The Only Diet That WORKS!

Food Glorious Food!

The only diet that works, is one you set yourself.

Using your own tastes and preferences.

I dont know about you but the thought of giving up the food I enjoy gets me down.

So its a good thing that we dont have to...

Okay so we may have to adapt our diet a little.
We cant eat hamburgers every day;but to be honest. Do you really want to?

There is sooo much beautiful food out there waiting to be enjoyed.
All we have to do is maybe open our minds a little and try some.

If you eat what you want, your not on 'A DIET'.
Your eating 'YOUR DIET'!

Just give it a go
you'll find that eating less calories and eating healthier can be very enjoyable.

So to help us decide what we're going to eat, lets have a quick look at food and nutrition...

Then we can work out our OWN dietary requirements, and adjust what we eat without resorting to fad diets.

Like we saw in the MECHANICS OF METABOLISM Our food intake consists of three types

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Fats
All the food we eat will be broken down to these chemical compounds
So lets check out our daily requirements...

"How much do we need and when do we need it?"
We know that 'carbs' are our main energy source so we need not only to match our intake to meet our requirements,but also time them to our needs...

Its no good taking on lots of carbohydrate, then when it comes 'online' as energy, we dont need it.
Because it will then just turn to fat.

According to current medical theory our diet should consist of 45-65% carbohydrate.

So for a man needing 2000 Calories a day thats 900-1300 Calories from Carbohydrate

But, there is another twist to the story...

According to the latest research there are 'good' and 'bad' carbs.
The University of Sydney in Australia, has compiled a database which tables the Glycemic values of Carbohydrates.

"Whats Glycemic value?"
(I hear you ask)

Glycemic Value is the term for how well, and how quickly, different foods are absorbed, and raise the levels of glucose in our blood.

The values are based against pure glucose, which is absorbed the quickest, and which they have rated as 100.

So foods with a rating of 70 are rated as being high in Glycemic value, i.e they will be absorbed quickly.
As opposed to foods with say a rating of 40, which will be absorbed more slowly.

"So which is best?"
For our general day to day living slow Carbs(i.e. low Glycemic Index Numbers) are best, as they will release energy to match our needs.

To check out the University of Sydney Database

They have also produced a really good COOK BOOK Which I can recommend

"When's the best time to eat them?"
You should eat some Carbohydrate at every meal, to give a balanced level of energy.
Divide your calorie intake for the day by how many times you eat.
This will give you how much to eat at any one time.

But only take into account, the carb content of the food...
For example:
A 30g slice of wholemeal bread only contains 11g of carbohydrate.
Carbohydrate yields 4 Calories per gram. So the carb value of the slice of bread is 44 Calories.

Protein is used by the body to build, repair, and grow cells.
It's made from substances called amino acids. There are about twenty known amino acids of which we can make in our bodies 11.
The rest has to come from our diet.
These are called essential amino acids.
(you probably heard of them in food ads)

Animal protein contains the full range of these essential amino acids.
Whereas Vegetable protien doesn't
(Thats why Vegetarians and Vegans need to take supplements)

"How much do we need"
For the average Joe the daily recommended MINIMUM intake of protein is around 55 grams
To give you an idea an ounce/25 grams of meat or fish has around 1/3rd oz/7g of protein

"How often should we eat it?"
At least Two of your daily meals should contain good levels of protein

Dietary fat is an important source of nutrition. As we know from
Mechanics of Metabolism Fats are also an important source of energy

It also supplies us with essential fatty acids which are important for well-being.
Fat is also needed for healthy skin, and carries hormones that regulate many of the bodies functions.
as well as absorbing and transporting Vitamins A,D,E, and K.

Broadly speaking there are two kinds of fats;
Saturated and Unsaturated:

Saturated Fats
Are solid at room temperature, such as; Butter, Lard, fat on meat, and in dairy products, etc.
There are also trans-fats which are fats that have beeen artificially solidified by a process which is called Hydrogenation.
These are used in just about all processed foods, to provide texture.They are what give foods that 'stodgy' 'glutenous' feeling in your mouth.

Saturated fats can also be very bad for you, increasing Cholesterol levels, and can contribute to Heart Disease.

"How much is safe?"
No more than 11% of our energy should come from saturated fat.

Unsaturated Fats
Are usually liquid at room temperature, and come mainly in the form of oils derived from vegetable sources.
They are also found in oily fish, and in soft margarines labelled 'high in polyunsaturates'.

Unsaturated fats contain high quantities of essential fatty acids that cannot be made by our bodies. So we need to get them from our diet.

