Science Behind the Meal Plans Science Behind the 12-week program
All the Trimfit Bodies healthy meal plans for weight loss meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating - so we've stacked the science in your favour. Our dietitians have put together tasty recipes which fit these meal plans perfectly - eating healthy has never been made so easy!
The bottom line is that you won't feel deprived on these healthy meal plans, but we will provide you with healthy alternatives to all your favourite meals to keep you on track with your goals.
Why it is important to vary your protein sources
Proteins from food are digested and broken down to release amino acids, which are termed the ‘building blocks’ of all proteins. Inside the body these amino acids are used to make new proteins including enzymes and hormones. They are essential in the growth and repair process including muscle replenishment and growth and help in promoting satiety and keeping you feeling full.
It is important to vary the sources of protein as part of a healthy meal plan so you receive a wide range of the vitamins and minerals offered in different products. For instance; red meat has been included 2-3 times per week on the program, as it is one of the richest iron and vitamin B12. Fish, particularly oily fish including salmon, mackerel and sardines is not only a great protein source, but is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Other protein containing foods include:
- Poultry (Chicken, Turkey)
- Dairy (Cheese, Yoghurt, Milk)
- Soy products (Tofu, Tempeh)
Tips for vegetarians
Those following a vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose protein sources from a combination of plant based products to ensure they receive a sufficient mix of amino acids. The nutritional value of protein is measured by the quality of the essential amino acids it contains. Animal products, soy products, quinoa and amarath contain all the essential amino acids. However other plant proteins lack at least one amino acids. Vegetarians are therefore recommended to include beans, legumes, soy products (tofu/tempeh), dairy, nuts, seeds and vegetables to meet their daily protein intake.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient only in animal products. An Australian study found two-thirds of strict vegetarians had low levels of vitamin B12, putting them at risk of deficiency which presents as extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, easy bruising, stomach upset, weight loss and diarrhea or constipation. T
It is recommended vegetarians include vitamin B12-fortified foods or take supplements as recommended by their doctor.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega -3 fatty acids have been proven to help prevent and treat heart disease. It is also suggested to be important for cognitive function. There are three important omega-3 fatty acids
- ALA – alpha-linolenic acids; found in a wide variety of foods including red meat, oily fish and nuts/nut oils.
- EPA - eicosapentaenoic acid; found mainly in fish and seaweed.
- DHA - docosahexaenoic acid; found mainly in fish and seaweed.
The body cannot make ALA, so it needs to obtain it from food, however it can convert ALA into EPA and DHA. The body is efficient at converting ALA into EPA, but needs much more ALA available to convert it into DHA. By ensuring you eat a variety of red meat and oily fish at least twice a week you will be on track to eating enough omega-3.
Vegetarians on the other hand are often found to have low DHA. It is therefore important to be aware of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids for non-meat or seafood eaters which are as follows:
- ALA: Soy, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseeds and oil, hempseed oil, camellia oil and chia seed oil.
- EPA: Small amounts in eggs and traces in seaweed.
- DHA: Small amounts in eggs and traces in seaweed.
Other tips for vegetarians:
- Limit your omega-6 intake as this competes with omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Use low omega-6 oils including olive, avocado, canola or peanut. Minimise the use of high omega-6 oils including corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, vegetable oil and sesame oil.
- See your doctor to check the levels of omega-3 in your blood. If required, fish oil tablets that contact DHA supplements are available.
The importance of fibre & how much you need
Fibre is one of the most underrated ‘nutrients’ in nutrition. A high fibre diet has shown to be protective against weight gain and important as part of a weight loss program. This is because high-fibre foods generally have a lower energy density, which means they provide less energy per gram of food. The result? A person on a high-fibre diet can eat the same amount of food but with less energy.
Fibrous foods are often ‘bulky’ leaving you feeling full. Soluble fibre absorbs water in your digestive system, forms a gel that slows down the emptying of the stomach and the time taken for foods to pass through your body. Basically it leaves you feeling full for longer. The benefits of fibre just keep coming; fibre also delays the absorption of sugars from the intestines that helps to maintain consistently lower blood sugar levels. As a result this prevents the hormone insulin from spiking which has been linked to obesity and increased risk of diabetes. Fibre also helps keep your digestive system moving and healthy and reduces the uncomfortable symptoms of constipation, diverticular disease, haemorrhoids and bowel cancer.
