The HealthStyle File: Weight Loss Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is breakfast so important if I’m trying to lose weight?

Breakfast skippers are more likely to have more body fat than their breakfast-eating counterparts. They will be more likely to gorge (not just overeat, but gorge) later in the day and will burn approximately 150 fewer calories each day. Do the math: One hundred fifty calories multiplied by 365 days a year is a body-fat gain of more than 15 pounds. In addition to carrying more body fat, breakfast skippers will be more likely to experience poor decision-making skills.

Your best breakfast needs to have three components: protein (at least 5–7 grams), fiber (at least 3 grams) and some fat. All three will keep you full, and the protein will help your brain focus. If you eat a fat-free breakfast, you are likely to be hungry within two hours.

TIP: Train yourself to be hungry in the morning. Most people aren’t hungry then because they’ve eaten too much the night before. Cut back on your dinner, and within a few weeks your morning hunger will return.


2. I thought fat-free was the way to lose weight – now I’m hearing about ‘good fats’ – What are these and how will they help to lose (or maintain) weight?


Your body needs a certain amount of ‘good fat’ on a daily basis. This is fat that is ‘essential’ meaning that your body needs to eat it to get it. When your body ingests good fat not only will it function more efficiently (your skin/hair won’t be as dry) but it also helps your body to lose weight. When your body receives essential fat in the diet, it will use existing fat (your fat storage areas) as a fuel source. In essence, if you get good fats throughout the day your body will begin to burn stored fat in the body as fuel.


Healthy or good fat can come from the following sources: olive oil, fatty fish (salmon, sardines or mackerel), walnuts, seeds, avocado and flaxseed.



3. How does fiber help lose or maintain weight?


Most Americans are chronically deficient in fiber. To have maximal health, we should be eating about 30 grams of fiber each day. Sadly most people in the U.S. are only eating about 50% of the recommended fiber. Ingesting more fiber can dramatically increase your weight loss. Here’s how it works: when you eat fiber, it fills you up, which is a great way to train your body to eat less at meals and have more control over your portions. Studies have shown that the more fiber that goes into your body, results in less fat on your body.  The added bonus of eating more fiber is a lower level of cholesterol in your blood. Fiber and cholesterol are arch enemies (think, Superman and kryptonite!). Ingested fiber binds with cholesterol which is then removed out of your body.


4. If I have to cut calories to lose weight how do I make sure I am getting the most nutrient dense calories?


When cutting back on calories to lose weight, make the calories you eat count!  Here’s a general rule to stick with: when it comes to fruits and veggies, the darker the better. So spinach packs a bigger nutritional punch than iceberg lettuce; blackberries are more of nutritional powerhouse than honeydew melon.


When it comes to grains, the higher the fiber content, the healthier. So brown rice has more nutritional power than white rice. Whole grain cereal is much better than sweetened white flour cereals.


5. I have diabetes and need to lose weight.  Are there good carbs that I can still eat?


Yes! A high-fiber diet can prevent a rapid rise in blood sugar, helping control or prevent diabetes. Your best carbs for weight loss and blood sugar control are complex carbohydrates. The definition of a complex carbohydrate is a whole grain food; which has had minimal processing and is typically higher in fiber than its ‘white and highly processed’ counterparts. For example: one serving of a non-wholegrain cereal might only have two grams of fiber, verses a serving of a whole grain cereal which has ten grams of fiber per serving. The higher the fiber content the slower the release of energy into the blood. Which helps to prevent diseases such as diabetes, but it also helps to manage the symptoms if you already have it.


Weight loss and exercise can delay the onset of diabetes in those most likely to develop it. Losing as little as 5 percent of your current body weight (or 10 pounds on average) can reduce your diabetes risk by 58 percent. Exercise also appears to make the cells more receptive to insulin, meaning the body is able to use insulin more efficiently.




6. Is it better to snack before or after I exercise? What is a good pre/post workout snack?


It’s best to eat a small carbohydrate rich snack (with a bit of protein and fat) about 20 minutes before your workout. Post workout, you want to have what most nutritionists call a ‘mixed meal.’ This is a combination of a carbohydrate, protein and fat. Your body works more efficiently if it gets a combination of all components (carbs-protein-fat) at every meal and snack. The carbohydrate is the ‘gas’ for your car, which helps your muscles to work for long periods of time; while the protein and fat keep the food in your system for longer periods of time. If you didn’t eat a protein and fat with your carbohydrate you would probably always feel a bit hungry.  

-High Fructose Corn Syrup


7. I’ve seen TV commercials that state that HFCS is just as natural as regular white sugar; is this true?


The average American consumes 66 pounds of it a year. It has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. The National Soft Drink Association loves it. It’s not sugar, it’s high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and it has nothing do with natural fructose from fruit.

In 1966, sucrose (table sugar) was the most popular sugar in use. Today, HFCS is the number one sweetener used in products ranging from sodas (13 teaspoons per 12-ounce can) to jams, jellies and even ketchup (one-third of it is HFCS). Food manufacturers love it because it’s very sweet and very cheap. Farmers love it because it comes from corn, providing a market for the common glut of corn crops. It’s almost impossible to find a processed food product without HFCS. Not only does it make food sweeter, it also extends the shelf life of many products and prevents freezer burn.


Have you ever heard the expression: “You can’t fool Mother Nature? HFCS is an example of just that. When your body consumes HFCS it doesn’t process it the same way as it does regular table sugar or naturally occurring sugars in fruit. When consuming “real” sugar, your body produces hormones that turn down appetite and fat storage, and you produce another hormone that turns off hunger pangs so you won’t overeat. When you consume HFCS, none of these hormones are produced, so in the long run you could gain weight because you never feel full when consuming HFCS.

1 Comment
  • vette is fast
    Posted at 22:24h, 27 July Reply

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