight]What is a healthy weight and body fat percentage for me?[/highlight]
    Typically, it's recommended that a person aim for a body weight which is within a Body Mass Index of 18.5 to 24. See this chart to calculate where you fall. A body mass index that is outside of these ranges is correlated with increased health risks, but does not in itself indicate a health risk. Some people, especially large framed or very muscular people, will look and feel healthier at the higher end of that range (or above) and some people, especially small framed people, will look and feel healthier and the lower end of that range (or below). Leaner people, that is people who have a lower body fat percentage, typically look and feel better at or above the upper "limit".

    There is a wide range of healthy body fat percentages, usually agreed to be between 15 and 31 percent for women, and 6 and 25 percent for men. Numbers near the bottom of this range are not inherently healthier than numbers at the top end of this range, just as a lower body mass is not healthier than a higher one. Women whose body fat percentage falls below this lower limit are more frequently correlated with a greater risk of amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period), which, in turn, is associated with poor bone density and increased risk of fractures.

    [highlight]How many calories should I consume?[/highlight]
    If you choose a proper diet of clean foods, it's not normally required to count calories in order to reach a healthy weight. One food plan that has worked well for many people is The Body-for-Life program which is based on a visual estimation of portion sizes. However, if you find that you feel unusually hungry, irritable, or tired, or if you'd like a more mathematically-based strategy, you might prefer to measure your energy intake and compare it to your estimated energy expenditure. The simplest way to calculate approximately how many calories your body can use is with the help of Tom Venuto's Quick Method.

    Eating for the weight you'd like to become
    Instead of calculating the amount of calories it takes to lose a certain amount of weight over a certain amount of time, it might be preferable to estimate how many calories it might take to maintain your new goal weight. For example, if a person currently weighs 170 pounds. The quick method estimates that it is taking 2550 to 2720 calories to maintain his current weight. It suggests he consume 2040 to 2210 calories for fat loss. Assuming his goal weight is 158 pounds, he might prefer to eat the amount of calories it would take to maintain that weight (approximately 2370 to 2580 calories daily).

    Nutritionists often group nutrients into two subclasses, called macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients refer to those nutrients that form the major portion of your consumption and contribute energy to your diet, namely carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

    Most foods are made up of a combination of all three macronutrients, while other foods may fall mainly into one or two of the categories. For example, chickpeas are a mix of 68% carbohydrates, 13% fat, and 19% protein, while egg whites are 6% carbohydrates, 3% fat, and 91% protein.

    You might see people recommend certain target "macronutrient splits". To reach a healthy body weight, I don't believe you need to stick with a specific targeted macronutrient ratio. There are many possible combinations of dietary components that can all lead to improved nutrition and health.

    Carbohydrates provide the body with a source of fuel and energy that is required to carry out daily activities and exercise. Any extra energy is stored in the body until it is needed. Our bodies need a constant supply of energy to function properly and a lack of carbohydrates in the diet can cause tiredness or fatigue, poor mental function and lack of endurance and stamina. Carbohydrates are also important for the correct working of our brain, heart and nervous, digestive and immune systems. Fibre, which is also a form of carbohydrate, is essential for the elimination of waste materials and toxins from the body and helps to keep the intestines disease-free and clean.

    Proteins are vital to basic cellular and body functions, including cellular regeneration and repair, tissue maintenance and regulation, hormone and enzyme production, fluid balance, and the provision of energy. Protein is not a significant source of energy for the body when there are sufficient amounts of carbohydrates and fats available, nor is protein a storable energy, as in the case of fats and carbohydrates. However, if insufficient amounts of carbohydrates and fats are ingested, protein is used for energy needs of the body.

    Animal proteins, such as eggs, cheese, milk, meat, and fish, are considered high-quality, or complete, proteins because they provide sufficient amounts of the essential amino acids. Plant proteins, such as grain, corn, nuts, vegetables and fruits, are lower-quality, or incomplete, proteins because many plant proteins lack one or more of the essential amino acids, or because they lack a proper balance of amino acids. Incomplete proteins can, however, be combined to provide all the essential amino acids, though combinations of incomplete proteins must be consumed within a short period of time (within four hours), to obtain the maximum nutritive value from the amino acids.

