Focus on Nutrition for Weight Loss
To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn off throughout the day. By maximizing nutrient intake in fewer calories, it becomes possible to lose weight while maintaining a well-balanced diet. Understanding the basics of nutrition and the components of a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight level long-term.
What is a Nutrient?
Nutrients are the core of our diet. They restore energy levels, build and repair tissues and muscles and preserve bone and organ health. Our bodies cannot produce nutrients. Instead, we rely entirely on our diet to get needed nutrients.
There are six different forms of nutrients:
Your diet is your body’s primary resource for the vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive. Following a nutrient-dense diet will provide you with energy, boost your immune system and help you experience improved wellness.
Finding Nutrients in Your Diet
Nutrients are primarily found in whole foods, including meat, fruits and vegetables. Following a well-balanced diet means diversifying your food intake to consume an appropriate array of nutrients through a variety of sources.
Vitamins and Minerals
Fruits, vegetables and dairy products are great sources of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. These foods have the most value when in their whole form, meaning prior to any processing. To get the largest array of nutrients, try switching up the fruits and vegetables you eat daily.
- Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, cruciferous vegetables and tomatoes
- Vitamin B12 is found in eggs and milk products, as well as fish and meat
- Vitamin A is found in dark green and yellow vegetables
- Calcium is found in dark, leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, as well as dairy products
- Potassium is found in milk, vegetables and fruit, especially bananas
Fats have an unfortunate reputation thanks to their association with body fat. Consuming too much fat can lead to weight gain, but moderate consumption of healthy fats leads to many health benefits. Dietary fat protects organs like the heart and lubricates joints.
There are four types of fat. As you lose weight, limit fat consumption to mono and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats can be found in olive oil, avocado and fish.
Eating plenty of protein as you lose weight will encourage your body to burn fat, not muscle. Protein is a building block of the body. It is a component of your skin, blood, muscles and hormones.
Protein is found in:
- Red meat and poultry
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
Like fats, carbohydrates can play a healthy role in your diet when managed correctly. They provide you with energy and help you remain full between meals. There are two forms of carbohydrates:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates are found in sugar and are often high-calorie foods. Complex carbohydrates are usually rich in fiber, which aids digestion and weight loss. You can add complex carbohydrates to your diet by eating whole-grains, including brown rice and whole-wheat bread products.
You can also find healthy carbohydrates in certain vegetables, including potatoes, squash and corn.
Changing the foods you eat to be more nutritious is one of the first steps to take when developing a healthier diet. Making fundamental changes to the foods you choose daily can help you lose weight, and maintain a healthy weight level long-term.