The term ‘macros’ or ‘macronutrients’ are thrown around quite a bit in the weight-loss world, and with good reason. Macronutrients are substances that our bodies need in large amounts to function optimally. Macronutrients come in three forms: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They are essential to quick and safe weight loss. Each macronutrient performs specific and unique functions within our bodies. 

All three macronutrients contain the calories our bodies need for energy. We obtain our macronutrients through the food that we eat, so it is essential that you allow for sufficient macronutrients in your meal plan. 

Here is everything you need to know about including macronutrients in your diet.

What role do they play?

Protein plays a major role in your body, including supporting cellular function and repairing tissue. It is also essential in the process of building and maintaining muscle mass (CTA LINK: Link to Importance of Muscle blog post). Our bodies break protein down into amino acids that are circulated into our bloodstream and dispersed to all the cells in the body for absorption and use.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our bodies. They provide us with energy in the form of glucose. All your cells need glucose to form cellular energy molecules. Interestingly, it is easy for your body to break carbohydrates down into glucose. A problem occurs when you aren’t getting enough glucose in your diet: this system will switch to converting amino acids and fats into glucose – this is not ideal for your body.

When it comes to fat – and here we are talking about healthy fats – your body would not be able to function at all without it. Essential fats are critical to supporting the brain and nervous system as well as promoting healthy hormone production. Fats also help the body absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.

Whilst carbohydrates and fat might scare you, without a healthy intake of all three macronutrients, your body is not able to function properly.

What about calories?

Not all macronutrients are created equal. While 100 grams of salmon and 100 grams of hot wings may have the same macronutrient profile, they are hardly nutritional equivalents. They also differ largely in calories. Jellybeans and sweet potatoes are both about 100% carbohydrates, but there is no comparison when it comes to nutritional and caloric value. 

When considering your macronutrients, you will quickly discover that you feel better when you spend most of your macronutrient intake on fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats (CTA LINK: https://www.aleverenorthampton.co.uk/safe-weight-loss/weight-loss-basics-a-guide-to-fat-intake/), whole grains, and lean protein. These options are also a lot more filling than sweets or hot wings.

Figuring out and refining your macronutrient intake should also depend on the number of calories you want to consume every day to lose and maintain your goal weight. A great way to start balancing your macronutrients is to consider that between 10% and 35% of your daily calories should come from protein. You can then distribute your fat and carbohydrates between the remaining calories.

How do I know what to eat?

At Alevere Northampton we know that nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach. So, when it comes to what macronutrients you should be eating and the proportion of your diet that they should fulfil, we know it depends on the individual. However, there are some basics we can share with you. Nutritious foods that contain sufficient macronutrients include:

  • Fruits and vegetables are a high-carbohydrate, low-protein option.
  • Pasta, rice, cereal, bread, and legumes are high-carbohydrate, low-fat options.
  • Nuts, seeds, olive oil, and cheese are high-fat, low-carbohydrate options.
  • Avocado and coconut milk are high-fat, low-protein options.
  • Eggs, meat, and fish are high-protein, low-carbohydrate options.
  • Non-fat Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese or cream cheese, chicken breasts, and lean ground beef are high-protein, low-fat options.

In general, we recommend that your macronutrient intake includes 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 30% (healthy) fat. However, it is important to note that these portions depend largely on your weight-loss goals and individual caloric and nutritional needs.

Contact us today to find out how you can lose weight fast on our medically-led weight-loss programme.

This may be news to some, but preserving muscle mass while losing weight is just as important as any other aspect of your weight loss plan. Why? Because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat at rest. Not to mention, muscle also gives your body shape and functional ability.

Muscle building can support weight loss as muscles are highly metabolically active tissues. The more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will be. A higher BMR means you burn more calories at rest, thanks to your muscle mass.

Why Is Muscle Important?

The loss of muscle mass while losing weight is the quickest way to enter a yoyo weight loss/gain situation. In fact, losing muscle mass can actually be quite dangerous.

If you have too little muscle, you can’t burn enough calories to lose weight. The more muscle you lose, the harder you will have to work to lose weight. You will have to exercise twice as hard to make up for the fact that you don’t have the calorie-burning muscle to help you.

If you want to consistently lose weight and then maintain your goal weight, preserving muscle mass is key.

Protein Intake

The great news is that preserving your muscle throughout the weight-loss process does not mean lifting heavy weights at the gym. A great way to lose weight without compromising your existing muscle mass is to boost your daily protein intake. Increasing your protein intake from the recommended 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight to 1.2 to 2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight can help you retain muscle. In this case, however, it is important that you restrict your calories by about 30% to 40%.

As a macronutrient, when you want to increase your protein intake to maintain your muscle mass, it is essential that you turn to whole food sources first. Only look at protein powders and supplements if you are having trouble meeting your protein intake requirements through the food you eat. Great whole food protein sources include eggs, nuts, beans, Greek yoghurt, seeds, cottage cheese, lentils, meat, and seafood.