How much fibre do you need a day? – Aim for 25-30g daily. The following list gives you an idea of ‘high’ fibre foods:
- 1 cup legumes (chickpeas, beans) = 12g
- 2 cups mixed raw vegetables = 10g
- ½ cup quinoa = 5g
- 1 apple (with skin) = 4g
- ½ cup almonds = 4g
- ½ cup brown rice = 2g
- 2 tbls peanut butter = 2g
Make sure that when increasing your fibre intake to drink extra water to prevent constipation or feelings of indigestion.
What ‘refined carbohydrates’ are and why they are limited on this program
The term ‘refined’ carbohydrates is used to describe foods that have been processed or altered from their original state and have had natural nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals reduced or removed leaving only the highly digestible carbohydrate (starch or sugar). Some also have the addition of artificial chemicals and sugars throughout the process.
Refined carbohydrates are often demonised on many weight loss programs because they are concentrated sources of carbohydrates because the body processes the sugar very quickly causing a fast rise in blood sugar levels.
Refined carbohydrates include:
- Sugar – of all types including white, caster, icing, brown, raw.
- White flour and its products
- White rice
- Soft drink, alcohol, fruit concentrate, cordial
- Processed snacks including potato chips, pretzels, puddings, lollies, sausage rolls, meat pies etc.
Carbohydrates are part of a balanced healthy diet to lose weight, but are often over consumed due to the nature of their processing. Therefore this plan discourages consumption of refined carbohydrates and offers suggestions about how to incorporate unrefined, wholegrain carbohydrates as an alternative. Eating plenty of low GI carbs, proteins and good fats is shown to provide the best diet to lose weight.
"Low GI" carbohydrates
The ‘GI’ stands for the glycemic index – which is a value given to foods depending on how fast their sugars are absorbed into the blood. Unrefined carbohydrates are ‘complex’ and by nature higher in fibre, meaning it takes the body longer to break them down contributing to their lower GI. The release of energy from low GI foods are said to be slower hence giving you sustained energy, think a big wide tree log on a fire that takes a long time to burn compared to a few thin sticks which burn up quickly.
Types of low GI unrefined carbohydrates include:
- Fresh fruit & vegetables
- Beans & legumes
- Wholegrain oats
- Buckwheat, amaranth
- Brown or wild rice
- Basmati rice
What is the evidence behind ‘lower’ carbohydrate diets?
Systematic studies have shown ‘low’ carbohydrate diets (usually less than 20% of total energy intake) effectively reduce body weight for up to six months. In addition, there is some evidence suggested that particular individuals find lower carbohydrate diets easier to comply (and stick to) than low fat diets. In terms of weight loss, compliance is key. You will ultimately see the best success with a weight loss program that provides a style of eating that you can maintain. During the short term, lower intakes of carbohydrates have been shown to lower blood triglyceride levels more effectively than low fat diets.
It is important to remember that a decision to start on a weight loss program should be one step to adopting a healthier lifestyle overall. Whilst modifying your carbohydrate intake in the short term may be an effective tool for weight loss, developing small healthy changes throughout your diet and lifestyle will lead to weight maintenance and improved health over time.
Achieving adequate calcium
Calcium is a vital mineral used by the body to keep the bones and teeth strong and assists in optimal functioning on the heart, muscles and nerves. The recommended amount of calcium for an adult is 1000mg, which can be achieved through roughly three serves of dairy foods including:
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 2 slices (30g) hard cheese
- 120g soft cheese (ricotta, cottage)
- 200g yoghurt
Including dairy foods within your diet can also keep you feeling satisfied because they contain protein.
In addition to dairy foods there are other sources of dietary calcium including firm tofu, nuts and some vegetables. It should be noted that these foods don’t contain as much calcium as dairy products, hence if you are vegetarian or vegan it is important to ensure you are meeting your daily requirements.
Non-dairy sources of calcium equivalent to one serve of dairy:
- 170g firm tofu
- 200g king prawns
- 7 ¾ cups spinach
- 2 ½ cups broccoli
- 168g almonds
Stewart R. The handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics 4th Edition. Published by Griffith
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Nutrient Guidelines
Australian Dietary Guidelines
Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL.Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2004 Apr;134(4):919-22.
Conquer JA, Holub BJ. Dietary docosahexaenoic acid as a source of eicosapentaenoic acid in vegetarians and omnivores. Lipids. 1997 Mar;32(3):341-5. Abstract only. |link
Rosell MS, Lloyd-Wright Z, Appleby PN, Sanders TA, Allen NE, Key TJ.Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in plasma in British meat-eating, vegetarian, and vegan men.Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug;82(2):327-34.