    Fats and lipids play critical roles in the overall functioning of the body, such as in digestion and energy metabolism. Fats are the body's energy provider and energy reserve, which helps the body maintain a constant temperature. Fats and lipids are also involved in the production and regulation of steroid hormones.Steroid hormones are essential in regulating sexuality, reproduction, and development of the human sex organs, as well as in regulating the water balance in the body.

    Saturated Fats. Saturated fats differ from unsaturated fats because the molecules of saturated fat have only one single bond between carbon atoms. They come from animal meat, dairy products, and tropical plants. They tend to be solid or semi-solid at room temperature, and are stable so they do not easily become rancid.

    Unsaturated Fats. Unlike the saturated fats that have a single bond between carbon atoms, unsaturated fats contain a double bond between carbon atoms. Studies have shown that unsaturated fats help decrease inflammation, reduce heart disease, reduce blood clotting (and/or thick blood), and help regulate blood pressure. Unsaturated fats also lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). HDL is manufactured by the liver to repair blood vessels and help transport fat-soluble vitamins to the cells of the body. There are two types of unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds between carbon atoms, while monounsaturated fats have one double bond.

    Polyunsaturated fats: Omega 3 and Omega 6 (The essential fatty acids) plus Omega 9 Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) cannot be manufactured in the body like other fatty acids, and must therefore be obtained from dietary sources: On nutrition labels, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids show up as polyunsaturated fats (lumped in with nonessential omega-9 fatty acids) .

    Many scientists believe that a major reason for the high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some forms of cancer is the profound imbalance between our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Most people have sufficient intake of omega-6 fatty acids, and thus, should focus their attention on increasing their omega-3 intake accordingly. Omega-3 acids are found in marine plankton, cold water oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines, fortified eggs, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil.

    From a health perspective, most typical people should aim to reduced their total fat intake, especially unessential fat, and increase their intake of omega−3 (relative to omega−6) essential fats.

    For optimal health, and to guard against fatigue and illness, you should aim to get a minimum number of each of the essential nutrients in your diet. Click here to see a list of the essential nutrients. To discover where to find each of these nutrients, click on each of the links, read nutrition labels, or keep track of your daily foods on a site such as Fitday.com where you can find a "report" tab to check your intake. If you find that you have some deficiencies that you'd like to correct and aren't sure how, try the food advisor.

    Of course, there is some controversy about what are the "required" and "ideal" amounts of some micronutrients, just as there is debate about what the "correct" macronutrient intake is, so use your best judgement. :)

    [highlight]Meeting Minimum Recommended Nutrient Intake[/highlight]
    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, recommends that to meet their particular recommendations for micronutrients, your macronutrient intakes should be within these ranges:

    protein - 10-35% of your total daily calories
    carbohydrate - 45-65% or total calories
    fat 20-35% of total calories
    more than 25 grams of fibre
    (See Chapter 11 in this link for more information about those numbers.)

    Those who eat outside those ranges may find it difficult to meet some of the recommended intakes of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to protect against diseases.

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also recommend:
    *Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level. Select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
    *Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day.
    *Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
    *Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.
    *Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
    *When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
    *Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils.
    *Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day.
    *Choose and prepare foods with little salt. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
    *Those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation—defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

    The above is sufficient for anyone who wishes to attain a healthy weight.

    I find that for me following a "superfoods" diet is the easiest way to ensure that I'm meeting the minimum recommended amounts of various nutrients. There are various suggested diets based on different versions of especially nutritient dense foods; the one I use is from a book by Steven G. Pratt.

    [highlight]Reading Nutrition Labels[/highlight]
    If you check a food label you may find that the total number of calories listed doesn't match the number you arrive at when you multiply the grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in the food by their corresponding energy values. This could be due to a rounding difference, or it could be due to the way fibre is recorded on the label. Insoluble fiber passes through your body without being converted to a form that provides energy, or calories. Knowing this, the manufacturer may subtract the caloric value of the insoluble fiber (but not the soluble fibre) from the total calories figure.

    [highlight]Nutrition for Hormonal Balance - Maintaining Consistent Moods and Regulating Food Cravings[/highlight]
    Four brain chemicals -- serotonin, catecholamine, GABA and endorphin -- are essential for proper mental health, each affecting a different area of the brain. Our dietary choices can alter these brain chemicals, influencing the degree to which we are irritable, anxious, alert, focused, or otherwise engaged. And on the flip side, an imbalance of these hormones controls what types of foods are appealing to us. If cortisol is high and serotonin is low, you'll seek sugar-based fatty foods like chocolate bars as an attempt to get a quick serotonin fix.