When people choose calorie restriction to lose weight, they often cut out the wrong calories. Cutting down on the macronutrient protein is a sure-fire way to lose muscle mass. It is important to cut down on the right calories.

Careful With Cardio

Whilst cardio is a fantastic way to help you lose weight; it can get you into trouble when it comes to maintaining muscle. 

Too much cardio eats away at your muscle, meaning you’ll have to do twice the amount of cardio just to burn calories. 

A far better approach is to mix cardio and strength training together but to do so on separate days. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a popular way to both build and preserve muscle while getting in enough cardio to shed pounds.

If you would like to learn more about how you can preserve muscle mass while losing weight, contact us.

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about the ever-popular term ‘ketosis’ and the ketogenic diet. 

But what is ketosis? Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens inside your body when it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn to produce energy. As a result, the body will burn fat and produce ketones in the blood to use for energy. The process of ketosis can be induced by following a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet, also known as the ketogenic diet.

How does ketosis work?

When you eat fewer carbohydrates, your insulin levels go down, and fatty acids are released from your body’s fat stores in large amounts. A lot of these fatty acids end up in the liver where they are turned into ketones. However, unlike fatty acids, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and provide energy for the brain as glucose would.

While glucose is preferred in terms of energy for the brain as certain cells can only use glucose for fuel, it is a common misperception that the brain cannot function without dietary carbohydrates. 

The majority of your brain can use ketones for energy when your diet is low in carbohydrates. Interestingly, through a process called gluconeogenesis, your body can make use of protein and other molecules to produce the glucose that the brain needs in order to function during ketosis. In this way, your brain’s energy needs are completely fulfilled.

Can it help me lose weight?

Following the ketogenic diet – which is designed to reach a metabolic state of ketosis within your body – has proven to be effective when it comes to safe and quick weight loss. One specific study found that people who follow a ketogenic diet can lose 2.2 times more weight than people on a low fat or calorie-restricted diet.

Certainly, a large pro that comes with the ketogenic diet is that people tend to feel less hungry as a result of the ketosis process. It also means it becomes less important to count calories. Of course, the biggest benefit offered by the ketogenic diet is rapid weight loss. People often report that once starting the ketosis process, weight loss happens almost immediately in the initial phase once starting the ketosis process.

Does it have any other benefits?

Ketosis is not only great for losing weight safely and quickly, but it also has other positive effects on your body. For one, it can decrease your risk for heart disease. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, particularly in the case of type 2 diabetes.

What is the ketogenic diet?

Generally, in order to reach a state of metabolic ketosis, you would need to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. However, the exact amount of carbohydrates you should include in your diet to achieve ketosis varies between individuals and can even be as low as 20 grams.

The kinds of carbohydrates you would need to avoid to promote ketosis include grains, legumes, potatoes and fruit. You would also need to cut our candy and sugary drinks.

Your macronutrient goals should be a caloric intake of 70-75% of fat, 15-20% of protein, and 5-10% of your calories should come from carbohydrates.

Before you commit to adopting the ketosis way of life and eating, it is best to check with a doctor or registered dietician that the ketogenic diet is a safe option for you.

To learn more about ketosis and its benefits for safe and quick weight loss as well as a free consultation, contact us.

Believe it or not, not all fat is bad fat. In fact, there are certain fats that you should definitely include in your diet if you are looking to lose weight quickly and safely. Why, you ask? Because fat plays an important role in a balanced diet.

Healthy fats help your body in a variety of ways. They help provide you with energy, it aids hormone production and nutrient absorption, protects your organs, and promotes cell growth.

Because fats are the last nutrient to leave the digestive tract, they help you to feel fuller for longer, which prevents overeating and unplanned snacking.

Fat is the most calorie-dense of all the macronutrients, at nine calories per gram. 

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat

Fats that you should be including in your weight-loss meal plan are polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat.

Polyunsaturated fats include fatty fish, flaxseed and liquid plant-based cooking oils. Monounsaturated fats include nuts, seeds, and avocados. These fats can decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. They also reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature and comes from natural sources such as meat – particularly red meat – and dairy. Some plants and their oils are also high in saturated fat, like coconut oil. Saturated fats are foods like full-fat butter, cream, and cheese. 

Your saturated fat intake should be 10 percent or less of your total daily caloric intake.

What Fat Should I Be Eating?

We suggest that your total healthy fat intake should make up between 20 and 30 percent of your total calories. However, you can eat less or more fat, depending on your specific caloric goals.

Once you have decided what percentage of your calories should come from fat, convert this number to a decimal, for example, 30 percent of fat would be 0.3. Then take the total number of calories you want to eat per day, based on your goals, and multiply it by the decimal value. Finally, divide the number of calories from fat by nine to get the grams of fat.

