Coach GP
Amina Aliyu

Does eating more food help you lose weight? The answer is shocking!

When you think of losing weight, your first thought isn’t to eat more, right? Right.

One’s logic would usually step in here and say that eating more would lead to weight gain and not weight loss. But, eating more can actually help you lose weight if you eat more of the right foods!

There have been quite a few studies conducted over the last 30 years that have proven that adding foods such as fruits and vegetables to your diet (without eliminating any of your other food - although eliminating sugars would be smart, too) actually help you lose weight.

Researchers have found that there is a secret element in certain foods, like fruits and vegetables, that make them more likely to help you lose weight even if they’re in addition to your “regular” diet. A weight reducing secret element of these food groups is called “low energy density”.

This is a relatively newer term on the health scene today, but researchers have been studying low energy density foods for a few years, and what they have found is quite interesting.

If you’re like the rest of the world not surrounded by research and science all day long, you might be asking yourself what in the world low energy density even means. Great question, and In Shaa Allah, I have the answer for you.

Energy density is a more succinct way to say calories per unit weight. So let’s say you have a food like bacon or meat. Bacon is considered to be a high energy density food because it is high in calories but is a small package - this would not be a healthy choice to add more of to your diet, amongst other reasons of course.

However, if you had fruits and vegetables added to your diet, you would be adding lower energy density foods to your diet which is what you want - they have fewer calories with larger quantities.

In essence, you want to find a low energy dense food in order to help you lose weight if you’re adding it to your diet. Ideally, one would eat more fruits and vegetables as replacements for sugar or cholesterol, but should you find yourself unable to tear away from those high-sugar foods, adding low energy dense foods can help you lose some of the weight the higher sugar foods are adding.

But be careful! There are 2 exceptions to this low energy dense food scenario - soda and nuts. They both are quite opposite of each other, but they could potentially cause issues for someone who doesn’t know how to tell the difference with these two special cases.

Soda is a low energy dense “food” that appears healthier than it really is - you have to take into account the high levels of sugar, calories, etc… as well as the weight to calorie ratio.

On the flip side, nuts are high energy dense food that appears to be less healthy than it really is. Because nuts are generally smaller in size, they may not appear to show the ratio that one is looking for in terms of low energy dense foods. Don’t be fooled - nuts are healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day!

When you decide to add fruits and vegetables to your current diet, you are adding a food that has less calories per pound which reduces the caloric intake (thus enabling  weight loss to take place despite the addition of food).  

So, find a food that is low in energy density and you will find an addition to your diet that is sure to help you lose weight (although it might not be as much as you were hoping for, but any little amount is great)! So reduce your sugar, reduce your calories, and up your low energy dense foods to help you achieve your healthy weight goals.

Amina Aliyu

Vegetarians and Nutrients: Do they go hand-in-hand?

The inevitable thoughts are creeping in - the holidays are right around the corner, and weight loss will become top of mind before you know it. And while that seems to be the natural response for most of us, we tend to find it difficult to find a diet that actually works for us long-term.

But skipping past the post-holiday diets that will soon fizzle out we find ourselves at the resolution diets that some people take on after the new year rolls around. They decide they want to be healthier, eat cleaner, cut out unnecessary products in their diets so as to eliminate the toxins that enter their body through food on a daily basis.

One such diet that seems to come up quite frequently as a more long-term solution is vegetarianism. Vegetarians are known for eating only plant-based diets with no dairy, meat, or animal products whatsoever. However, some vegetarians do continue eating dairy and eggs (sometimes personal preferences and sometimes for protein upkeep). 

However, there are some skeptics out there that question whether or not vegetarians actually receive the appropriate amount of nutrients needed for a healthy diet on a daily basis if they only consume plant-based foods and no meat.

One study was conducted that actually showed the results of this highly sought after question.

After reviewing the nutrient levels of about 13,000 participants, the study proved that vegetarians were actually getting higher intake levels of nutrients than non-vegetarians. This seems almost impossible, right? But in actuality, it is completely plausible. 

What the study found was that the nutrients were absorbed easier by the body of a vegetarian because they were eating less of the harmful chemicals in processed foods and meat. Vegetarians were also found to get more fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E than their non-vegetarian counterparts. Therefore, the nutrient debate has been solved - vegetarians actually received more nutrients than non-vegetarians.

But choosing a vegetarian lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean that you will lose weight (contrary to popular belief). Nutrient-based diets used for weight loss are not feasible. While vegetarians do consume 363 fewer calories than non-vegetarians, according to the study, there were still subjects in the study who were overweight, even on a vegetarian diet.

Losing weight is absolutely feasible with a vegetarian diet for multiple reasons: fewer calories, more nutrients, and a higher metabolic resting rate. But weight loss goes deeper than just diets. One must also take care of their physical health and exercise to increase their chances at losing weight and maintaining the weight loss achieved.

Doctors and dieticians do agree that a vegetarian lifestyle is easier to maintain long term. When a person embarks on the vegetarian diet lifestyle, they realize how much better they feel after living without meat and animal products altogether! They also don’t have to count calories or watch their portion sizes. This is a win-win for everyone involved, which makes this diet much easier to maintain for the long term.

So if you’ve been wondering whether or not a vegetarian diet would leave you with a lack of nutrients, your answer has been found - no! You absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need while losing weight at a healthy rate by living a vegetarian lifestyle. Eat all of the leafy greens you want - you will be just fine!