    Many food cravings can be explained by blood sugar imbalances, but emotional and hormonal factors are also contributory factors. Because of their different genetic make-up, women are more often more comfortable with more frequent meals, and with a higher proportion of carbohydrates in their diet than men. Here's a great article on managing food cravings.

    Tips To Maintain a Stable Blood Sugar Level and Reduce Your Food Cravings
    Eat a well balanced breakfast that includes protein
    Eat At Regular Intervals During The Day (at least every three hours)
    Do Not Reduce Your Calorie Intake Below A Safe Level
    Choose Low-GI Carbs For Optimum Blood Sugar Control
    Reduce your intake of refined white flour, heavily processed, very salty, or high sugar foods

    [highlight]Fighting Hunger Pangs and Cravings: Nutrition for Satiety[/highlight]
    Lots of people ask about what to do if they have set a target caloric intake for optimum fat loss and still feel hungry. In a lot of cases, it may be because their target body mass is lower than what is best for their particular frame, and the calories they've chosen to consume are fewer than what their body needs in order to function smoothly. If your goal is to become leaner, and not necessarily to become smaller, in many cases, adding some lean body mass is a smarter option than cutting body fat. Women in particular often erroneously believe that they need to lose weight in order to look less flabby, when in fact, adding lean body mass would create the same improved body shape.

    Once you've reevaluated your fat loss targets, and checked that you are eating the correct number of calories, you'll want to look at what types of foods make up those calories. In most cases, adding volume to your meals can fix the hunger problem. Three different ways to add volume to your foods without adding calories are by choosing foods with lots of air, lots of water, and lots of fibre. In other cases, shifting your calories to different times of the day or different times of the week can help. Finally, consuming a different balance of macronutrients can affect hunger.

    Volumetrics for Controlling Hunger
    High water foods include soups, gelatins, fruits, and vegetables. High air foods include whipped eggs and popcorn. You might think of high fibre cereals, grains, and breads as good ways to boost your intake, but in reality, they're not the best sources. A person should generally aim for about 25 grams of fibre for each 2000 calories he or she is consuming.

    Excellent food sources of dietary fiber include: turnip greens, mustard greens, cauliflower, collard greens, broccoli, Swiss chard and raspberries. Very good sources of dietary fiber include romaine lettuce, celery, spinach, fennel, green beans, eggplant, cranberries, strawberries and flax seeds. Good sources of dietary fiber include cucumber, apricots, navy beans, grapefruit, rye, sweet potato, beets, buckwheat, shiitake mushrooms and oats.

    Caloric Imbalance - Put your calories where you need them
    In periods of increased activity, deflated mood, sickness, and other situations, our energy needs will be different, and we should adjust for them. In particular with women, they will likely feel a greater need for more calories, and more carbohydrates specifically while they are in the premenstrual part of their cycle.

    Macronutrients and Satiety
    WebMD says "Eating protein triggers a natural weight-loss hormone"

    [highlight]Other Sources of Learning[/highlight]
    These books encompass a wide range of health and nutrition topics
    What To Eat by Marion Nestle
    Superfoods Rx by Steven G. Pratt (note: I do not recommend the book "Superfoods Rx Diet, as I feel it has some exaggerated claims)
    YOU: The Owner's Manual by Michael F. Roizen
    The University of Berkely has made available for free its lectures on NS10 Introductory to Human Nutrition.
    #154 guava, Sep 1, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2008
  15. guava

    guava Elite Member
    Lifetime Platinum Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    [highlight]Nutrition for Preferred Body Composition[/highlight]

    For those whose goals are to attain the body fat percentage of an elite athlete, you will probably have different requirements than a diet which is designed to help you maintain a healthy weight, or one which is designed to minimize your risk of disease and increase your longevity.

    There are so many tiny details a person could manipulate about his diet, so for some people, it makes the most sense to hire a nutritionist/personal trainer in order to get to this point. However, if you have the patience to do your own research and change around a bunch of variables when things aren't working for you, you can give some of these tips a try.

    Dairy Consumption
    Drinking milk or eating yogurt does not slow your fat loss progress. In fact, in any research that's been published, the reverse has been shown to be true. On the other hand, many people who are at a low body fat percentage report that while they have dairy products in their diet, they experience bloating and a lack of muscle smoothness. If you're at a low body fat percentage already and want to see more definition, try eliminating dairy from your diet.

