Overweight and obesity have long been included as health diagnoses. They remain risk factors for a variety of health problems like hypertension, stroke, diabetes, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and many more. Problems of being underweight have yet to be solved yet cases of overweight and obesity are fastly increasing. In fact, it is labeled a “growing epidemic.” The overriding concern on these preventable problems keep us discussing in length that more may be cautioned or enlightened.
In terms of diet, the recommended way to lose weight is reduction in kilocalorie (kcal) intake by 500 to 1000 kcal per day. If 500 kcal reduction is consistent for 7 days, almost half kilo (454g) is expected. The maximum weight loss should be around 1 kilo (2 pounds) for a consistent calorie reduction of 1000 kcal per day.
Weight is the net effect of calorie intake (from most of what we eat) and expenditure (what the body uses). It can be likened to net income which is the result of gross income minus expenses. If calorie intake exceeds what is expended or used by the body, there will be extra calories left and will be deposited in the liver and as body fat. An accumulated 3500 excess calories will manifest as almost half a kilo (1 pound or 454g) weight gain so if you have 10 kg excess weight, that is about 70,000 excess calories. On the other hand, if the body uses more kcal for some time than what is eaten, there will be a calorie deficit. When food eaten does not provide enough of what is needed for a day, the body will source out from deposits in the body, from the liver first.
So, how to lose weight through diet? Create a calorie deficit for quite some time depending on how much excess weight you have. Let your body use your deposits by eating less. Start by knowing which foods are high in calories. Foods are compared on a per serving basis. One serving of different food groups provides the following calories assuming no problems in digestion, absorption and metabolism: rice (1/2 cup packed) and rice alternatives (e.g. 2 slices regular size loaf) = 100 kcal; fruit= 40 kcal, vegetable = 16 kcal; fat/oil = 4 kcal; whole milk = 170 kcal; calories from meat, chicken, poultry, nuts depends on whether it is low fat like lean meat and most fishes (41 kcal), medium fat like porkchop, chicken egg, tokwa (86 kcal) or high fat like balut (122 kcal). With this, the challenge now will be knowing how big a serving is and which food groups to give up from or be replaced in your usual diet. Your food intake and other factors need to be assessed before meal planning by a Nutritionist-Dietitian.