The principle behind losing weight, and specifically body fat is a relatively simple one. Consume less calories than you burn and ensure the composition of your diet is adequate (lean protein, starches, veg and fruit) and you can not only be confident of losing some weight, but also see improvements in body composition also (more muscle, less fat).
Some of the ways people go about losing fat makes the process considerably harder than it actually has to be, The Atkins Diet, The Cambridge Diet and any other variation of a diet that restricts certain food groups just makes your life more difficult and restrictive than it has to be, as well as increasing the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
For a number of years now, even before the ultra-carbohydrate restrictive diets of The Atkins Diet, low-carb diets have been used to encourage weight loss, particularly fat loss due to glycogen depletion (stored glucose) that means fat is needed for energy…leading to fat loss.
A recent study in the Journal of The American Heart Association has found that a diet high in monounsaturated fats such as those from walnuts or olive oil has similar effects on weight loss as a low fat, higher carb diets, but is significantly better for your health than low fat, high carb alternative diets.
This adds credence to the understanding that ‘fat doesn’t make you fat’. This also implies that you don’t have to cut out fat in order to encourage fat loss…in fact, approx. 30-35% of your daily energy requirements should come from fat for optimal fat burning and muscle maintenance.
Walnuts may be the key…
OK, I understand there is more to healthy fat loss and health and wellbeing than a simple handful of walnuts. But considering that weight loss was similar between the 2 groups of approx. 7.5% of initial body weight, and yet triglycerides, bad cholesterol and total cholesterol all went down definitely says something for a handful of walnuts every day!
According to Nutraingredients, (2016), Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as bioactive constituents which are both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, a combination that is ideal for reducing the onset of cardiovascular disease and other heart related problems such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
Dr Rock, one of the researchers in the study states:
“Considering the results of the study, as well as all previous walnut research on heart health and weight, there’s something to be said for eating a handful of walnuts a day”.
So when managing your weight, don’t cut out fats! In fact, don’t cut out anything at all, there really is no need. Just establish a calorie intake that suits you, your body type and your physical activity levels, get a balance of lean meat, starchy carbs, fruit and vegetables…oh, and a handful of walnuts a day of course…and you will keep hunger in check, get your healthy fats in AND support heart health all at the same time. What’s not to like about the humble walnut!?
T, Le et al. (2016). Effects of diet composition and insulin resistance status on plasma lipid levels in a weight loss intervention on women. Journal of the American Heart Association. In Print, DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002771