Nutrition 101 & Your Weight Loss Success
NUTRITION 101 & Your Weight Loss Success
At IHC of Charlottesville, we believe knowledge is power. The more you educate yourself about nutrition the better equipped you’ll be to lose weight, hit your goal weight and sustain the weight loss more easily. In this article we go over the basics of nutrition & hope you learn something by taking just a few minutes of your day to increase your chances of succeeding in your weight loss journey.
Nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet, health, and dis-ease. You have at your disposal at IHC, ½ dozen professionals with nearly 100 years combined experience and 1000’s of hours of study on this subject. Please take advantage of our services by emailing in questions and getting on our weekly calls.
At IHC we use ideas from molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and genetics to understand how nutrients affect the human body. IHC’s weight loss program focuses on making the best dietary choices to improve a person’s health & well-being. By using proper nutrition as a platform for health, losing weight becomes a biproduct of a healthy body.
Nutrients provide nourishment & energy. Proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water are all nutrients. If people do not have the right balance of nutrients in their diet, their health will suffer as a result which increases their risk of developing certain health conditions, one of which is obesity. Maintaining the right BALANCE of nutrients equals health which equates to you reaching your ideal, resting weight.
Macronutrients are nutrients that people need in relatively large quantities.
Sugar, starch, and fiber are types of carbohydrates. Carbs get a bad rap, but not all carbs are created equally. So many times we hear our patients at IHC say things like, “I need to cut out my carbs” or “I cut out carbs but I didn’t lose any weight”. The fact is you need carbs, at least some types.
Sugars are simple carbohydrates. The body quickly breaks down and absorbs sugars and processed starch. They can provide rapid energy, but they do not leave a person feeling full. They can also cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Sugar spikes increase fat storage = increased weight. Therefore we eliminate them during the weight loss part of your program. There are many foods that are healthy and good for you BUT they are not so good for weight loss. These include starchy foods like potatoes, peas and carrots. These foods break down faster as mentioned above because they contain more ’’sugar’’ than fiber.
Fiber is also a carbohydrate (bet you didn’t know that). The body breaks down some types of fiber and uses them for energy; others are metabolized by gut bacteria, while other types pass through the body.
Fiber and unprocessed starch are complex carbohydrates. It takes the body some time to break down and absorb complex carbs. After eating fiber, a person will feel full for longer. Fiber may also reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer. Complex carbs are a more healthful choice than sugars and refined carbs.
Fiber is mostly in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. There are two types of fiber — soluble and insoluble — and both play important roles in health:
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to the stool, preventing constipation. This is the best source of fiber to help with constipation. Good sources of insoluble fiber include berries – strawberries, raspberries, cauliflower, green beans
Soluble fiber absorbs water, forming a gel-like substance in the digestive system. Soluble fiber may help lower cholesterol levels and help regulate blood sugar levels. When you take a fiber supplement such as Metamucil or similar product, they contain Psyllium Fiber, a plant-based fiber. Remember this product absorbs water which will show up as gained weight on your scale.
In our manual next to each on plan fruit and vegetable we list the number of grams of fiber per serving. We advise eating a variety of these fruits and vegetables to get a variety of soluble and insoluble fiber.
We recommend you get between 25 & 30 grams of fiber per day for
Proteins consist of amino acids, which are organic compounds that occur naturally.
There are 20 amino acids. Some of these are essential, our bodies do not create them & we need to obtain them from food. The body can make the others.
Some foods provide complete protein, which means they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs. Other foods contain various combinations of amino acids.
Most plant-based foods do not contain complete protein, so a person who follows a vegan diet needs to eat a range of foods throughout the day that provides the essential amino acids.
Fats are another group of nutrients that have gotten a bad rap due to marketing and mis information. Not all fats are created equally – just like carbs, some are good for you and others are not so good, in fact, they can be dangerous if consumed.
Fats are essential for:
- lubricating joints
- helping organs produce hormones.
- enabling the body to absorb certain vitamins.
- reducing inflammation
- preserving brain health
The type of fat a person eats makes a big difference. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado oil, & coconut oil, are much more healthful than saturated fats, which tend to come from animals.
