Losing weight is not easy – that’s a fact. After all those years of feeding your body with junk, your weight loss journey has just begun. You probably have stopped eating all the lousy stuff – trans fats, sugars, etc. – and started eating healthy food. But the question is: Do you know what your body needs?
Eating healthy involves more than putting more vegetables on your plate. It means knowing which vegetables your body requires. Failure to give your body the nutrition it needs leads to a host of issues that will jeopardize your weight loss efforts. From disrupting your sleep cycle to fueling your cravings and even affecting your mental health, vitamins and minerals may be the answer to your weight-loss woes.
Dieting and Nutrient Deficiency
In recent years, many diet regimens have gained popularity – keto, detox, intermittent fasting, and many more. However, when you focus too much on your weight, you may find yourself compromising on the quality of the food you eat. Although you may succeed in losing weight, you may do your body more harm than good during the process. There are several ways to diet successfully while still maintaining the nutrients your body requires.
Know Your Body
Several things could affect your weight goals, as body weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose all play an essential role in the kind of diet you choose. Also, the caloric needs of each person vary depending on lifestyle and heredity.
Eat Foods that Boost Metabolism
Get Enough Calories
If you are on a low-carb diet, for instance, make sure you get enough calories from other sources like proteins and fiber. If you are a vegan, this may be a little more challenging, but do your best to get the nutrients your body needs.
Get All the Micronutrients
These micronutrients are found in small quantities in different foods but have a high impact on the function of the body. Starving yourself from micronutrients can lead to nauseated feelings and other health issues.
The 5 Vital Nutrients for Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, not all nutrients are equal. There are a few that are essential to help you shed excess weight and keep it off. Here are just five of those.
Protein is probably one of the essential nutrients for weight loss and general health. A high protein diet can help boost metabolism, lower appetite, and change weight regulating hormones. One of the effects protein has on weight loss is that it restricts your hormones.
Your hypothalamus controls your weight by determining when you eat and how much. Among the most critical signals your brain sends are the hormones that regulate feeding. A higher protein increases the levels of satiety, which reduces the standards of the hunger hormone called ghrelin.
Protein also helps in digesting and converting calories into energy. When you eat, a process takes place called the thermic effect of food. According to research, protein has a high thermic effect (about 20 to 30 percent) compared to only 5 to 10 percent of protein and 3 percent of fat.
You’ve heard about how weight loss is all about calories in and calories out, and protein can help boost the calories out. Some studies suggest that protein can help you burn calories 24 hours a day, even during sleep.
Not only can protein help with the calories out, but it also reduces the calories in. Even without intentional calorie restriction, people on high protein diets experience weight loss. One study examined 19 overweight subjects who increased their protein intake by 30 percent. This increase in protein resulted in a drop in calorie intake.
If you have the problem of always being hungry, protein can help curb your appetite and eat less. One study on 19 subjects showed that those on a high protein diet experienced a drop in calorie intake of 441 calories per day.
Late-night snacking and cravings are also among the two culprits of weight gain. Protein intake can increase feelings of satiety, which in turn reduces the chances of your heading to the kitchen in the middle of the night. One study compared the high protein diet with a healthy protein diet. Those who were on a high protein diet had a 25 percent reduction in calorie intake and a 60 percent reduction in cravings.
When you are on a weight loss journey, you want to lose fat and not muscle. Protein is a nutrient that can help you do just that. Eating a high protein diet can reduce muscle loss, which can ensure that you can burn more calories.
Combining a high protein diet with strength training is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off. So just how much protein should you take if you want to lose weight? The recommended dietary requirement is only 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, but this is not enough to aid weight loss.
Studies show that to get the optimal benefits of protein, you should aim for 30 percent of your daily calories. So if you were on a 2,000 calorie diet, then simply multiply it by 0.075, which gives you 150 grams of protein per day. Another way to calculate the amount of protein is by basing it on your weight. We recommend 1.5 to 2.2 grams per kilogram of weight.
2. Vitamin D
Many only think of vitamin D when they get out in the sun, but vitamin D deficiency is common. According to statistics, up to 42 percent of adults in the U.S. have low vitamin D levels. There are many health benefits of vitamin D, like improved immunity and stronger bones, but there is also proof that it can help with weight loss. Vitamin D is not found in many foods and can be derived from 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure or a supplement. Those who get limited sun exposure are prone to deficiencies. Also, recent studies show that those who are overweight have low blood levels of vitamin D.
There are different speculations as to the connection between vitamin D deficiency and obesity. Some claim that obese individuals have an unhealthy diet and thus lower levels of the nutrient in their blood. Others speculate that, since obese individuals are less active, they have less sun exposure.
However, one study in 2012 showed that these theories are wrong. The study noted that, when vitamin D levels in obese people were adjusted based on body size, there was no difference. This means that obese people need more vitamin D than healthy weight individuals.
So how can vitamin D aid your weight loss? Well, there is evidence that getting the right amount of vitamin D can decrease body fat and improve your weight loss efforts. One study examined 218 overweight women who were on a restricted calorie diet with exercise. Half of the participants had a vitamin D supplement.