    Ideal Macronutrient Ratios for Maximum Fat Loss
    One of the links that Marcus posted says:

    The ideal fat loss diet contains moderate amounts of fats, moderate amounts of carbohydrates and large amounts of protein. Protein helps to build and repair muscle, and it also aids in increasing your metabolism and enhancing your immune system. To promote maximum muscle growth and repair, you should try to eat at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. I recommend starting with a diet that is around 40% protein.
    This sounds reasonable, based on what I've heard others on the forum report.

    Distribution of Daily Macronutrients: Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition

    Calculating out your macronutrient targets and ensuring that you eat exactly "by the numbers" will not provide additional fat loss benefits unless you are eating the right types of each of those macronutrients, and at the right time of day.

    I'm still gathering information on this topic. For now, I just wanted to make the point clear that nutrient timing is as important as nutrient composition. I will come back and edit it as I understand more

    Meal Timing Benefits by Todd Huffman (Men's Fitness)
    8 am carbs and protein
    10am A well-balanced snack (carbs, proteins, fats)
    1pm A protein-rich lunch (avoid starchy carbs)
    4pm Preworkout (eg. apple and peanut butter) and postworkout snack (high GI carbs with protein)
    7pm Fiber, lean protein and low-GI carbs
    10pm A protein snack

    If you must have some high-GI foods (white bread, instant rice, soda, candy) outside of a workout environment, make sure to eat them with some fat, fiber and protein in order to slow the absorptive process and blunt insulin release.

    Other tips:
    Before high intensity cardiovascular exercise, consume simple carbohydrates and a quickly digestible protein. Avoid fat pre-workout unless you are training for endurance. Low intensity cardiovascular exercise is ideally done fasted.

    After cardio workout, don't eat for an hour.

    Within 30-45 minutes of finishing a strength training workout, eat protein and carbs.

    Avoid eating carbs (other than vegetables) for the last couple of hours before you go to bed.

    Eat a slow digesting protein source right before bed.

    Thoughts on a "Low Carb" Diet

    I would define a low carb diet as any diet in which less than 50% of your calories are supplied by carbohydrates.

    The biggest concern in a low carb diet is probably in the nutrients and other valuable components that you could be missing that would normally be supplied by the carbohydrates. If you eat plenty of fibrous carbs (ie. vegetables) in a day, and your mood and energy level are okay, a low carb diet is not likely a risk to your health.

    Here's a description of the function of carbohydrates:
    Carbohydrates provide the body with a source of fuel and energy that is required to carry out daily activities and exercise. Any extra energy is stored in the body until it is needed.

    Our bodies need a constant supply of energy to function properly and a lack of carbohydrates in the diet can cause tiredness or fatigue, poor mental function and lack of endurance and stamina.

    Carbohydrates are also important for the correct working of our brain, heart and nervous, digestive and immune systems.

    Fibre, which is also a form of carbohydrate, is essential for the elimination of waste materials and toxins from the body and helps to keep the intestines disease-free and clean.

    On of the key nutritive dietary element that's most often missing in a low carb diet is whole grains.

    Whole grains provide many of the nutrients that are low in America’s diet, including fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and the minerals selenium, zinc, copper and magnesium.
    • There is a long list of other naturally occurring substances in whole grains, besides soluble and insoluble fiber. Some of them are: tocopherols, beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, glutamine, phytoestrogens, lignans, flavonoids, oligosaccharides, inositol, phenolics, saponins, lectins, and protease and amylase inhibitors. These healthful factors may help prevent diseases from developing, lower blood cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar or improve immune function.

    You might consider, on a low carb diet, being more conscientious of your vitamin and mineral content, possibly supplementing with a multivitamin, and if you're not reaching at least 25 grams of fibre per 1,500 calories, consider taking a fibre supplement, such a Metamucil.

    It's also important to stay extremely well hydrated on a high protein diet, as it causes your kidneys to work much harder than normal.

    Here is a simple formula to estimate your daily target water consumption:
    Body weight X 0.6 = Daily water intake (Ounces)

    Using a 180 pound man as an example: 180 LBS X 0.6 = 108 Ounces

    Without enough water, the kidneys can't function properly. When this happens, some of the load is transferred to the liver. The liver metabolizes stored fat for energy. If the liver is doing some of the kidneys' work, it burns less fat.

