Nutrition for Optimal Body Composition: Top Foods for Fat Loss
Posted: Thu 21 Mar 2013 at 2:44:36 AM by Jana Mathews
Working hard in the gym is important in seeing changes in your body composition, but proper nutrition is the key to achieving amazing results and maintaining them long term. So what are the best foods to help you succeed? Read on and see which of these superfoods are already a part of your diet and what other ones should be!
Good Fats: Nuts, Avocados, Fish
Foods rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids like cold water fish, avocados, walnuts and almonds have many health benefits. The omega-3s found in many types of fish help improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation in the gut. A recent study of healthy adults showed that taking 4 grams of omega-3s a day for 6 weeks significantly increased lean mass and decreased body fat. Nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), which are high in antioxidants, protein and fibre, help increase the metabolic response to eating and keep us satiated. Avocados are also high in antioxidants and are a great addition to your diet.
Have you ever been told that the darker the fruit the better? Well there are reasons for that. Darker fruits are actually lower in sugar than their lighter coloured counterparts. So strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are your best bet for optimal body composition. Although fruit contains naturally occurring sugar, fructose is still sugar at the end of the day and portions should be controlled. However, berries contain fiber, antioxidants, and raspberries contain a unique antioxidant that has been shown to improve the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, making you feel less hungry. This makes them an ideal food to include into your diet.
So why does your personal trainer keep going on about protein powder? Well not only is it great for helping rebuild muscles and combat muscle soreness, whey protein (found in dairy products and taken as a supplement) enables the body to repair tissue and burn fat. It also increases glutathione. Research has shown that when glutathione levels are high, fat loss and performance levels during strength training increase. In one study, men took 22 grams of whey protein daily in conjunction with a strength training program and lost more body fat than a group that only strength trained and didn’t supplement with whey.
Coffee & Green Tea
It has become more widely spread that coffee and green tea both have the ability to increase your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories throughout the day. However, did you know that it can also help the body turn to burning fat rather than glucose for energy? One study showed drinking 500 ml of coffee daily for 4 weeks produced 2.5 kg weight loss in overweight subjects. But we must remember that it's what we put into our coffees that makes them unhealthy (sugar, high fat milk, syrups etc). So drink your coffee responsibly!
Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are high in fibre and help delay carbohydrate absorption. Being dark green in colour we also know broccoli is high in antioxidants and they also help to clear estrogen from the body. When aiming to build muscle the body needs to maximize testosterone and minimize estrogen, showing why these veggies should be included in your diet on a regular.
We all know that eggs are an excellent protein source. But did you know that along with keeping you fuller for longer, you get a nice boost in metabolism on account of the thermic effect of their high protein content? So get cracking!
Refer to Charles Poliquin's article for more on these great foods, and make sure to add them to your next grocery list!