Your medical weight loss plan will comprise of a diet in addition to an exercise schedule and other necessary medical therapies. A medical weight loss diet is not a fad diet or quick weight loss eating plan. It is a healthy diet that will aid with your weight loss and prevent further weight gain. This is achieved by assessing your individual needs as well as your current health status and formulating an eating plan based on scientific weight management principles.
The three main components of any medical weight loss diet will be :
- Calorie reduction
- Low glycemic index (GI)
- High to moderate protein
The average adult male should consume approximately 2,500 calories per day while the average adult female will require approximately 2,000 calories a day. These average daily calorie requirements may vary depending on your BMI (based on height and weight), level of daily activity and the extent of the weight loss required.
Your medical weight loss diet will firstly assess your current eating habits and estimate your approximate calorie intake. This estimate is derived both by your food journal which will be compiled prior to the commencement of your medical weight loss program. Your current calorie intake can also be estimated scientifically by using biodynamic equations. Your doctor and dietitian will construct an eating plan to ensure that your calorie intake is gradually reduced until it reaches the average calorie intake for your weight and height.
Low Glycemic Index
Your medical weight loss diet will also consist of a list of low GI foods which can be consumed during the course of your weight management program. Your doctor and dietitian will also provide your with a list of high GI foods in order to make you aware of which foods are counterproductive to your weight loss program.
Your doctor will assess your individual daily protein requirement. In order to speed up your weight loss, this daily protein requirement may be increased by up to 50 %. This is not advisable if you suffer from high uric acid levels (hyeruricemia) or kidney disorders. Your doctor will take these factors into consideration before prescribing your required daily protein intake.
Protein for Weight Loss
Protein is an essential food for weight loss due to its unique properties on the hunger center in the brain. It also indirectly contributes to a higher metabolism and has the ability to reduce the overall glycemic index of a meal when eaten with high GI foods.
When your body requires nutrition, it alerts the satiety center in the brain to trigger the feeling of hunger. After eating a meal, the satiety center is able to detect the nutrients that is being absorbed into the bloodstream and switches ‘off’. Certain foods like protein will switch the satiety center ‘off’ while other foods like carbohydrates and fats are less effective in doing so. In any weight loss program, protein plays a vital role in controlling your appetite and making you feel full for longer.
Protein is a major component of muscle cells. Since these cells have the most amount of mitochondria (energy factories), it is crucial to keep the muscles in a healthy state. The larger the muscle cell, the more calories it will burn to produce energy. Muscle cells require physical activity and protein to increase and maintain their size. Therefore protein will indirectly increase your metabolism by nourishing the best calorie consumers in your body, namely the mitochondria rich muscle cells.
Ounce for ounce, protein has less calories than carbohydrates and fats. Apart from the lower calorie intake when eating protein, this nutrient also lowers the glycemic index of foods. As far as possible, high calorie and high GI foods should be excluded from any weight loss program. This is not always possible and by eating high protein foods, you can ensure that the total GI of the meal is reduced.
The importance of protein for weight loss cannot be overemphasized. At the same time, high protein diets with little or no carbohydrates or fats is not advisable. These high protein diets can strain the liver and kidneys ultimately leading to health complications which may be more detrimental than obesity.