    More about protein intake:

    About protein intake.

    Excess protein consumption has been shown to cause kidney failure in those with already existing kidney problems, but no studies have shown the same in those with healthy kidneys. Regardless, it becomes especially important to insure a high level of hydration when you increase your protein consumption.

    High protein intake has also been associated with osteoporosis, but causation has not be established.

    On the other hand, a higher protein intake has been attributed to accelerated fat loss and more efficient muscle building, so it may be worthwhile for a person to bump up his or her ratios to more than 35% of calories from protein, if that suits their goals. Many bodybuilding experts report that their clients achieve the best fat loss and muscle sparing results on intakes of 1g or more of protein per pound of body weight daily. Follow this link and decide for yourself.

    Energy Balance: When "a Calorie is not a Calorie"

    Most people perceive the energy balance equation during weight maintenance to be this: when "calories in" are equivalent to "calories out," body mass should remain constant. When you eat more calories than you use, your body mass will increase, and if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. In general, this theory hold up, but when you get down closer to an optimal weight, it becomes a little more questionable. John Berardi has written an article about why he thinks this theory is flawed. The findings are not backed up by scientific studies, but he reports a number of case studies that show agreement with his viewpoint.

    A New View of Energy Balance by John Berardi
    It’s my belief that the current view of energy balance is just too simple to offer consistent explanatory and predictive power in the realm of body composition change.

    Think of what dieters face during those inevitable dieting stalemates that nearly all of us have experienced. Once energy is restricted, appetite is reduced and both exercise and non-exercise energy expenditure is reduced. In order to combat this inevitable metabolic slow-down, a few of the strategies illustrated above can be beneficial.

    First, on the energy sensing/signaling end, periodic re-feeding, the use of carbohydrate or carbohydrate/protein drinks during exercise, and upregulation of thyroid function by nutritional supplements designed to provide raw materials for thyroid hormone manufacture or to stimulate the conversion of T4 to the more active T3 in the body can help keep the metabolic signal alive.

    Secondly, on the brain to body end (the drives to eat and move), although signals are sent to increase food intake and decrease voluntary activity, these can be uncoupled by refusing to eat more in the face of increased hunger.

    In addition, as most of you know, I believe that alterations in food type (what you eat) and food timing (when you eat) can also uncouple this relationship and improve both weight loss profile and muscle building profile.

    Nutrition Plans for Optimal Body Composition
    Some of the following diets have been popular on this forum:
    Anabolic Diet
    T-Dawg 2.0 Diet
    Velocity Diet
    #155 guava, Sep 2, 2006
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2008
  16. carra

    carra Active Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the wealth of information. I am a 56 year old female that wants to get in better shape.I have never seriously weight trained but I am pumped about getting started. There is soooo...much information out there and you have done a wonderful job of streamlining it for me.

    I am 5ft. 4" and weight 139lbs. My body fat is 24.5 and my immediate goal is to get down to 20%. I have just started to weight train 4 times a week and I do cardio in the morning. I need help with my diet. I welcome all suggestions!


    GDIHALO Active Member

    Feb 16, 2007
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    This is a great post, thanks so much. Corrected a lot of fallacies I had!

  18. 3rdto1st

    3rdto1st Active Member

    Apr 2, 2007
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    Hey marcus (or whoever else can help) i need some help deciding what activity level i fit in.

    I'm 5'10", 175lbs, 20 yrs old. I row five days a week in the morning (5am practice kills :P) for an hour and a half, and according to most, i am knocking out about 800 cal there. I also run about 3-4 miles, 5 days a week, and i hit the gym to lift 4 days a week. However, i am a college student so the rest of my day i sit around. just any help as far as activity level would be great.

  19. Jo_13

    Jo_13 Active Member

    Jun 25, 2007
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    I would just like to say "WOW!" I thought I knew the gist of living a healthy life style but just reading your opening thread post I realize I still have a lot to learn and understand.

    Throughout this whole thread I have learned a lot of new things and am excited to start a change for the better in my life.
  20. TinFury

    TinFury Active Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Hey I'm 170 lbs. A little overweight and I want to start working out. I don't care if I put muscle on first or loose the fat first. What caloric intake is best to start with? Higher than maintain, lower than maintain, or just maintain?

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