After one year, the researchers’ discovered that those who were on a vitamin D supplement had lost an average of seven pounds more than the other group. The way vitamin D effects weight loss is yet to be understood. However, there are a few studies abound. One is that vitamin D can reduce the formation of fat cells, while another is that the vitamin can suppress fat storage and increase levels of serotonin.
If you are consistently too tired to work out and keep active, you just might have an iron deficiency. Although iron won’t directly cause you to gain or lose weight, it could jeopardize your weight loss by causing fatigue and energy loss. Iron helps your body convert nutrients into energy and also helps carry oxygen to all the cells in the body, including the muscles. This, in turn, helps your body burn fat.
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the common deficiencies, especially in the U.S. Some symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, low energy, and weakness. Those who lack iron may have problems performing physically demanding tasks.
Vegetarians, in particular, are prone to this type of deficiency since most plant-based foods, including nuts and grains, reduce iron absorption. For some, this may be the cause of extreme weight loss, but in other cases, iron deficiency can contribute to weight gain.
One study conducted in 2016 showed that 60 percent of females treated for iron deficiency anemia gained 6.6 pounds. The study involved 33 female patients who underwent iron therapy. Participants who underwent iron therapy lost weight.
The study also discovered that iron is a component of a blood cell protein called ferritin. High ferritin levels may help with weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Low iron levels can have an effect on appetite, which helps in weight loss. However, in most cases, it results in low energy levels, which makes it hard for you to stick to your workouts.
4. Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats, also called healthy fats, and are found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil. There are different types of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), but the most common is called oleic acid. There are several health benefits connected with monounsaturated fats, one of the most significant being weight loss.
One of the reasons why MUFAs can aid with weight loss is because of their energy content, which is nine calories per gram. Carbs and proteins only provide four calories per gram. Adding MUFAs to your diet is an easy way to get high energy and lose weight. Even small amounts of MUFAs can also help with weight loss as long as you take care of your calorie intake.
One study examined 24 subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, which followed three different diets. One group followed a high fiber diet, the second a high carb diet, and the third a modified fat diet. After three months, those following the modified fat diet had no significant weight gain.
Another way MUFAs can have a positive effect on weight loss has to do with improving insulin sensitivity. Insulin is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. Studies show that a high MUFA diet can improve insulin sensitivity.
One study conducted on 162 healthy people showed that those who followed a diet high in MUFAS for three months experienced a nine eprcent increase in insulin sensitivity. You can get high amounts of MUFAs in:
- Olive oil
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds.
For those who are doing everything in their power to get rid of belly fat, fiber maybe the answer. We all know that fiber is edible, but there is a specific type of fiber that is especially valuable for weight loss, namely, soluble fiber. Soluble fiber easily mixes with water and helps regulate the pace at which the stomach digests food. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, can help with constipation but not necessarily with weight loss.
Studies show that soluble fiber helps you lose belly fat and prevents you from gaining it back. One five year study examined the effect of soluble fiber intake and abdominal fat. Researchers found that a 10 gram increase in daily soluble fiber reduced the risk of gaining belly fat by 3.7 percent.
So how does soluble fiber help you lose belly fat? For one, this type of fiber encourages healthy gut bacteria. There are over 100 trillion helpful bacteria in your gut, and keeping a healthy number and variation of this bacteria can have many health benefits. Numerous studies show that those who eat more soluble fiber have better health in general.
Gut bacteria are essential indigestion for many reasons. First of all, since your body can’t digest fiber on its own, gut bacteria do the job. Also, soluble fiber acts like a prebiotic, giving the bacteria the nutrients it needs. When soluble fiber is digested through a process called fermentation, certain fatty acids are produced that help reduce belly fat. These short-chain fatty acids can increase the fat-burning ability of your body and reduce fat storage.
Soluble fiber can also reduce appetite, which is always welcome with weight loss. Eating more fiber lowers your appetite, which in turn causes you to eat less, and a lower calorie intake only means one thing- weight loss. The reason why soluble fiber helps with appetite is that it reduces the levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) while increasing the satiety hormones. Sweet potatoes, apricots, oranges, legumes, oatmeal, flaxseeds, and other grains are excellent sources of soluble fiber.
These are five of the essential nutrients that will ensure success in your weight loss efforts. Aside from looking for food that contains these nutrients, there are other easy-to-follow and even enjoyable habits that can encourage weight loss.
Eating the right nutrients can give you the energy you need to keep positive, fight fatigue, and burn calories. All this together can add up and contribute to your success. However, remember that no matter how carefully you make sure you get all the right nutrients, without changing how you eat, you won’t succeed. Experts agree that, to ensure long term weight loss, a combination of all these factors is necessary. Most of these vital nutrients are in food, but you can consider getting a supplement to fill in any gaps. Whether or not you have started a diet plan, these vital nutrients will go a long way in preparing your body for weight loss. As long as you do your part in supplying your body with the best nutrients, it will do the rest.