The Food and Drug Administration’s official Food Guide Pyramid, first introduced in 1992, detailed how Americans should eat. It was replaced in 2005 with MyPyramid and, in 2011, MyPlate became the latest FDA food cartoon.
In any iteration, the FDA recommends an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates and a deficiency of fats and proteins. When it comes to weight loss, these guides are hardly helpful. Broken down by each of the three primary macronutrients, here is how you can tweak the FDA recommendations to overcome weight loss resistance:
- FDA Recommends: 50 grams/200 calories a day. That’s about 10 percent of a 2,000-calorie daily diet.
- The Problem: These recommendations are very low. Outside of achieving bodily nitrogen balance, the FDA does not account for the multitude of other benefits that healthy proteins offer. While proteins are the only nutrient that provide nitrogen—which is essential for DNA synthesis, these guidelines shortchange the variety of weight loss benefits that proteins can offer.
- Preferred: Triple the FDA recommendations. For weight loss, aim for 30 percent of your daily calories to come from high-quality proteins (grass-fed beef, cage-free poultry, non-denatured whey, raw dairy, etc.). This way you maintain nitrogen balance while also speeding your metabolism, maintaining blood sugar levels and balancing weight loss hormones.
- FDA Recommends: 65 grams/585 calories a day (20 grams from saturated fat). Total, fats account for about 29 percent of daily diet.
- The Problem: As we have said before, fats—especially saturated fats—have gotten a bad rap. Fats alone do not cause weight gain. However, a lack of fats will leave you hungry and sluggish.
- Preferred: To lose weight sustainably, you should actually increase the amount of fats you eat. Aim to bump up your fat intake to about 40 percent of your daily calories, while also reducing your daily intake carbohydrates. Eliminate not only refined carbohydrates, but even whole grain while filling up on healthy fats (avocado, walnuts, olive oil, etc.). This will reduce cravings by keeping you feeling full, and simultaneously prompts your body to burn fat for fuel instead of simple carbs and sugars.
- FDA Recommends: 300 grams/1,200 calories a day. Sixty percent of daily diet.
- The Problem: Refined, man-made carbs lack nutrients and are often made from genetically modified ingredients. What’s more, any grains or starch, even whole ones, raise blood sugar and can lead to fat storage and inflammation. An overabundance of carbs will ultimately lead to weight loss resistance.
- Preferred: Reducing carb consumption to about 30 percent of your daily intake will help boost energy levels. (This is what we call our Core Plan.) Organic berries and vegetables are nutrient-dense, offering the most nutritional bang for your buck when eating carbs. To overcome weight loss resistance, inflammation and balance your hormones, all carbs—even fruits and whole grains—should be temporarily eliminated and dramatically reduced long term.
The Food Guide Pyramid was proven wrong and MyPlate isn't any better. Fortunately, you do not need a personal chef to lose weight and feel better. Long-term health is impacted at every meal, so remember that all three macronutrients are required for your body to function properly.
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For more information on how to eat for nutritional satisfaction, contact Dr. Nick Barnes at www.212DegreesOfWellness.com
No doctor in your area yet? Feel free to check out the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book.