Nutritional and Dietary Information for Obesity Patients
Every so often you hear of a new fad diet craze that sweeps the tv screens or an advertisement on the radio boasting rapid weight loss in a matter of days. It can be hard to sort through all the new phasing trends and ‘proven’ weight loss diets quickly becoming a challenge sifting through all the bold claims and misinformation. Fad diets often promise large weight loss in a very quick amount of time by avoiding various food groups completely or just by cutting everything all together, although some may work in the first few weeks they are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off for good. These diets often become hard to follow and you may find they quickly become tiresome and find yourself regaining the weight you once lost. Most often these fad diets are not a healthy alternative as they can quite often restrict some of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for long term sustenance.
Fad Diets include:
- Alkaline Diets – This diet boasts lowered chance of developing various diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer by reducing acidic food intake and lowering pH levels (a measure of acidity) in the blood. Sadly the main substance behind this diet is flawed, the idea that foods digested can influence the bloods pH levels is proven false . Although the foods we eat can influence the urines acidic levels it does very little to the pH of the blood. The Alkaline diet can be helpful for the body as it consists of a large amount of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, but these should be the basis of any healthy diet regardless of acidity.
- Blood-Type Diets – The blood type diet claims that depending on your blood type, foods will chemically react differently to your body thus the diet provides a rather varying diet for each blood type. For example, blood type O are prescribed large amounts of lean meats and are to avoid gluten, lentils corn and cabbage while type A blood types are set a vegetarian diet consisting of everything fresh and organic as well as health benefits to exercise such yoga and tai chi based purely on blood type. The diet had been debunked  and found no evidence or association of these diets with the diet being nothing to do with blood type but everything to do with eating and sticking to a sensible diet.
- Grapefruit Diets – The grapefruit diet focuses the meal plan around a restrictive diet that involves eating or drinking grapefruit/grapefruit juice before each meal claiming 10 pounds of weight loss in 10 days. In reality yes, grapefruit has been found to increase weight loss and insulin resistance , it isn’t enough to make the claims this diet makes become valid. Yes you may lose 10 pounds in 10 days but this isn’t due to the grapefruit but to the dietary calorie restriction leaving you to around 800 to 1000 calories per day, where these degree of results are to be expected with any low-calorie diet.
- Shake Diets – The shake meal replacement fad is one that has swept over the world in the last couple of years with Australians alone spending around $614 million per year with 50% of consumers spending around $57 a month for the effectiveness of the shakes alone. Although these shakes work initially they are not very sustainable, people expect these shakes to be magic tools for converting fat to muscle but the effectiveness really relies on the consumer and how they are used. According to a survey of around ~900 people by Canstar Blue, 35% of those that consumed shakes said they don’t use them as a meal replacement but as a meal addition, this again contributes to the effectiveness of the shakes. Many people find them just to be difficult to sustain long term due to their bland and boring nature, where people soon fall back to poor eating habits and find themselves regaining what weight they may have lost. Most professionals agree that in order for these shakes to be effective they can be effective when used in conjunction with a dietitian and other healthy lifestyle changes.
So What Diet Should I Follow?
When trying to transition to a healthier lifestyle it is recommended you consult with a dietitian or nutritionist in order to develop a more personalised meal plan that takes into consideration your age, nationality, current health issues and any family history of medical conditions.
A Healthy Diet should always be focused on long-term sustainability, the aim is to find a diet you find you could stick to and adopt for a long period of time that provides a steady and adequate weight loss of around 1kg per week (weight loss may be faster at the beginning of the diet) in order to keep you losing weight while still steering clear of various problems that arise from very rapid weight loss such as gallstones or heart-related issues.
A balanced diet should be focused on the three food groups; protein, carbohydrates and fats. Unhealthy options such as sugars and processed foods should be replaced with various foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, high-protein meats and low-fat dairy products. The Australian Standard for recommended daily intake (as outlined in the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards) to achieve a balanced diet for an adult is made up of the following nutrients:
|Nutrient||Quantity Per Day|
|Saturated Fatty Acids||24 grams|
|Sodium (salt)||2.3 grams|
|Dietary Fibre||30 grams|
In order to get started on your journey, it is important to check your BMI here and consult with your dietitian or GP in order to decide on a goal that is realistic and achievable, and remember, even a little bit of weight loss can contribute to large health benefits!
To estimate your recommended daily calorie intake complete the calorie calculator found below or continue to the link HERE. The value found from the calculator is the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight. In order to begin losing weight, you need to subtract around 500 calories per day (for weight loss of around 0.5kg per week) or more for your desired weight loss. It is important to note that this is not an accurate calculation! Weight loss varies from person to person through a range of factors, it is important to vary the calorie count depending on your bodies reaction and results. It is important to note that you don’t necessarily need to eat teeny tiny portions but rather eat quality healthy foods that keep you fuller for longer.
Like anything, it gets easier with experience. As you first start out you may find yourself sifting through recipes to get the exact 12.3g of protein you need to completely satisfy your DRI (Daily Recommended Intake), but as time goes by you’ll soon find yourself able to estimate how much nutrient is in each ingredient and able to get a rough estimate. Once this point is reached you will find it far easier to achieve the balanced but weight reducing diet you have been waiting for, because lets face it, dieting doesn’t have to be about counting every single calorie. The best place to find recipes is through the internet with sites like Taste.com and Delicious who keep thousands of recipes in order to give you something new each night.
Weight loss is still heavily influenced by lifestyle, just dieting and healthy eating may get you losing weight but in order to maximise results, you need to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine (for more about exercise click here). It is important to not sit counting exact calories in and calories out every day but rather keep a general count, this will be easier after a few weeks as you will learn the right foods to eat and what to stay away from.
 Schwalfenberg, G. (2012). The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, pp.1-7.
 Wang, J., García-Bailo, B., Nielsen, D. and El-Sohemy, A. (2016). ABO Genotype, ‘Blood-Type’ Diet and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors. [online] Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084749 [Accessed 1 Dec. 2016].
 Fujioka, K., Greenway, F., Sheard, J. and Ying, Y., 2006. The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. Journal of medicinal food, 9(1), pp.49-54.