How To Decide Diets for Weight Loss

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Author: Jolin

What is obesity?

The real obesity should be diagnosed by measurement of the body fat percentage, and these fats include subcutaneous fat affecting the visual sense and visceral fat causing cardiovascular or metabolic diseases. However, in order to facilitate the diagnosis, medical workers usually use BMI (Body mass index) to assess the weight of ordinary people. BMI is body weight (kg) divided by height squared (square meters), and its normal range is from 18.5 to 24. Those whose BMI higher than 24 is overweight, BMI greater than 28 is obese. But the BMI is not applicable for special groups such as bodybuilders.

Source of calories in foods

The essence of obesity is the body fat percentage exceeded, so naturally people come up the idea by reducing the intake of dietary fat to achieve weight loss goals. However, biochemical research has found that the body three basic nutritional elements including carbohydrates (sugars), fats, and proteins can all be transformed through different biochemical processes to be energy (calories) for the human metabolism and the activities required. 1 gram of carbohydrates produce about 4 kcal; 1 gram of fat is about to produce 9 kcal; the protein is usually not for the consumption of energy substances, but in some consumption situation when protein is need to supply energy, then 1 gram of protein can also produce 4,000 calories. Meanwhile, excessive intake of these three nutrients, the excess energy will be converted into stored fat. This principle can be called the "central dogma" of the three major nutrients.

This law tells us that we need to control the total energy intake to achieve weight loss goals. Human body every day needs new proteins to update old proteins in the body, so we can not reduce the intake of protein to be very low. We can only change diets through changes in carbohydrate and fat intake. Atkins (Atkins) proposed the concept of the "low carbohydrate diet" to achieve the purpose of reducing calorie intake by reducing the amount of daily intake of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates mainly exist in staple foods (rice, noodles); therefore the low-carbohydrate diet is characterized by reducing staple food intake.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

In the survey of obesity around the world, it was found in the Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, its residents' total amount of dietary fat intake is about the same with the Americans, but the incidence of cardiovascular disease is much lower than the United States people. Why is that? In addition to physical exercise and sunlight, the most important thing is that the residents of the region have different eating habits. Their special dietary structure emphasizes eating more vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood, beans, nuts, followed by cereals and they use vegetable oil instead of animal oil for cooking. In particular, they promote the use of olive oil and also adequately intake red wine and garlic spice plants. The Mediterranean diet not only emphasizes the equalization of three major nutritional elements, but also puts more emphasis on healthy source of foods.

What kind of diet is the most effective for weight loss?
Among low-fat diet, low-carbohydrate diet and the Mediterranean diet, what kind of diet is more efficient for weight loss, and which is more beneficial to the body? People carried out some small-scale studies, but the outcome is not consistent. Therefore, in the beginning of this century, researchers from Israel carried out a period of 2 years, large-scale, prospective study to compare the efficacy of these three dietary patterns for moderately obese group to lose weight. The result is very interesting. The final study result proved that three diets were all shown to have the effect on reducing body weight. Low-carbohydrate diet group had the most remarkable weight loss effect in 24 months, followed by the Mediterranean diet group and the low-fat diet group.

From Lipids, blood glucose and other metabolic indicators, low-carbohydrate diet and the Mediterranean diet were slightly better than the low-fat diet. The study also found that in particular, diabetics who took a Mediterranean diet had a significant improvement in insulin and insulin resistance level compared to the other two diets. This suggested the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in metabolism.

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