When it comes to diets, we’ve been fed a fair few lies. We’ve all been told that this diet is superior over that diet, or this detox tea will help you lose fat from your belly. Or my personal favourite, find the diet that is right for your body type. The only people that usually benefit from these so-called diets, are the people flogging them.
Naturally, there will be some people that these diets will work for (apart from the detox tea), that comes down to ratios.
However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: All diets work.
Yep, you read that correctly. All diets work. Or at least they do if you stick to them.
If you remember one thing from this blog, let it be this…
FOR EVERY DIET AIMED AT FAT LOSS, YOU WILL HAVE TO BE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT.
Doesn’t matter if you’ve paid a fortune for it or not. Whether you have to count syns or points. Whether you’re low carb or carb free. If you’re veggie, vegan or only eat Maccas. You have to consume less than you expend.
But what exactly is a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. Without getting too scientific, a calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. So when you hear someone spout that calories aren’t created equally, that’s rubbish, a calorie is a calorie.
There are 4kcal in a gram of carbohydrate and 4kcal in a gram of protein but there are 9kcal in a gram of fat. These three things are called macronutrients and will make up the majority of your diet. Your diet will also include micronutrients but that’s getting a tad pernickety for this article so we’ll leave that for another day. Each macronutrient has a different job.
Carbohydrates are sugars, fibres and starches found in grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. They are your bodies main source of energy and although some diets will argue against it, they are important when maintaining a healthy diet. If someone is arguing against eating carbohydrates, consider what they are trying to sell you.
You can think of proteins as the body’s building blocks as they build and repair muscles, but they also provide the body with energy. Sources of protein include red meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. People should be eating between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. For example, if you’re an average build female weighing 62kg, you should be eating between 93g and 124g of protein per day. This can go up if you’re trying to build muscle or if you’re training load increases.
Lastly, we have fats. Fats, or lipids as they’re sometimes known, have had a bad rep in the past, hence why there are loads of low-fat food options (the fat has usually been replaced with sugar so pick your poison). Like carbohydrates, fats are used as an energy source. There are different types of fat but again, for the mo I don’t think we need to go into that much detail. One of their jobs is to protect your organs and they are imperative to include in a healthy, balanced diet.
So, as you can see, all calories are equal, but they aren’t all packaged the same.
For example, which do you think is better for you? A 50g Mars Bar or 50g of chicken? In a standard 50g Mars Bar there are 228kcal, in 50g of chicken there are 68.5kcal. You’d have to eat 3.3 times the amount of chicken to consume the same amount of calories as the Mars Bar. Think about all the other benefits that chicken has. It would satiate you for longer, there would be no sugar spike and it’s one of the best protein sources around. Plus, thanks to the thermic effect of food, you’d also burn more calories digesting the protein in the chicken.
BUT…when it comes to losing fat, as long as it fits in with your calories then there’s no reason why you couldn’t pick the Mars Bar over the chicken every so often. Nobody will expect you to be a saint 100% of the time so don’t put that pressure on yourself.
In short, the aim of every diet is the same. Whether you’ve paid for it or not. If you need the structure of counting syns or whatever then by all means, crack on. If you’re like me, then just having a calorie limit is enough. But don’t be led to believe that one diet is superior over the other, it really isn’t. You just need to find one that works for you. As with everything, if you stick to it, it will work. I guarantee it.
If you’d like to find out what your calorie and protein targets would be for fat loss then by all means, get in touch!