When talking about weight loss, and specifically fat loss, you generally need a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
If for example, you were to determine that you need 2000 calories a day, a certain percent of those calories should be from carbs, a certain percent from protein and some from good fats too.
But what is the right balance and the health benefits of each?
There is no one single answer, because everyone is different, and everyone’s goals are different. To be honest, any healthy eating plan, which encourages you to watch what you eat and focus on fresh, natural foods is always going to be better than what most of the general population eat anyway. But I thought it would be a good idea to cover off what I think has worked best for optimal weight loss anyway.
I am starting with fats because I want to make this clear. FATS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT. I repeat, you can have a decent amount of fats in your body and not gain any fat.
It is eating too many calories, or eating unnatural processed foods that make you fat.
Eating things like nuts, avocado, coconut, olive oil, seeds – none of those will make you fat. In fact they are all highly recommended for fat loss because although they are more dense with calories, they are much more filling, they are unprocessed and completely natural with no chemicals or additives.
Especially if you do regular exercise, protein should a staple part of your diet to help aid muscle recovery, fitness improvements and aid fat loss. Remember, you don’t want to get skinny with loose skin hanging off of you, you want to get lean. For that, a healthy dosage of protein is needed.
The number 1 source of protein is usually animal derived – whether meat, poultry or dairy. Obviously vegan no-nos. But there is no shortage of choices for vegan protein. Tofu, tempeh, hemp, seeds, nuts, quinoa, chia, soy and edamame, beans. All vegan, and all high on protein.
Seitan, although high in protein content, is pure gluten and best avoided.
No, that doesn’t mean having lots of bread and rice and pasta. There are plenty of sources of healthy, complex, slow releasing carbs that are better for you and your waistline.
Sweet potato is extremely popular, versatile and much healthier than normal potatoes. Wild rice, quinoa, beans are all great sources. Vegetables of course go without saying. Low in calories and very versatile, and crucial to your health.
Going low on sugar (even natural sugars) for weight loss is usually recommended, so keep fruit low, except around any exercise you do. Fruit, although abundant in vitamins and minerals is high in sugar. So keep fruit low if you can.
Putting it all together
The key word is still ‘balance’. You need calories from all of these sources, ideally some with every meal.
So imagine a round plate. 30% of your plate should be covered by your protein source. 25% from your source of carbohydrates, 15% from your source of fats and the last 30% should be all vegetables. This keeps your macros balanced, gives you plenty of vitamins and minerals and will help the weight drop off.
What do you think? What sort of macro breakdown do you follow for weight loss? Leave us a comment below.
Photo by Steven De Polo