The elusive caloric deficit to burn fat or lose weight is touted by many diet styles to promote wellness and health when in actual fact: and this is my own opinion: for many that comes at a much higher price.
Long-term metabolic dysfunction, downregulation of metabolic (life!) processes and a constant state of fragility, anger, irritability and yo-yo coping strategies are therefore prevalent.
We are in a society where an 800-calorie diet is more approachable than starting at a 2000 calorie DRV. Even though it has been recommended by the UK government for many years, the 2500 and 2000 calorie model for an exercising population would infact induce fat loss results in many desire especially if their macronutrient balance and exercise intensity is met. I can argue for many athletes this would be potential starvation.
Most females are shocked when we look at addressing their EAT, NEAT and BMR values alone but of course, the heritage in our modern society is extremes and normalising the fearmongering/guilt into our MTV style lip puckering narcissistic celebrities from 'beauty and gossip magazines'. (Again my own opinion not fact).
Addressing obesity is tough from a moral, ethical and sustainable standpoint and although many people are pre-contemplative about changing their habits to improve their health, there's a gap between knowing and doing - action.
Diet styles are therefore designed to promote short-cut or overly simple methods to sell to your ego and take action but there has to be a culture of behaviour change throughout the process - as we learn - we create feedback loops of dopamine rewarding value that get us deeper into staying on track.
Hear me out:
A deficit can be achieved easier when utilising nutrient-dense foods Vs caloric dense food.
Caloric density is important too but more on this later on.
WHOLE FOOD PROMOTES FEELINGS OF SATIETY, FULLNESS AND HUNGER
Raubenheimer, D & Simpson, S.J. (2020) showcase through their book Eat Like the Animals the basic premise that 'if a food environment contains too little protein, we will over eat until we satisfy our protein appetite'.
The industrialisation and hyper-processing of our food ingredients minimise the potential benefit that our hyper-palatable Freddo's and Walkers crisps have on inducing feelings of fullness after ingestion and instead, greatly promoting feelings that lead to acquiring more than we need for metabolic balance.
It is an industry. They aren't stupid, are they?
Repeatable business is big profit over time and one small investment (such as a new process, a new label, or a cheaper ingredient to last on the shelf) assists in long-term return on investment.
When we humans are short of protein, the lip-smacking savoury taste of umami becomes irresistible. I see it countless times where people living overly restrictive lifestyles for zero reasons at all desire to lick Worcestershire sauce from the cap and drool over food shows as they are just not satiated at a macronutrient level.
Cue the 'I love food but I hate my body' type of mindset.
NUTRIENT DENSITY SUPPORTS DETOXIFICATION
Detoxification is the process by which you can metabolise and excrete toxic byproducts from the body. This is a whole-body process that sadly, isn't supported by taking lemon in your water and fasting into starvation.
Everyone can do more to support detoxification:
We are exposed to environmental and lifestyle toxins every single day that deplete minerals and place a load on our detoxification systems.
Many detox diets lack any ability to actually support detoxification because detoxification is a full-body process involving systems that need nutrient support.
What actually underpins success is that stop smoking, drink less alcohol, get enough sleep, exercise spend time with like-minded people.
Your skin, breath, lungs, sweat, liver, kidneys, urine and bowels are detoxifying every day.
Bio-transformation/detoxification is greatly supported by calm, chewing food, sleep, hydration, vitamins, minerals and amino acids (protein).
It is not supported by pure starvation.
Your liver needs certain fat and water-soluble minerals as well as amino acids (protein) to promote phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification. You need dietary fibre to bind toxins for excretion as well as adequate hydration for clearing the kidneys and oxygen into your lungs.
Sadly, a food item such as Gregg's sausage roll is pretty devoid of promoting detoxification assistance and therefore more plants, animal proteins and essential healthy fat may help.
WHOLE FOODS REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs can't be made by our bodies so we have to eat them.
You will have heard about Omega 3 essential fatty acids. They are essential as a natural anti-inflammatory and are excellent at stopping the blood from clotting when it shouldn't as they thin the blood, promoting higher levels of oxygen and nutrition utilised in the bloodstream.
Whole food still having protein, fibre and hydration in tact allows for a slower digestive transit and lowered blood sugar & insulin spike which also reduces the inflammation caused by the release of inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that can damage the body's tissues.
WHOLE FOODS BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR AND REDUCE CRAVINGS
As Goodman (2020) explains: 'Whole grains have a white, starchy centre, which is pure poly-saccharide, and a brown outer husk which contains fibre, B vitamins and the mineral chromium. Now that's handy; the fibre nicely slows down the digestion of the starchy middle bit, so the blood sugar level doesn't rise too quickly (which would trigger an insulin rush). And the B vitamins, especially vitamin B1 (thiamine) assist with sugar metabolism later on, in the cells'
Better utilisation of sugar increases mood, focus, and happiness and less chance you will be raiding the fridge after a hard, stressful day at work followed by training.
I can highlight many MANY more aspects in this blog for for the nature of time let's focus on the inverse.
There are times, especially in athletes and those desperately seeking to improve body composition, when caloric density works in your favour.
As Learney (2015) clearly outlines in N1 Nutritional Programming, 'to gain lean tissue, we must have a surplus of available "fuel" to do so. This must be heavily supported with a protein intake that is adequate for both cellular support a repair. To enable an increase in lean mass, we must first look to increase overall protein turnover to ensure protein synthesis nominally exceeds the breakdown... '
This may be at a macro or micro level whereby sections of the day, week, month or training phase for example, are supported by adequate protein, carbohydrate, sugar and caloric density.
Remember protein turnover is constantly ongoing and therefore in athletes we need to assure the holes dug in training are adequately refilled.
Training like an athlete and eating like a rabbit fuelled by Starbucks is therefore inverse, negligent and downright short-sighted. Understandably we need to address this at a situational and personal level but your mileage will vary.
A COCKTAIL EFFECT
Now we are never only exposed to one of these elements, they accumulate and we have to remember - we are bio-psycho-social in our behaviour and choices.
Eating a whole food diet is the easiest, fastest and best way to promote health benefits, quicker...
You - have to be able to do it. Hence why I deliver recipe books monthly to assist in your goals.
Check them out here
Goodman, Dr Jenny. (2020). Staying Alive in Toxic Times. Yellow Kite. London
Learney, P. (2015). N1 Nutritional Programming. ACA Publications. P.67
Raubenheimer, D & Simpson, S.J. (2020). Eat Like The Animals. William Collins. Croydon.