Never omit complex carbohydrates from your diet.
Eat at least 300 grams of unrefined carbohydrates every day. (Complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and fresh fruits, are essential for any diet.) Never decrease the amount of complex carbohydrates during a low calorie diet too much. Note that refined white sugar is not a complex carbohydrate but an example of refined carbohydrates; avoid unnecessary calories from refined carbohydrates.
Never omit protein from your diet.
Eat between 25 and 40 percent of your calories from protein. (Daily protein requirement changes with body weight.) If on a low-calorie, weight-loss diet, leave out fat but never protein. Never decrease the daily amount of protein during a low-calorie-diet. Lean (totally trimmed of visible white fat) meat is the best example of protein source.
Eat very low-fat.
The recommended intake for fat is 5 to 15 percent of a day’s calories. In a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that means about 5 to 15 grams.
“There are dietary requirements for two of these: linolenic acid, an omega-6, and alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3, which are found in grass-fed beef, fish, nuts, and oils. However, fat intake should never be higher than 10 percent during a low-calorie diet,” say Professors Cook, Kahn, and McMinn. When on a low calorie diet, the amount of fat intake can be reduced even more, down to 2 percent. Decreasing the fat calories will allow eating enough protein and more complex carbohydrates.
Do not try to lose weight in a short time. Do not decrease total calories per day too much.
Do not lose more than 1 pound a week. (The exact amount varies with body weight.)
“Avoid any diet that calls for less than 800 to 1300 calories per day (the exact calorie value needs to be calculated for each individual with close monitoring depending on various factors such as weight),” says Professor Dr. Vildan N. Civelek, a Boston-Seattle-based medical doctor.
Never go on one-food-only diets (soups, shakes, etc.).
Add to your diet: a balanced intake of every food group. Whether it’s a shake for breakfast and lunch, or a boatload of grapefruits, these diets leave us consuming far below (for most food groups) or above (for whatever it is we are eating) what’s recommended by health authorities, like the American Heart and Dietetic Associations.
“Any diet suggesting only one kind of food or food group is not a realistic way to maintain a healthy weight,” says Professor J. McMinn of Seattle. Diets like the grapefruit or cabbage soup plans rely on eating the same item day in and day out. “Of course you’re going to lose weight by depriving your body of what it needs, but you’re also going to slow your metabolism and possibly cause some serious health problems,” she says. Make sure you’re consuming a variety of foods from every group. All these diets lack major nutrients, whether it’s fiber, protein, and carbohydrates or particular minerals, vitamins, and disease-fighting antioxidants.
“Being healthy is an important and worthy goal,” says Professor D. Cook. “And there’s no secret to achieving that. All you have to do is strive for balance and moderation.” Here’s to enjoying food and feeling better.