Well, it’s not really all that miraculous, just simple biochemistry and healthy eating!
If you eat pure protein it takes more energy to digest the protein than is in the protein itself.
However, we don’t eat pure protein very often. High protein foods like meat, fish, chicken and nuts usually come mixed with fat. Of course you can trim off a lot of the fat with the meat, fish and chicken but not the nuts.
Robert Atkins popularised the protein and fat way of eating having discovered that if all you ate was protein and fat (meat, fish, chicken and nuts) you lost weight. This observation flew in the face of dietary advice from heart charities around the world that said if you eat more fat you’ll become fatter.
In fact what fattens them up is eating bread smeared with fat and sugar.
What Atkins wasn’t necessarily saying was to go out of your way to eat huge amounts of fat, just the fat that came with lean meat, fish and chicken and nuts.
There is no doubt that if you eat the way Atkins recommended you’ll lose weight quickly, just don’t do it for too long without introducing vegetables and fruit.
There are some vegetables what have a higher protein level than others, like beans, but they come wrapped up in carbohydrate. The good think about the carbohydrate in beans is that the energy density is quite low.
A lot of people know that the easy way to lose weight is to eat meat, fish and chicken with high water content, low energy density vegetables. All you need to exclude is the more energy dense vegetables like potato, pumpkin, peas and corn.
I’ve seen people live on this diet for a couple of months and watched a dramatic turn around in body composition. The fat just dripped off them.
Actually there’s no rocket or medical science involved here, it just plain healthy eating – meat, fish, chicken and vegetables.
The other way to go is a raw food diet. If you ate nothing but raw food for a month you’d come out the other end looking like a grey hound and in radiant health.
They say that people with any of the heroic, self-generated metabolic dysfunctions – like high blood pressure and diabetes – who stick with a raw food diet for a month end up without high blood pressure or diabetes. Imagine, food being touted in surgeries as the miracle cure!
It’s one of the great tragedies of modern medicine that food is rarely prescribed as a panacea and if it is, the adherence rate isn’t great.
Once you start to fill your diet up with the ‘garbohydrates’, flour (a high energy density carbohydrate), sugar (an even higher density carbohydrate) and then mix the flour and sugar with fat, the chances of getting fatter increase exponentially.
Having said all that, there are a number of other foods that contribute to weight loss more and others.
Beans are a good weight-loss food.
They contain a healthy mix of protein and carbohydrates. Beans are challenging to digest, so it takes your body longer to process them. This is a good thing, because it keeps your blood sugar stable and helps you stay full longer.
But the real magic of beans lies in their fiber content. Fiber is like a workout for your digestive system. It keeps things running smoothly, and prevents your blood glucose from spiking too high. Plain beans are the best choice. Sugary baked beans or fatty refried beans can sabotage your weight loss efforts by supplying too many calories and simple carbs.
Calcium is a proven fat metaboliser.
In one study, two groups of people were given the same diet, except that one group received extra calcium each day.
The extra calcium group lost almost three times as much weight as the other group.
You can get calcium from vegetables like broccoli. You can also get it from low fat milk, but why would you go out of your way to drink milk after you’ve been weaned?
Green tea has been touted as a dieter’s miracle product for years. It contains powerful antioxidants that reduce the number of free radicals in your body. Its modest caffeine content is enough to perk up your heart rate and metabolism without putting undue stress on your body. It is also a mild diuretic, which can be helpful for getting rid of retained fluid.
Green tea has also been studied as a fat-burner, and the results have been encouraging. People who drink 4 or so cups of green tea a day enjoy faster weight loss than those who don’t.
Water’s gone out of fashion. Where I come from if you said to your mum, ‘Mum, I’m thirsty’, likely as not the reply would be, ‘Well go and have a drink of water.’ I don’t think there were any bubblers or water fountains at the schools I went to, just rain water taps. If you were thirsty you turned the tap on, cupped one or both hands and started drinking. Now kids only want to drink soda pops and sports drinks.
In an affluent culture there is always the temptation to rehydrate the body by drinking coffee (with two!), cool drinks, fruit juice or flavoured milk. The body just can’t cope with the amount of sugar being poured into it. Nor can it cope with artificial sweeteners. Have you noticed that only fat people drink diet sodas?
So, by default, water is the best fluid for weight loss. By diluting the amount of sodium in the body it helps to eliminate retained fluid.
Water improves kidney function. The kidneys need plenty of hydration to help eliminate toxic products from our bodies, those that we make ourselves and those which come from our food and our environment. When deprived of water, the liver is called on to some of the kidneys’ functions.
By drinking plenty of water you’ll allow the liver to get on with the jobs it’s mean to do, one of which is metabolizing fat.
Surprisingly people often reach for something to eat when in fact they’re thirsty. And when the something you eat is made out of fat and sugar, you can put into your body 15% of your daily energy intake in one confectionery bar.
In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you want to improve your health and get back closer to your ideal weight, eat from the top of the Hourglass.