Nutritionist advice for healthy weight loss
Let’s begin by confirming that there is no one magic pill, superfood or drink that will provide an instant, healthy, sustainable weight loss. A recent Google search highlighted the most looked for words were simply all concentrating on a quick fix to weight loss, rather than losing weight healthily.
A desire for weight loss can often be associated with a desire to improve body image or to drop a clothes size, but the important fact is weight loss can be beneficial to our overall general health and improve lifestyle factors such as energy, sleep, mood, exercise and even digestion¹²³.
One size doesn't fit all
The problem of weight management is that it is like a jigsaw – there are so many pieces that need to be joined together to get a positive outcome. Everyone has very different lifestyles, different health conditions and their bodies work in different ways, so there is not a one size fits all approach to weight loss⁴.
For example, ideal calorie intake varies between individuals, according to biochemistry and levels of physical activity. A healthy diet should concentrate on being nutrient dense rather than energy dense⁵.
Behaviour changes and weight lossIt is now recognised that long-term behavioural change goes hand-in-hand with sustainable weight loss⁶. In fact, the first digital programme used by the NHS incorporates support in both of these areas.
Understanding your diet
Going back to basic nutrition information is a sensible start to any attempt at weight loss. Any dietary advice proposing calorie counting or weighing food will be hard to sustain long term.
The British Association of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) encourage the use of their “Wellness Solutions” and “Fight the Fat – Beat the Bloat” guidelines with no calorie counting or measuring, just a simple visual check on the portions of your food by how they are divided on your plate.
Some weight loss diets may recommend cutting out certain foods, such as meat, fish, wheat or dairy products. Cutting out certain food groups altogether could prevent obtaining the important nutrients and vitamins that the body needs to function properly⁵.
It is worth understanding your current diet first by taking our free Diet Profile, all online and takes only 3 mins. It is a triage for nutrition, giving you a window into your diet, the nutrients it provides and how they support you - and where they don't.
Mediterranean DietFollowing the principles of the Mediterranean Diet would be a further recommendation.
It includes wholegrains, healthy fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil and fish as well as high fruit and vegetable intake. A Mediterranean diet may be a useful tool to reduce body weight, especially when it is associated with physical activity and applied for more than 6 months in length⁷.
There is much interest in the significance of the microbiome, the different types of bacteria living in the gut and its impact on health. A recent study highlighted that a Mediterranean Diet seems to have beneficial impacts to the gut microbiome promoting a healthy life and could be a useful tool against obesity⁹.
Furthermore, dietary strategies targeting the gut microbiota have been successful in decreasing obesity and metabolic disorders via different molecular mechanisms⁸.
Nutrients for weight loss
ChromiumThe mineral Chromium is required for normal blood glucose concentrations and the maintenance and achievement of normal body weight. It plays a key role in cellular sensitivity to insulin¹⁰.
Good food sources of Chromium include broccoli, eggs, shellfish, nuts, seeds, prunes, brown rice and quinoa. Supplementation has been demonstrated to lower body weight yet increase lean body mass¹¹.
Vitamin B3UltraEnergy is the complete formula for daily energy for your brain and body, a B Vitamin Complex including Vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 has been highlighted with a role in weight loss, working alongside Chromium in insulin regulation and its influence on hormonal support¹². Good food sources of Vitamin B3 include lean meat, poultry, eggs, mushrooms, asparagus, salmon and pulses.
MagnesiumLow magnesium levels can impair the ability to use glucose for fuel, instead storing it as fat. Correcting a magnesium deficiency stimulates metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity¹⁴. If you're not sure if you're deficient we recommend reading How do I know if I'm deficient in Magnesium?
Good sources of Magnesium include dark green vegetables, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, halibut, meat, tomatoes and onions.
Where to start losing weight?To lose weight healthily it can be hard to know where to start. It's recommended to reach for wholegrains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and high amounts of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy and varied diet.
Written by Jackie Donkin BSc, mBANT, CNHC
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- Esposito K, Kastorini CM, Panagiotakos DB, Giugliano D. Mediterranean diet and weight loss: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2011;9(1):1-12. doi:10.1089/met.2010.0031
- Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd Edition, Jospeh Pizzorno and Micheal Murray, Chapter 194, Pg 1957
- McCarthy MF. Hypothesis; sensitisation of insulin-dependent hypothalamic glucoreceptors may account for the fat-reducing effects of chromium picolinate. J Optimal Nutr 1993;21:36-53
- Shansky. Vitamin B3 in the alleviation of hypoglycemia. Drug Cosm Ind 1981: 129 (4): 68-69, 104-16
- Westpahl S, Borucki K, Taneva E et al. Adipokines and treatment with Niacin. Metabolism 2006:10:1283-1285
- Kishimoto Y, Tani M, Uto-Kondo H et al. Effects of magnesium on postprandial serum lipid responses in healthy human subjects. Br J Nutr 2010;4:469-472