Once considered a problem of high-income countries only, weight problems are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 65% of the world’s population lives in countries where being overweight affects more people than being underweight.1
In Australia, prevalence of overweight adults has risen to 63.4% in 2011-12 from 61.2% in 2007-08 and 56.3% in 1995.2
There are a number of reasons why people gain weight and encounter trouble losing it. These include:
As part of a balanced diet, most individuals should consume approximately 30% protein, 50% complex carbohydrates and 15% fats of total calories. However, when following a fat-reduced diet as part of a weight management program, it is recommended to replace some dietary carbohydrate with protein.
With adequate intake of protein, your body is better equipped to maintain your muscle mass and prevent muscle breakdown. Muscle is what sets your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more effectively you are able to burn fat from the foods you eat, rather than storing it. Eating protein with every meal/snack also helps to slow down the release of dietary sugars into the bloodstream. This helps to minimise insulin spikes, which may in turn decrease sugar cravings and fat storage.
Many individuals tend to consume an increased amount of simple carbohydrates and sugars, which means consuming a higher amount of calories with low or empty nutrient content, and therefore leading to weight gain and nutrient deficiencies. Simple carbohydrate and high GI foods (white bread, pastries, cakes, sweets, pasta, white rice, biscuits, soft drinks) tend to be the bulk of our diet. These foods are also low in nutrients and high in calories/energy that we store as excess fat. The quick release of high amounts of glucose from these foods causes the release of high amounts of insulin into the bloodstream.
Glycaemic index (GI) is a measure of how rapidly a carbohydrate raises blood sugar levels after it is eaten, influencing the amount of insulin released from the pancreas and affecting the use of stored fats as energy. The scale is 0 to 100 (based on either white bread or glucose), with less than 55 being low and greater than 70 being high.
Glycaemic load (GL) is how much carbohydrate is present in a serving of food: GL = GI ÷ 100 x grams of carbohydrate content. The scale is 0 to 60, with less than 10 being low and greater than 20 being high.
You need to know both GI and GL to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar. For example, the carbohydrate in watermelon has a high GI of 72. But there isn’t a lot of carbohydrate in watermelon per serve, so its GL calculates to be low. A serving of 120g watermelon has 6g of available carbohydrate, therefore, according to the formula its GL calculation will be: 72 ÷ 100 x 6 = 4.32, rounded to a GL of 4.
A low GI and GL eating plan can help you lose fat, lower cholesterol, improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin by slowly releasing glucose into your bloodstream, keep your energy levels balanced and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates are associated with greater satiety and greater weight loss, 3-5 especially when combined with physical activity. Exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects on heart health and metabolism, even when not taking weight loss into consideration. And losing just a small amount of weight can have even further benefits for your health.6
Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a weight management program that emphasises the use of whole foods with low glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL). Incorporate nutritious meals consisting of good quality protein and fresh vegetables and fruits and daily exercise, along with additional supplements to support the weight loss process.
Protein is an essential macronutrient in weight loss as it is involved in:
A low-allergenic, sprouted wholegrain brown rice in a high-protein, low carb supplementary food. This is especially ideal for vegetarians, and individuals with food sensitivities.
Australia has one of the highest allergy prevalence rates in the world. Around 20% of Australians suffer from allergy. Food allergy occurs in approximately 1 in 100 adults in NSW. Food intolerance is even more common. Surveys indicate that up to 25% of the population believe they have some sort of food intolerance.7,8
Dairy is one of the food groups much of the population finds they need to avoid. Choose a protein supplement that is dairy-free; an alternative high-protein powder to other protein supplements that use whey from dairy as the source of protein.
If you don’t have enough essential nutrients, your body and brain will have a diminished ability to cope in stressful events, and you may find that your threshold for dealing with stress is significantly lowered. It is important to ensure you are not deficient in nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D3, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
There also specific herbs which can assist in the management of stress. A combination of the herbs magnolia and phellodendron have been shown to assist in regulating stress in the body. This blend may help to balance stress hormones, resulting in improved sleep, improved feelings of wellbeing, reduced stress-related eating and potentially even reduced fat accumulation around your mid-section (in conjunction with healthy eating and exercise of course!)
If you’re struggling with sugar cravings, look for a formula that contains gymnema, chromium and cinnamon to assist normal healthy glucose balance in healthy individuals. A high dose of chromium combined with the herbs gymnema and cinnamon support healthy carbohydrate metabolism.
If you feel as though your weight loss is in plateau, or you simply want to give your body a kick start, Garcinia zeylanica is a species of flowering plant found in Sri Lanka which contains a rich source of hydroxycitric acid (HCA) to reduce the conversion of carbohydrates to fat. When combined with green coffee bean, green tea, L-carnitine, you can give your improved diet and lifestyle program an extra “boost”.
If you’re considering supplementing your diet with a protein powder, ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a high-quality wholegrain brown rice powder.
For more health articles, go to www.bioceuticals.com.au/education