The fats you must avoid if possible are called Trans fats which are manufactured. They are the product of a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils. Sources of this unhealthy fat include:
- fried foods, such as french fries
- doughnuts, pies, pastries, biscuits, and other baked goods
- pizza dough, cookies, and crackers
- stick margarines and shortenings
- packaged foods
- fast foods
Trans fats are not essential, and they have damaging health effects.
The adult human body is up to 60% water, and it needs water for many processes.
Many people recommend consuming ½ their body weight in ounces of water a day, but no more than 120. You do get water from dietary sources, such as fruit and vegetables. You know you are getting adequate hydration your urine is pale yellow. You may need more water if you work outside in the summer heat, or you are very active.
We do recommend that you not drink tap water as it is usually very acidic. Some well water we have tested is a nice alkaline level. Our office water service is available to people currently on our program which we filter and test daily to ensure its pH levels are between 8.1 & 8.8.
Micronutrients are essential in small amounts. They include vitamins and minerals. The best micronutrients are from fresh fruits and vegetables. They are the most bio-available meaning your body recognizes them and can easily digest & use them efficiently. Sometimes supplements are necessary to get more micronutrients. At IHC we provide supplements on our program in the form of liquid drops and creams to improve a persons health, metabolism and cellular health so that the body can start burning fat as soon as possible. Eventually you no longer need the supplements once you have consistently fed your body with whole foods.
The body needs carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. It also needs dietary minerals, such as iron, potassium, and so on. In most cases, a varied and balanced diet will provide the minerals a person needs. But a poor (S.A.D. diet = Standard American Diet) leads to poor gut health which leads to poor absorption of nutrients. Another reason we provide supplementation at the beginning of our weight loss program, most people are ’starving’ and they don’t even no it! A lot of these Minerals are provided in the Pure Vitality Shake mix.
Potassium, Sodium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium & Zinc are just a few of the minerals our body needs to function well. I promise you that you will not find good sources of any of these in foods that are processed (in a box). Read my last article to learn more about how processed foods are not good for us much less for weight loss. A diet rich in a variety of fruits & vegetables is the absolute best way to get these minerals.
People need small amounts of various vitamins. Some of these, such as vitamin C, are also antioxidants. This means they help protect cells from damage by removing toxic molecules, known as free radicals, from the body.
Vitamins can be:
Water-soluble: The eight B vitamins and vitamin C
Fat-soluble: Vitamins A, D, E, and K
Water soluble vitamins
People need to consume water-soluble vitamins regularly because the body removes them more quickly, and it cannot store them easily.
The body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins through the intestines with the help of fats (lipids). The body can store them and does not remove them quickly. So, if you are one of those people who follow a low-fat diet you probably limited your ability to absorb enough of these vitamins!
You can get multivitamins in just about any store or online I saw them in a department store just recently, next to the exercises clothing section! Before you buy something like this feel free to check with us before doing so and we can advise whether they are a good product.
Some nutrients also act as antioxidants. These may be vitamins, minerals, proteins, or other types of molecules. They help the body remove toxic substances known as free radicals, or reactive oxygen species. If too many of these substances remain in the body, cell damage and disease can result.
Our Dietitians at IHC
Our registered dietitian (RD) has multiple studies in food, nutrition, and dietetics. To become a registered dietitian, in VA and work at IHC as an RD, they must attend an accredited university, follow an approved curriculum, complete a rigorous internship, pass a licensure exam, and complete 75 or more continuing education hours every 5 years. And the RDs at IHC have been specifically trained on this program to help you lose weight as quickly BUT as healthfully as possible.
We understand the importance of nutrition not just in weight loss but health. We want people to understand they need to consume a varied diet to obtain a wide range of nutrients. In the IHC weight loss program it is necessary to focus on certain foods and avoid others to shift your chemistry from a sugar (simple carbohydrate) burner to a fat burner. In order to do this, it is vital to your health & your results to follow the plan laid out for you carefully to ensure you obtain all the necessary vitamins to improve & maintain your health.