Nutrition for a Person Trying to Lose Weight

Nutrition for a Person Trying to Lose Weight

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Try a protein- and fiber-rich grilled chicken salad.

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Although reducing your total calorie intake is an effective weight-loss strategy, your body still requires plenty of key nutrients to function properly. These nutrients help you avoid unpleasant side effects associated with poor nutrition, such as headache, nausea and fatigue. Choosing a variety of healthy foods each day, and keeping your portion sizes small, will help you safely and effectively shed pounds.

Calorie Count

To lose weight at a pace of about 1 to 2 pounds weekly, which is the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reduce your current intake by about 500 to 1,000 calories a day. For many adults, this equates to about 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Don't drop below 1,000 calories per day unless supervised by your doctor.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber -- but are generally low in calories -- making them beneficial for effective weight loss. The publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" suggests eating 1 cup of fruits and 1.5 cups of veggies daily when following a 1,200-calorie diet; eat 1.5 cups of fruits plus 2 cups of veggies each day when consuming a 1,600-calorie weight-loss meal plan.

Protein-Rich Foods

Because protein increases satiation, it's often beneficial during weight loss, according to a review published in 2008 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams of protein daily for women, notes the Institute of Medicine. Although boosting your protein intake can help you lose weight, avoid obtaining more than 35 percent of your daily calories from protein, which is 105 grams when following a 1,200-calorie diet and 140 grams per day when eating 1,600 calories a day. Protein-rich choices include egg whites, seafood, lean meats, soy products, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Dairy Foods

A review published in 2012 in the “International Journal of Obesity” reports that including dairy products in a reduced-calorie, weight-loss plan significantly improves weight loss and waist circumference, helps reduce body fat and promotes increases in lean muscle mass. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" suggests eating 2.5 cups of dairy foods when consuming 1,200 calories a day and 3 cups of dairy products when following a 1,600-calorie meal plan.