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Best Diet Plan for Overweight People (Cont'd)

What's the best diet plan for overweight adults? This online guide helps you plan your weight loss diet in a way that will boost your metabolism, keep fat-storing hormones under control and increase the feeling of fullness.

Note that this is the second page of a two-page article on the optimal diet plan for overweight people. If you missed the first page of the article, click here.

#8:  Cut Down on Calories, Especially in the Evening

To lose weight, you will have to create a calorie deficit, either by reducing calorie intake from foods so that your body must draw on reserves for energy (such as fat stored within your body) or by increasing physical activity. One way to restrict your calorie intake is to use cooking methods like steaming, boiling, roasting without oil, and grilling which use less fat than for example frying.

To lose 1 pound per week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories per week. This can be done by reducing a daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Most health professionals recommend creating a caloric deficit of 3,500 to 7,000 per week for healthy and successful weight loss. An extreme deficit (a deficit exceeding 7,000-10,500 calories per week) can compromise bodily functions and even result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal.

To lose 1 pound per week, you need to create a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories.

Furthermore, cutting too many calories may also be counterproductive to weight loss efforts, as extremely low calorie diets promote the activity of fat-storing enzymes and decrease the activity of fat-burning enzymes in the body. In addition, cutting too many of calories may result in a decrease in the metabolic rate and thus fewer calories will be burned throughout the day.

In addition to restricting the amount of calories consumed, overweight people should pay attention to the timing of the daily caloric intake. It is generally recommended to spread the calories throughout the day by having 5-6 small meals. This will keep the metabolism humming and reduce cravings for sweets and starches. The breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day as a big breakfast will help rev up your metabolism and you will burn more fat throughout the day.

#9:  Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is extremely high in calories: 7 calories per gram, almost as many as in a gram of fat. Most of the indigested alcohol is converted into acetate by the liver, which is then released into the bloodstream. The body prefers acetate over other fuels, particularly fat, thus putting the brakes on fat loss. In addition, an alcoholic drink either prior to, or during a meal, has been shown to increase the caloric intake at the meal, probably due to the appetite promoting effects of alcohol.

#10:  Watch Out for Fats but Don't Eliminate the Good Fats Completely

A high intake of dietary fat can lead to weight gain and obesity. Fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. A gram of fat provides 9 calories (39kJ) whereas a gram of carbohydrates or protein contains 4 calories (16.8kJ). Furthermore, contrary to the common belief, fats are the least filling of all the macronutrients (you become hungry sooner after a fatty meal than a meal high in fiber-rich carbohydrates or protein). Fat also has a low thermogenic effect, that is, the body uses very little energy for the breakdown of fat (only 0-3 percent of its calorific value). In contrast, protein has a high thermogenic effect (20-30 percent), which means that the body burns a significant share of the calories provided by a protein-rich meal in the process of breaking down and digesting the meal.

EFAs—found in nuts, seeds, fatty fish and unrefined whole grains—are necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

That said, it is important not to completely eliminate all fats from diet. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) — found in large quantities in such foods as nuts, seeds, fatty fish and unrefined whole grains — are absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of the body. These fats cannot be synthesized by the body and must therefore be obtained through diet.

In contrast, saturated fats — found in foods from animal sources like meat and dairy, should be avoided. These fats have been shown to promote fat accumulation and weight gain more than the unsaturated EFAs. The body does need saturated fats in very small amounts for some particular purposes, but the body is able to synthesize its own saturated fatty acids when needed.

Trans fats, yet another type of fat, should be completely eliminated from diet. These fats are formed in a chemical process that food manufacturers use to turn liquid oils into solid fats and to increase the shelf life of foods. They are most often found in fried foods, vegetable shortenings, hard margarine, cookies, crackers, chips, and baked goods. In addition to their other detrimental effects on health, trans fats can lead to a higher overall body weight, even when the total caloric intake is controlled. In one animal study, male monkeys were fed either a western-style diet containing trans fats or a diet that contained monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. All monkeys received the same, modest amount of calories. The monkeys who ate trans fats had a 7.2 percent increase in body weight, compared to a 1.8 percent increase in monkeys that were fed monounsaturated fats.

#11:  Drink Plenty of Water

Water provides no calories but can increase the feeling of fullness. In fact, it has been suggested that drinking large volumes of ice-cold water could actually burn calories. This is because ice cold water needs to be warmed to body temperature when it enters the body, and that requires energy. Consuming 2 liters of ice water a day could result in roughly 70 extra calories burned.

Drinking ice-cold water can help burn calories.

What's more, staying well hydrated encourages the body to use the kidneys, rather than the liver, for eliminating waste products. One of the liver's main functions is the conversion of energy from stored body fat. If the liver does not have to focus on eliminating waste products, it can concentrate on mobilizing body fat.

#12:  Go for Low-GI Carbs

Carbs that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid, large rise in blood glucose levels, which in turn triggers the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, but high amounts of insulin promote fat storage in the body. In contrast, low-GI carbs, which take much longer to digest, cause only a small, slow rise in the blood glucose and insulin levels. In addition, low-GI foods reduce cravings as they provide the body with a slow, steady supply of energy. Most non-starchy vegetables, legumes and fruit have a low GI rating while most refined carbohydrate-rich foods and potatoes are rated high on the Glycemic Index.

#13:  Increase Your Fiber Intake

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that the enzymes in your body cannot digest. It is therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream and thus provides zero calories. Furthermore, the fact that foods high in fiber generally require more chewing and the fact that the brain is ten minutes behind the stomach, give the body time to realize it is full and thus reduce the odds of overeating. High fiber foods also tend to make meals linger in the stomach, leaving you feeling full for longer.

#14:  Burn Calories with Capsaicin

Several studies suggest that capsaicin, the major pungent ingredient in cayenne peppers, can increase the body's heat production (thermogenesis). This in turn increases the rate at which the body burns carbohydrates and fats. One study showed that capsaicin in hot chillies could increase the resting metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns carbohydrates and fats at rest) by up to 25%. The effects on the metabolic rate peaked at 75 to 90 minutes after the consumption of the capsaicin and lasted for up to 3 hours.

Research also indicates that capsaicin may be able to suppress appetite and reduce the amount of calories consumed during subsequent meals: In one trial, half of the subjects were given tomato juice with chili powder, while the rest drank it plain. Those who drank the capsaicin-enriched beverage consumed 16% fewer calories on average.

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