What’s the Best Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss?

Best Diet For Long-Term Weight Loss

Everybody wants to lose weight, but not very many people actually know how to do it. In fact, an estimated 45 million Americans go on diets every year and spend 33 billion dollars on weight loss products. Yet, nearly 66% of Americans are overweight or obese.

Clearly, something isn’t working. Part of the reason for this is the preponderance of misinformation out there regarding diets and weight loss.

Log onto any weight loss or fitness message board, and you’ll find 100 people with 100 different ideas on the topic.

The mainstream media isn’t much better either, as they routinely publish advice that contradicts previous recommendations or update them to stay current with dieting trends.

But some facts about food, our bodies, and dieting, stay consistent throughout this constant chatter.

These consistencies are key to creating the best diet for long-term weight loss.

The Best Diet For Long-Term Weight Loss

This may sound negative, but there is no best diet for long-term weight loss. But only in the sense that, when we’re considering losing weight and keeping it off long-term, we shouldn’t be thinking about diets at all.

At least, we shouldn’t think about diets in the way that they are popularly conceived. The best diet is the one you can stick to, and many diets are built unsustainably.

A no-carb or ketogenic diet, like the Atkin’s Diet, can be fantastic for weight loss, but maintaining it over a long period requires a severe lifestyle change. Can you commit to never eating bread,

other flour-based products, and even most fruits and vegetables again? Some can. Most can’t.

To really form the best diet for long-term weight loss, you need to understand just one basic principle of biological thermodynamics.

Calories In, Calories Out

“Calories In, Calories Out,” or CICO for short, is a popular buzzword in the fitness world. It’s a simplified way of expressing an already simple basic weight loss principle: If you eat fewer calories (calories in) than your body burns (calories out), you will lose weight.

Our bodies need energy to function. We get this energy in the form of calories, found in our food. Our bodies burn off those calories on the most basic of human functions – sleeping, breathing, running our organs, etc. – as well as exercise or any additional exertion.

Let’s say you eat 2,600 calories over the course of a day, and your body expends 2,000 calories worth of energy. That remaining 600 calorie surplus gets stored in your body as fat. If you flip the equation, your body will take that 600 calorie deficit, and burn the fat on your body for fuel.

No matter what diet you are on, this is ultimately how weight loss is achieved. You could eat Twinkies all day like this guy and still lose weight, as long as you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

Other Considerations

Theoretically, though the math isn’t exact, 3,500 calories equal to one pound of body weight. If you consume that much in surplus, you will gain a pound. If you burn that much in excess, you will lose a pound.

But of course, calories are not the end-all-be-all of a good diet. If you want to lose weight, and look and feel good while doing it, you need to consider your nutrition.

Watch Your Macronutrients

“A calorie is a calorie” is a common saying that pairs well with the CICO method of looking a dieting.

While this may be true when it comes to fat loss – though there is some doubt on this front – a person that exercises and eats only twinkies is going to look at lot different than a person who eats a well-rounded diet.

When thinking about the nutritional value of your diet, you should key in on the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Here’s what you should consider when factoring all three into your diet.

  1. Protein

If your goal when dieting is to lose fat and build muscle, protein is your best friend. Protein is essential for muscles growth, as it contains branch-chain amino acids that form your muscle tissues.

Think of calories as the workers that aid in the production of muscle growth and proteins are the actual building blocks.

For optimum muscle growth, especially when eating at a caloric deficit, you should consume about .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body mass.

This is way more protein than you’re probably used to, but there are plenty of weight loss protein bars for sale that can help you reach your target.

  1. Fat

Having a lot of fat in your diet is poo-pooed in a lot of circles, but it’s essential – as long as you’re getting it from good natural sources like avocados or olive oil.

Studies have shown, though, that monosaturated fats can improve your cholesterol and reduce your chances of heart disease. They also might help regulate your blood sugar levels, which helps you avoid those mid-day crashes at work.

  1. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates – pasta, bread, potatoes – are a weak point in many people’s diets. It’s very easy to over-indulge in because our modern food environment is chock-full of empty carbohydrates like french fries and potato chips that are full of sugar and bad fats.

This is why many are inclined to cut them out entirely, resisting temptation altogether.

This would be a mistake. Carbohydrates are essential in your diet because they’re your body’s main, preferred source of fuel. Not having them could make you feel sluggish and sick.

Things To Focus On

Overall, what you need to always keep in mind is your caloric intake and your ratio of macronutrients. Tweak each depending on your goals to form the best diet for long-term weight loss for you.

If you’re looking to put on muscle and lose weight you need to eat at a caloric deficit and push your protein intake up. If you’re simply looking to lose weight, you can drop your protein intake down and replaces those calories with carbs or fats.

If you need any more health tips and tricks, check out the health section of our website.

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