If you have had trouble losing weight in the past, the reason may reside in two nutritional factors: your food balance and your food choices. “Balance” involves the relative proportion of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your diet; and “choice” involves the type of food you eat. Scientists have only recently begun to unlock the highly complex processes by which our bodies burn fat, and one of the recently “solved mysteries” has to do with these two vital issues of nutrition.
Over the past several years, many popular diets have suggested that increasing or decreasing a single nutrient in your diet can dramatically affect your weight loss. Some diets have focused on carbohydrates, others on protein, still others on fat. Unfortunately though, highlighting one nutrient to the exclusion of others misses the boat. Weight loss through nutrition depends upon on a carefully designed balance of all of these nutrients and on the specific types of food in which those nutrients are found – which is exactly how the Parrillo Nutrition Program is put together. Why is this true? Both factors positively influence the action of your hormones – chemical messengers that regulate a world of functions in your body.
They also influence your metabolism, your body’s food-to-fuel processes. Thus, the interplay of food balance and food choices can greatly accentuate your ability to burn fat. It is this approach to weight loss that has the backing of medical science. A simplified explanation of these issues is provided below. The Role of Food Balance and Food Choice in Fat-BurningIf you desire to burn fat – and who doesn’t – then you require a carefully designed balance of certain types of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in your diet – with enough calories to keep your metabolism running in high gear. Remember on the Parrillo Nutrition Program, we do not advocate cutting calories. Doing so only slows down your metabolism. But back to nutrient balance, let’s start with protein. Protein As A Fat-Burner When provided in your diet at higher levels, protein can clearly be nicknamed a “fat burner” – for two important reasons. First, your body requires ample protein to develop and maintain muscle.
If you don’t get enough protein, your body can start breaking down muscle tissue for the provision of energy. Consequently, you’ll lose metabolically active muscle, and this will sabotage your fat-loss efforts. Second, protein boosts your metabolism, and it does this by stepping up the action of your thyroid gland. (One of the main duties of the thyroid is to regulate metabolism.) This benefit of a higher protein diet was observed in a study of dieters conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, released in 2001. In this study, 24 mid life women went on a liberal 1,700 calorie-a-day diet for 10 weeks. Half followed a diet based on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid – 55 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent pro-tein, and 30 percent fat. The other half followed a high-protein diet of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Both groups lost the same amount of weight – 16 pounds, but the composition of that weight differed greatly. The high-protein group shed 12.3 pounds of pure pudge and only 1.7 pounds of lean muscle, while the Food Pyramid dieters lost 10.4 pounds of fat and 3 pounds of muscle.
Translation: High protein means better, more fat loss. With a higher-protein diet, you don’t have to sacrifice muscle. Also important in this study: The researchers detected an increase in the thyroid function of the high-protein dieters, and this was the concrete evidence for protein’s metabolism-boosting effect. Do you realize the significance in all of this? With more protein in your diet, in the right balance, you can almost double your weight-loss and fat-burning efforts!Carbohydrate Differentiation: Carbohydrates also play a role in fat-burning, as long as you choose the right types of carbohydrates. This is where food choice becomes all-important to your weight-loss success. For a very long time, carbohydrates have been classified as either simple or complex. Simple sugars are found in candies, syrups, many fruits and fruit juices, and processed foods, and complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, beans, and vegetables. This classification is based on the molecular structure of the carbohydrate, with simple carbohydrates constructed of either single or double molecules of sugar, and complex carbohydrates made of multiple numbers of sugar molecules. Simple sugars send your blood sugar soaring, and this sets off a hormonal reaction that can lead to weight gain.
Here is a closer look at exactly what happens: After you eat carbohydrate foods, your body breaks them down into glucose. Simple sugars are dismantled more quickly than others, and this causes a huge spike in your blood glucose. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, and consequently, blood glucose stays relatively even during the digestion process. When glucose shoots upward in response to simple sugars, so does the hormone insulin. The problem with an overload of insulin in your system is that it activates fat cell enzymes. These enzymes move fat from the bloodstream into fat cells for storage and trigger your body to create more fat cells. Simple sugars thus create conditions in your body that are con-ducive to gaining fat.What all of this tells us is very simple: Simple sugars promote fat storage; complex carbs like those recommended on the Parrillo Nutrition Program do not. Choosing complex carbohydrates makes it possible to lose weight more easily. If you base your carbohydrate selections on this nutritional element, you will lose weight more quickly. The Parrillo Nutrition Program is based on the selection of complex carbohydrates.
These include certain whole grain cereals, brown rice, beans, legumes, potatoes, yams, and vegetables.The Fat Factor: For decades, we were taught that in order to lose weight, we had to slash the amount of dietary fat in our diets. Since the 1980s, Americans did reduce their fat consumption, but at the same time, they got fatter. More than 60 percent of our population is now considered overweight or obese. Cutting the fat from our diets was clearly not the “magic answer” to weight loss. Scientists studying this alarming trend probed the reasons. What could explain this confusing phenomenon? After much research, they discovered that people had been replacing the fat in their diets with too many simple sugars. This was the impetus – the main common denominator – behind the expanding waistlines of the American public, along with the fact that Americans are becoming increasingly inactive.
So from a nutritional standpoint, simple sugars are among the prime culprits in weight gain, and dietary fat shoulders far less of the blame. Taking all of this important information into account, the Parrillo Nutrition Program supplies roughly 10-20% percent of your daily calories from fat, with special emphasis on the essential fatty acids we recommend you have each day. A Final Point: The foods allowed on the Parrillo Nutrition Program provide what has been scientifically proven to be an effective combination of specific types of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. This combination of easily available and delicious foods, in the right proportions, stimulates increased body fat metabolism, while supplying nutrients required to support your health. The food you will eat will be more satisfying and nutritionally rewarding, plus will provide the metabolic and hormonal catalyst you need to shed surplus fat.