A few fantastic ways to get more healthy fats into your diet include using mashed avocado as a condiment, adding nut butter to a smoothie, drizzling olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your salad and using seeds or nuts as toppings on salads and yoghurt. When it comes to sweet treats, opt for dark chocolate and snack on nuts instead of chips. 

 

Artificial Trans Fat

Although we have discussed how a good intake of fat is healthy, there is a particular fat that you should be avoiding. This is called artificial trans fat, also known as manufactured fat. We don’t want to get too scientific here, but artificial trans fats are created when hydrogen molecules are pumped into vegetable oils, and this process creates a more solid fat that prolongs the shelf life of food.

Artificial trans fats can significantly increase your risk of heart disease and cause inflammation. They can also damage the inner lining of your blood vessels and could even drive insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

The tricky thing about artificial trans fats is that they can be found in just about any processed food including potato and corn chips, meat pies and sausage rolls, canned frosting, cakes, crackers, biscuits, donuts, and frozen pizzas. The best way to avoid eating artificial trans fats is to check the labels of what you’re eating. Food manufacturers are required to indicate the amount of artificial trans fats in grams on labels. Also, check ingredient lists to ensure you avoid foods with the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated”.

There is one more type of fat to consider if you are trying to lose weight quickly and safely and that is natural trans fats. Trans fats often occur naturally in some meats and dairy foods. 

If you are looking for more basic weight-loss guides to help you lose weight quickly, yet safely, visit our blog.

Protein is an important part of any meal plan if you are looking to lose weight quickly and safely. The best way to describe the function of protein in our bodies is that it is a nutrient that maintains, builds, and repairs tissue.

What Does Protein Do?

When you eat protein, in whatever form, your digestive system breaks the food down into amino acids, which are absorbed by the small intestine, allowing the body to take what it needs to function. 

A large portion of the protein that you eat goes into your organs, blood, muscles and supports your immune system. Protein also helps you feel fuller and more satisfied at mealtimes. For these reasons, it is important to include protein in your diet rather than cutting down on your protein intake, as it is essential to losing weight. 

However, just like carbohydrates and fats, excess protein consumption can be turned into and stored as fat. Keep reading to find out how much protein you should be eating without it turning into fat.

What Should I Be Eating?

We understand that protein-rich foods aren’t exactly cheap. But you can maximise your body’s ability to digest, absorb, and use protein by distributing your total protein intake throughout all your meals and snacks each day. Simply take the total grams of protein you need daily based on your weight and divide it into the total number of meals and snacks you eat throughout the day.

Protein is found in a myriad of foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy and some grains. When it comes to safe and quick weight loss, pairing protein with macronutrients like carbohydrates is best. 

If meat is a part of your daily protein intake, look out for leaner cuts like pork and beef tenderloin if you are looking to lose weight. Try to limit red meat portions to once or twice a week – this is due to the high-fat content found in red meat.

Ground meats like mince, are usually a lot higher in fat than other types of meat. Again, look out for leaner options like ground beef that contains 95% lean meat and only 5% fat.

Poultry is typically quite lean when you take the skin out of the equation. However, ground chicken or turkey can be packed with fat. Try to choose chicken or turkey breasts that are 100% lean meat. If it is not 100% meat, it has likely been ground up with the chicken’s skin and fat, making your protein intake less healthy than ground beef.

Frozen or fresh fish is a great way to get your protein in. You can aim to eat 120 grams of fish at least twice per week. Fish are rich in healthy, unsaturated fat called Omega-3.

What Should My Protein Intake Be?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is based on how much protein you should eat to guard against lean muscle loss and support other important bodily functions. The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Take your body weight, multiply it by 0.8 and you will see the amount in grams of protein you should be eating. 

Keep in mind, however, that the above calculation is for the average sedentary adult. If you are taking part in regular endurance activities like swimming, running, or cycling, you should be aiming for 1.2 – 1.4 grams per kilogram. If you are doing any regular strength training, you should be aiming for 1.4 – 2 grams per kilogram, but only if you’re looking to increase muscle size. 

Another way to calculate the correct protein intake for you is to make protein 20% of your daily caloric intake. 

It is always essential to remember, protein still has calories attached to it and eating too many calories will stop you from achieving or maintaining your weight loss goals. 

What About Protein Powders And Supplements?

There is a lot of information out there that promotes protein powders to reach your daily protein intake. However, most people can achieve the ideal amount of protein by eating real food. For example, a woman weighing 9 stone only needs to eat around 85 grams of chicken breast, one large egg, a few almonds, and a stick of cheese to reach her daily caloric intake of protein.

Great sources of protein that we recommend you include in your weight-loss meal plan – instead of using protein powders – are black beans, lentils, pinto beans, chicken breasts, eggs, white fish, salmon, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, and quinoa. 

If you are interested in losing weight safely and effectively, the Alevere Therapy Northampton weight loss programme is a great option to achieve the figure you want. Find out more here.