Dietary Fibre
Dietary Fibre comes from vegetable sources, and is totally indigestable to humans, basically it comes out as it went in.
The reason we need a good amount of fibre is to give our digestive tract a good sweep through.
As it passes along, it accumilates various substances, including undigested fat, and carries them out of your system.
Thereby preventing you from absorbing them.
So your mother was right again... "Eat your vegetables, they're good for you".

Another good thing about foods high in fibre;
is that they 'bulk' you out so you feel full.
So, If you want to lose weight.. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and salad.

The World Health Organisation recommends that men above 50 eat 30g of fibre per day.
Fibre, or the lack of it, is thought to be a factor in Colon, and Rectal cancers, which have a much higher occurance in the industrialised world.

Look at this comparison...

"Dr Denis Burkitt, an authority on fibre in the diet, documented in 1972, that a Ugandan villager eating a high-fibre diet, produced 470g of stools a day, which took 36 hours to produce after eating.

In comparison, a Royal Navy sailor on a low-fibre diet, produced just 104g of stools, which took 83 hours to pass."

Makes you wonder doesn't it?

"So how much of all this do we need?"

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
To meet the body's daily energy and nutritional needs, while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get...

  • 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates,
  • 20 percent to 35 percent from fat, (Remember no more than 11% from Saturated)
  • 10 percent to 35 percent from protein

So, if you need 2100 Calories a day to maintain weight thats...

  • 9-1300 Calories from Carbs (Preferably Slow)
  • 220 Calories of Protein (Minimum)
  • 420-735 calories of fat (of which no more than 230 Calories from saturated fat)

If you need to lose weight.
Cut the Carbs, and reduce the fat to the minimum.
Remember from 'Diets Dont Work'. The most you can lose is a pound a week, and to do this you need to reduce your intake/up your metabolism by 3500 Calories per week, or 500 a day.

So; lets say you're already doing a daily walk and burning 150Cal.
You need to reduce your intake by 350Cal per day.
Reduce the fat intake to the minimun, and knock the rest off the Carb intake.


You need to calculate your Daily calorie requirement.
As a guide Take your body weight and multiply it by...

  • 13 calories per pound if your activity level is low, or if you are over age 55
  • 15 calories per pound if you regularly do moderate activity
  • 18 calories per pound if you regularly do strenuous activity
Activity levels:
  • Low activity: No planned, or regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity (such as golf or recreational tennis) is the only type of physical activity
  • Moderate activity: Swimming, jogging, or fast walking for 30 - 60 minutes per day
  • Strenuous activity:Vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least 4 - 5 days per week

OK, now you know your Daily Required Calorie Intake DRCI.
If your going to shed some fat then; 'how much how quick'(Remember A pound a week equals 500Cal/day)
Once you've adjusted your figure, you need to decide how many meals/snacks your going to eat each day.
The optimum is six

"Thats a lot of meals"
Sure is if your talking about equal amounts.
But I think we should break it down into say three 'meals', and three 'snacks'...

  • Breakfast
  • Snack
  • Lunch
  • Snack
  • Dinner
  • Snack
If you balance the makeup of each meal to your energy requirements then this will increase the efficiency of your metabolism

A bit like this...

Divide your protein intake between breakfast, dinner, and just after your most active period (say a walk or workout)
This is because at breakfast your body will have been without protein for 8-10 hours so its reserves will have been depleted in repairing cells and growing new ones. Sleep is quite strenuous you know.
A top up at dinner will go some way to helping in the night shortage.
Protein is always a good idea immediately after a workout, to build new muscle tissue.

Spread your carb intake through the day with an emphasis on 'front loading' i.e. try to have more carbs with breakfast as this is when your body is depleted and looking for fuel for the day.
So if you say eat

  • 40% of your carbs for breakfast
  • 10% for your morning snack
  • 20% at lunch
  • 10% afternoon snack,
  • 15% at dinner
  • 5% evening snack.

This again should match your intake to your requirements.

Evening seems to be the best time for fat intake as fat delays the absorbtion of protein which should help through the night.

And Eat FIBRE with everything

"How do I determine how much of the food I eat is Carb, Protein ,or Fat?"
If the food comes in a pack, its likely, depending on where you live, to have a label describing its contents and energy values.Check out these two sites...

US Food and Drug Administration

UK Food Standards Agency

Between these two there won't be much you cant find out about food labelling

For food that comes 'in the raw'
I.e unpackaged such as meat, fish, or vegetables.
Search the USDA National Nutrient Database

This is a searchable database which gives just about every bit of information on a food substance you could want.

By using the above, (And doing a bit of homework) you can form a new set of eating habits, which will enable you to eat what you want, and provide you with the correct nutrition for your well-being.

Eatingt Tips

Mechanics of Metabolism

Diets Dont Work

To leave this page and return to Losing Weight

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