All experts will agree that when looking to lower your body fat percentage your nutrition plays a key role and getting it right can determine whether you achieve the results you want or not. Now whilst there are hundreds of diets out there and they all have some valid points, there are certain fundamentals that feature in the most successful ones. Here we look at these fundamentals and how you can incorporate them into your diet to lower your body fat percentage.
Calories and Fat Loss
Firstly, on its most basic level, fat loss is achieve by creating a ‘calorie deficit’, this is where you burn/use more calories than you eat. Now again put simply, this ‘calorie deficit’ can either be achieved by eating less or exercising more or a combination of the two. Next regarding how many calories to cut out of your diet or burn, experts believe because there are 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat, you’d have to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose that 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). It’s important to remember that this is just theory and in reality when you weigh yourself it can fluctuate based on your lean muscle mass, water retention and a whole range of other factors. But this is a basic concept that you absolutely must understand when dieting.
Metabolism and Fat Loss
Your metabolism (or basal metabolic rate) is defined as the rate at which energy is used by an organism at complete rest. Put more simply this is just the amount of calories you would burn if you lay in bed all day and did absolutely nothing or the number of calories it takes for you just to stay alive. Now some people have a high metabolism meaning they burn calories at a high rate even at rest, whereas others have a low metabolism which means they are predisposed to storing fat very easily. So the goal of any diet plan would be to keep the metabolism high so you can therefore continue burn calories even at rest.
One way to do this is to avoid having the traditional 3 square meals a day and instead divide your food intake up into 6-7 meals spaced roughly 2-3 hours apart. By eating the same quantity of food but just changing the frequency you therefore allow your body more time to digest the food and what’s more you keep your metabolism functioning more efficiently and at a higher rate. Also another important point regarding your metabolism and the timing of your meals is that whilst you sleep your metabolism slows down; therefore it’s important to eat your bigger meals in the day (therefore providing the calories and fuel you need throughout your day) and your smaller meals towards the end of the day to ensure you don’t go to bed with any surplus calories (or carbohydrates) that might turn to fat whilst you sleep.
Insulin and Fat Loss
When dieting one hormone that you must pay particular attention to is insulin, this is because whilst insulin helps to transport nutrients to the muscles, it’s also the most lipolytic (fat storing) hormone in the body, shuttling fatty acids and glucose to fat cells to be stored as body fat. It’s essentially been shown to decrease the burning of fat (lipolysis) and increase the storing of fat (lipogenisis). So when wanting to lower your body fat you need to keep insulin to a minimum and one way of doing this is by avoiding anything high in sugars or any carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index, since insulin is released in response to rising blood sugar levels and rising blood sugar levels are caused by sugary or high glycaemic index carbohydrates.