MAY 06, 2017

How To Design The Perfect Fat Burning Diet

Fat Burning Diet is a term that is thrown around a lot now-a-days, and to some extent there is such a thing, although perhaps not in the way you might imagine. This post is about what makes a "Fat Burning Diet" different from any other type of diet.

Who Is This Diet Plan For?

Well, anyone really, but in particular this regime should suit you if you:

Are just a little over your ideal weight and you are struggling to drop that little bit of persistent fat.
Have tried low calorie diets, perhaps even stuck to them rigidly and still failed to lose any significant weight.
I've been there myself, I even resorted to a 1,000 calorie a day diet, which traditional wisdom tells us should result in a lot of weight loss - even if not particularly healthy.

Why Isn't Your Diet Working?

Well it turns out that the traditional model of calories in minus calories out is at best flawed. An interesting study of different diets proved this point quite well:

3 groups of people were put on 1,000 calorie diets.
Group 1 consumed 90% of their calories as Protein
Group 2 consumed 90% of their calories as Fat
Group 3 consumed 90% of their calories as Carbohydrates

The results were interesting. Group 1 lost the most weight, group 2 lost a lot less weight, but group 3 actually gained weight!

So there you have it - calorie counting doesn't always work. These groups were all consuming far less calories than their bodies should have been using, yet group 3 actually gained weight.

How Does A Fat Buring Diet Work?

There are various foods that are good for fat loss when used as sort of natural supplements, and I will cover these in another post. But with a couple of exceptions, no food can really be said to 'Burn' fat.

The fat burning diet works by reducing our body's tendency to store food as fat, without reducing our metabolic rate (starvation diets do this, and as a result backfire on us). Basically we have to eat plenty, but still lose mass.

Insulin Response And What Foods To Eat:

The key is understanding insulin response. You see, when we consume any foods, our body reacts by releasing hormones and enzymes that help to break down the food, digest it and then either use or store it.

I'm not going to get into the science too much, but the bottom line is this:

High (spiked) insulin levels -> Food converted to fat
Low (stable) insulin levels -> Food used evenly for energy

So what foods should you eat? Basically we want to stick to foods that don't cause our blood sugar to spike. We want complex carbs with a low insulin response, and we want to avoid any simple sugars. We also want plenty of protein and lots of healthy fats.

Here are the main foods to avoid:

Bread - white especially, but any bread ideally
Milk - despite a low GI milk causes high insulin
Pasta, Rice, Quinoa, Potatoes etc:

Foods to eat:

Eggs - in moderation (2-3 a day) are a good source of fat and protein
Nuts - again, healthy fats, in moderation, I aim for 25 peanuts a day
Beans - the best carb you can get; pinto, black, kidney; they're all good
Lentils - again, fantastic carb source and good for protein too
Lean Meats - or vegetarian equivalents (which are generally healthier)
Veg - you know, because you need vitamins and stuff

Bread, potatoes and pasta have a lot of calories in, so cutting them out can result in consuming too few calories (remember, we don't want to eat too little), so you should eat as many calories as possible from the above sources.

For this diet to work you have to make sure you eat plenty, if you regularly get hungry you are not eating enough. The beans and pulses will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent your body converting your food to fat.

Treats, Cheats and Slip Ups

You are allowed cheats occassionally; if possible work out twice a week, or do some other exercise. It must be high energy exercise, get your heart rate up for at least 40 minutes.

After each work out, go eat something unhealthy - have a whole pizza and a bag of cookies if you want - as long as you have put in the effort in your work out this is fine. It serves two purposes:

You don't need to cheat on other days if you know you have 2 opportunities per week to pig out
It also spikes your blood sugar in a controlled way and stops your metabolism from dropping
Personally, I find that 2 such meals a week are sufficient to stop me wanting. If I have a biscuit when I shouldn't I feel guilty, but if I wait until my next workout session I can pig out in style and not feel guilty at all.

What To Expect:

Expect to have more energy - feeling lethargic is caused by the very low blood sugar that follows insulin spikes associated with eating sugary foods - by only consuming your carbs from the foods above you will avoid this and you will feel more awake and alert.
Expect to gain weight after your cheat meals, but don't sweat it. I only weight myself on Monday mornings, you should too.
Expect to lose weight slowly but consistently. Because you are working out and eating plenty you will naturally gain muscle, so your fat loss will actually be greater than the scales imply - this is a good thing though.

Note To Women:

You are not going to suddenly look like the hulk, gaining a little muscle makes your body look better and is good for you. Female body builders spend years of hard work to look like they do, it doesn't happen by accident.