That eating to lose weight is a question that brings many people down the path of bitterness. I am sure that if you put these same words in Google, you will find articles asserting many atrocities.
So I have decided to write this article to clarify concepts and do my bit. To do this, I am going to talk to you about the four gore mistakes that I usually find with alarming frequency in consultation, among which the issue of taking meal replacement shakes to lose weight stands out.
Let’s go with it.
1- Eating only fruits and vegetables to lose weight
This is a classic. Many people still think that a diet to lose weight must be essentially a diet that contains only fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are essential foods. Most people take smaller servings than the WHO recommends. This is due, in part, to the western gastronomic culture, which is based on the consumption of carbohydrates (pasta and rice) and meat.
This is why, as dietitians, the first thing we do when we try to re-educate habits is to increase their consumption.
The confusion may start here. However, a balanced diet is a diet that includes all foods, and all micro and macronutrients.
I would dare to say that even to a small extent, non-recommended foods should be present. Not so much for its nutritional contribution, but because we must learn to move flexibly.
Trying to carry out a rigid diet where we can never incorporate any “improper” food, is authentic without living. In fact, there is a psychological disorder called Orthorexia based on this question.
Eliminate carbohydrates and fats
Both carbohydrates and fats are the macronutrients that have the most calories. This is why they tend to try to avoid themselves.
However, stopping taking carbohydrates and fats has serious damages to health. In addition, that you will not lose weight. If you stop incorporating them, your body will go into crisis and will decide not to release anything from the reserves it has saved.
In addition, a muscle catabolism process will be activated, that is, you will lose muscle. With what your basal metabolism will lower and you will burn fewer calories than before.
Did you know that many (healthy) fats contribute to the correct hormonal function that regulates weight?
Other myths such as the prohibition of pasta consumption at night, are also abundant when it comes to how to eat to lose weight. Many people substitute 3 or 4 pieces of fruit for their dinner, thinking that because it is the fruit they will not get fat. Really the only thing that matters to lose weight is that at the end of the day you have entered fewer calories than you have used, and surely, 3 or 4 pieces of fruit are the caloric equivalent of an average dinner.
2. Do not eat to lose weight or lose fat
This situation is less frequent, it usually occurs in borderline or pathological situations such as eating disorders.
Food restriction (not eating or eating little to lose weight) is typical of anorexia. However, I always say and defend that such a disorder can happen to anyone who begins to do inappropriate things with food.
Normally the restrictions go from less to more, until finally a real dread of eating is caught because of the fear of gaining weight.
When we start to restrict it is easy for us to lose a lot of weight. The body gives us a bit of a wide sleeve. However, faced with very pronounced losses, our body gets scared and starts saving mode. That is, it will not allow us to lose more fat.
We may then become frustrated when we see that what used to work no longer works, and we will break our heads to succeed again. That’s where the increasingly aggressive and extreme behaviors begin.
A lesser degree of this problem is compensatory behaviors. Dieters usually carry out a series of measures on their own, which I very much doubt have been recommended by any nutritionist.
Some of these are those of not having dinner or compensating, if a copious meal has been made that day, not eating anything else or eating very little.
I am being very insistent with the issue of how the body rebels when we force it to lose fat abruptly, but it seems to be essential to understand this point.
The body needs prediction, that is, to be able to feel calm and secure because it knows and anticipates that the food will arrive. For this reason, eating 5 meals a day is a good thing. Thus, the body understands that food is available and can release the “savings” (fat).
But when this does not happen, that is, when we stop having dinner. but we really need this caloric intake, the body goes into a state of stress.
In prehistoric times, that stress meant there were no animals to hunt or food to eat. Thus, stress for the body means hibernating resources and expenses.
If you have made a meal of what do I know 1400 calories a day, and your recommended daily caloric intake is 1,600, the logic is clear, right? You have practically reached that quota.
Perhaps driven by this rationalization, people decide not to eat more that day. However, that you have reached that caloric limit does not mean that your body does not need energy, since those 1,400 calories have surely been invested and the excess stored.
3. Meal replacement shakes to lose weight
Another classic, the famous meal replacement shakes for weight loss:
I am not referring to the supplemental protein shakes that some people take in order to increase their muscle mass, but to meal replacement shakes.
These shakes, normally, are not even close to meeting the nutritional needs we need. The first reason we got off to a bad start. At the health level, we are already spoiling it.
I guess what, if these shakes are low in calories, we will lose weight. But if they are low in calories, it is because they are nutritionally poor. In addition, many of these have added sugars, sweeteners, and additives, which again are not recommended.
Another drawback of doing this type of diet is. What are you going to do, are you going to be drinking smoothies all your life?
Is it the best option to take meal replacements to lose weight?
The goal is to implement a healthy eating style when we diet is that we can replicate it throughout life. Imagine that it is true and that by taking only shakes, you can lose a few kilos in a short time. What have you learned from all this? Do you think you can not recover what was lost?
Also, liquids are absorbed much faster than solid food. This implies that the incorporated energy will quickly be used up.
In other words, in a short time, you will need to eat again since you do not have energy. Liquids are recommended for example before training. In general, in those moments where we need a quick kick of energy.
Do Meal Replacements Work?
Do replacement shakes to lose weight work? Yes, of course, just as stopping eating works to lose weight. That is, the shakes do not have any magical properties, simply what we will do if this is our strategy is to follow malnutrition that is harmful to health.
4. Protein meals to lose weight
And we go with the last of the errors, the abuse of proteins.
Now the ketogenic diet is very fashionable among people looking for information on what to eat to lose weight. In short, the ketogenic diet is based on the preferential consumption of food rich in protein to lose weight, avoiding the consumption of carbohydrates.
It is based, among other things, on the fact that the consumption of carbohydrates is not essential for human development, since other macronutrients such as protein and fats can fulfill their energy function.
On paper it is simple, if you can take the energy that carbohydrates give you from protein, this will help you lose weight. Protein is less caloric than carbohydrate, in addition, for its metabolic breakdown, energy expenditure is 25%, compared to 5% for hydrates.
Now the truth:
The studies that I have read confirm that the ketogenic diet does not work. During the first two weeks, there is usually a significant weight loss.
However, this is not because the ketogenic diet is effective. If we come from an eating style where we eat more calories than we expend, it is normal that we do not lose weight. The ketogenic diet works like any other low-calorie diet.
The difference is that after a while, as it is not incorporating carbohydrates and hardly any fat, the body again activates (let’s see if you guess) the saving mode.
In addition, excessive consumption of protein is dangerous for health. By taking more protein than we need, we force our liver and pancreas to have to do overexertion that can have serious consequences.
You can lose weight by eating, we only need to work with a professional who knows how to understand and adjust the calories we should take. We may have to limit carbohydrates and inappropriate fats to some extent, but this does not mean doing without them.
Really the problem; is that culturally we tend to consume a number of carbohydrates well above the recommended quantities.
We have to eat everything and understand that the best way to achieve a perishable change is with patience and doing things right. If we manage not to scare our bodies, it will allow us to achieve our goals.