To lose weight, learn strategy from the experts
For people who want to lose weight, it is wise to learn healthy strategies from nutritionists.
Fan Zhihong, a renowned researcher in nutrition and food safety at China Agricultural University, said the general principle for losing weight is to exercise and to eat a healthy, nutritious diet.
The diet should feature foods with high nutrient density, high satiety index (a ranking of foods’ ability to satisfy hunger), low energy density (low in refined starch, sugar and fat), and low glycemic response (a food’s effect on blood sugar), with enough intake of protein, vitamins and minerals, she said.
For people who need to lose 5 to 20 kilograms, it is important to lose weight slowly, ideally 1 to 2 kilograms per month, Fan said.
Slow weight loss can minimize the psychological stress and nutrient deficiency commonly incurred by weight loss practices, and thus people can keep their shiny skin, healthy hair and physical strength, she added.
During the process of “slow weight loss”, people gradually set up a new lifestyle that includes healthy eating habits and regular physical training, Fan said.
However, she said that people should not starve themselves to lose weight.
Weight loss may be rather remarkable under such a strategy, but without good muscle lines, the body shape would be loose and bony, she said. In addition, starvation and severe energy-cut diets are more likely to lead to breakdown of muscles rather than the efficient burning of fat, Fan said.
Lowcalorie, low carbohydrate and low protein diets inevitably lower the metabolic rate, which is the major reason for weight rebound after traditional weight loss programs, she added.
Fan emphasized that every meal is important in weight management. A rich breakfast ensures a high metabolic rate in the morning and helps control the appetite throughout the day.
Skipping of meals or too much food restriction may incur carbohydrate craving, binge eating and even eating disorders, she said.
For those who want to skip dinner, a combination of vegetables, fruits and yogurt is a good alternative, and if people feel hungry in the evening, they should have milk or soy milk, Fan advised.
However, for those who work overtime, skipping dinner is not wise, as this may cause hunger later and could lead to late-night overeating, she said.
For exercise, Fan suggested a moderate aerobic workout three to five times a week to burn calories, as well as high-intensity, intermittent exercises twice a week to raise the metabolic rate and cardiovascular capacity, based on each person’s physical ability. However, after intense exercise, it is necessary to eat protein-rich food to facilitate muscle building, Fan said.