LET SCIENCE GUIDE YOUR WAY TO...
By Dr Megan Chircop
ARGGHHH - ARE YOU CONFUSED!
What we read in Google, hear in the TV & radio, podcasts, read in social media forums, etc...the list goes on...
We live in a world of information OVERLOAD. This is potentially a good thing, but where we fall apart is that more often than not the message by all these different sources is conflicting, particularly about the best way we approach achieving our health and body goals. This goal is different for all of us and could be:
- improving your health (getting off or reducing medication)
- a leaner, more energetic body
- feeling better in your own skin
- sleep better
- stable moods
- better concentration without brain-fog moments
I am hear to tell you that the solution is not a ‘magic pill’ or a specially-formulated weight loss ‘shake’.
"It is actually far easier than this and involves eating real food"
We all know the rule - if you burn more energy than you eat, then you will lose weight. So how do you do it whilst eating yummy food?
There are plenty of specially-formulated pills and shakes in the market that claim to help you lose weight. The advertising world does an amazing job at making you believe that this is ‘new’ pill or shake is the solution for you. And, yes, in the short-term, these approaches are often initially successful, with people claiming to lose vast quantities of weight. However, these approaches don’t change your lifestyle long-term and most people inevitably fall back on old habits and regain all of the lost weight (and often more).
So what is the secret?
Eat real food! But be smart – the secret to success is the
HIGH-VOLUME, LOW-CALORIE DENSITY PRINCIPLE.
1) By eating a large volume of low-calorie dense foods your stomach will signal to your brain that you are full. This means less calories for a full and satisfied tummy. For example, a standard serve of pasta at a restaurant (or even at home) is 100g (about 200g when cooked). This is about 360 calories and 75g of carbohydrate. For the equivalent amount of calories, you would have to eat more than 500g of potatoes. This is ridiculous! A large serve of potatoes would be 200g and this only equates to about 120 calories. So by choosing potatoes over pasta you would be saving more than 240 calories. If you made this swap every day you would lose 12kg in a year. Read more…Why you should and how you can include white potato in a weight loss diet and top 5 delicious potato dishes you can enjoy whilst losing weight.
2) Most high-volume, low-calorie dense foods are high in fibre and water content, which means that digestion is slowed down, again resulting in a content full tummy for a longer period of time. So the desire to ‘snack’ between meals will be less. Of course ‘snacking’ is ok but make wise choices that again are follow the high-volume, low-calorie dense principle such as celery sticks with hummus, fruits with a high water content such as watermelon and rockmelon, and natural no-additive popcorn.
How do you incorporate the ‘high-volume, low-calorie dense principle’ in to your everyday lifestyle so you still get to eat yummy food whilst losing weight? Here are some examples:
1) Wheat-based carbohydrate: You don’t have to give up pasta all together but back off a little. For example, instead of 100g (raw) of spaghetti, have a 30-40g (raw) serve of spaghetti and bump up the volume with spiralised zucchini or parsnip or any other vegie of your choice. Alternatively, you could bump up the volume with the Japanese zero calorie noodles called shirataki made from the konjac yam flour. In Australia they are sold in supermarkets labelled as Slendier pasta or in America as Miracle Noodle. Just toss in the vegies or konjac noodles into the pot of boiling water that is cooking the pasta during the final 1 minute. Drain. And continue with recipe.
2) Gluten-free carbohydrate: Rice, particularly white rice, is something that seems to be digested very easily. Before you know it you have eaten a whole bowl of rice without even realising how many calories you just consumed. As for pasta, instead of have a standard 100g (raw) serve of rice with your meal, have only 30-40g (raw) and bump up the volume of with those leftover cauliflower and broccoli steams. What do I mean? This is normally the part that most people throw away but when you can pulse this part of the vegetable in a food processor to the size of a grain of rice. During the final 1 minute of boiling rice, throw in the cauliflower and/or broccoli ‘rice’. Drain. Then continue with your recipe. You won’t even know the difference but you just saved 200 calories. WOW! As a bonus you have minimised your food wastage. Try this simple high-volume, low-calorie dense cooking principle when cooking quinoa, buckwheat or any other gluten-free carbohydrate that is the size of a rice grain.
3) Fruit: Eat whole fruit rather than dried fruit. All of the water has been sucked out of the dried fruit and so it is much easier to eat a larger volume. For example, eat an apple instead of dried apple slices, grapes instead of sultanas. Also avoid fruit juices. Both dried fruit and fruit juices often contain added sugar, which will increase not only their calorie content but also increase the glycaemic index (GI) of these foods causing you to spike an insulin response which will only result in you wanting another snack again sooner.
4) Vegetables: Tuck in to a large bowl of leafy green vegetables as a side dish. Include vegetables such as those with a high water and fibre content such as tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, spinach, celery, cabbage, etc. One of our most popular salads is a chopped vegetable salad, dressed in a lovely creamy herb dressing. Served with a lean cut of protein and you will have a satisfied tummy.
5) Protein: Most healthy meals are based on lean proteins. Roasted white meat chicken is about 144 calories per 100g serve. A 100g serve of grilled white fish fillet is a little less at about 127 calories due to its higher water content. Plant-based protein sources are often less calorie-dense. For example, a 100g serve of cannellini beans is less than 70 calories. However, the trade-off is that these beans (and others) are lower in protein than animal protein sources and contain carbohydrate, mostly dietary fibre. Tofu, especially for vegetarians is a great option because depending on the variety you choose a 100g serve of tofu could contain as little as 55 calories.
The bottom line is, think about the composition of your meal before you just throw something together at the last minute. This is where meal planning is very important. You could save calories, potentially hundreds, every meal just by thinking ahead and following the high-volume, low-calorie dense principle. The result is a loss of many kilograms each year and best of all you will be able to maintain your new weight and thinner waistline in the long-term.
At Body Sculptors Australia, Dr Megan Chircop designs meal plans for weight loss and maintenance following the high-volume, low-calorie principle.
Just follow the delicious recipes in her TastyFitFood Cookbooks and meal plans and feel the difference.
You might also be interested in the following articles:
Understanding portion sizes
Is it ok to eat late at night?
Lose weight, save money, feel great...how?
Pork loin with a creamy mustard sauce
Caramelised balsamic glazed lamb shanks with a roasted pumpkin and spinach salad
Chia chocolate smoothie bowl
Vegetable pasta Bolognese
Welcome. I am Dr Megan Chircop. I am a medical scientist and nutritionist with 20 years in medical research. As such, I have extensive knowledge and a thorough understanding of how the body works. I am able to simplify the science behind the way food fuels the body and mind to provide energy and nutrition needed to achieve optimal health and vitality. I am also a keen sportswoman, and have extensive knowledge of sports nutrition.
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