Welcome back to our Ask the Science Team series! This month, we’ve asked Afa K. Palu, Unicity’s director of research and development, to tackle a popular topic: diets. Dr. Palu breaks down the science behind what makes diets most effective for weight management.
What is the best diet for weight management?
The best diet for weight management has to be the type of diet that will support you in your journey to achieve your optimal health. Scientific research studies show that a plant-based diet is the ideal, but we do not live in the ideal world. We need to seek out dietary supplements to supplement our diet in order to get the much-needed vitamins, minerals, and fibers that we would get from a plant-based diet. Additionally, we need more fruits and vegetables in our diet.
Is any diet sustainable long term?
Yes and no. If you do not have any supply and accessibility issues, then a particular diet you set up for yourself can be sustained; otherwise, the diet you want to stay on will need to be modified from time to time to ensure you’re getting the benefits you want.
With any diet, you need to have a long-term approach to maintain that diet no matter the circumstances. Know what your limits will be ahead of time so you can be prepared to make adjustments as needed.
Why does Unicity recommend a low-carb, high-protein diet?
Research has shown that the best weight-management results come from a low-carb, high-protein diet. When we say low-carb, we’re talking primarily about simple carbohydrates. Carbohydrates from natural and organic foods are considered complex carbohydrates, which require a lot more calories for the body to burn, so they help with weight management. Simple carbohydrates, on the other hand, increase your blood sugar levels more quickly and then may be converted to fats for storage down the road.
As for the high-protein part of the diet, it is best to consume more plant-based proteins and less animal proteins. We need more protein as we age, and most definitely those who exercise or live an active lifestyle need a little bit more to support muscle growth, which will help burn more calories as your work to support your weight-management program.
What types of carbs should I stay away from?
Refined carbohydrates, starches, simple sugars, and carbohydrates high on the glycemic index. These carbs contribute to increases in blood sugar, which further promote abnormal blood sugar metabolism over time.
Is it better to eat the majority of carbs earlier in the day or should I spread them out?
It is better to spread out your net carbs throughout the day. You wouldn’t want to get to dinner and find out you already consumed your day’s worth of carbs. Spreading out your complex carbohydrate consumptions will also lessen the blood sugar spike after you eat your meals and will help to normalize your insulin releases.
Why is fiber so important?
Fibers (both soluble and insoluble) help to slow the rate of digestion during meals. Slowing your digestion allows the body to release the sugars and other nutrients into the bloodstream at a slower and steadier pace. Concomitantly, fiber expands as it reacts with water in your stomach, which will fill it up and allow you to feel fuller than you would eating a meal with less fiber. Additionally, research has shown that consuming more fiber supports the lowering of cholesterol in our bodies, which will help with any weight-management program.
What role does intermittent fasting play in a healthy diet?
Intermittent fasting as outlined in the 16:8 program seems to be optimal with weight management. How long the food stays in our stomach varies depending on the composition of the food we eat. The denser the food we eat, the longer it stays in our stomach. Hence, intermittent fasting allows your body the time that it needs to digest the food properly before the next meal. This will also help with any weight management programs as well.