Weight loss: Calorie restriction is ‘not sustainable’ or ‘healthy’ long-term says expert

NHS: Better Health users discuss the weight loss plan

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Weight loss is achieved through a calorie deficit which means a slimmer is burning more calories than consuming. However, according to one expert, this shouldn’t be done forever and losing the pounds is as easy as including more whole foods into your diet. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Rupy Aujla, known for his incredible passion for educating people about the transformative power of food through the Doctor’s Kitchen, has shared his top weight loss tips.

He said: “A healthy dietary pattern is something you want to look at as a long-term strategy for health, but the word ‘diet’ has short-term connotations. 

“This isn’t helpful as a short-term fix isn’t going to have downstream effects on longevity and overall health. 

“Diets are not sustainable when they are short term because it often leads to ‘yo-yoing’ and falling off the wagon. 

“It doesn’t allow enough space for indulgence! A dietary pattern which is conducive to, and includes, parameters which can be maintained are certainly sustainable – this is where the 3-2-1 message comes about. 

“Ensuring you’re having at least three portions of fruit and/or vegetables at every meal time means you know that your regular way of eating counteracts moments of indulgence.”

When it comes to losing weight, volume eating is recommended because it means more food can be consumed for very few calories.

Volume eating can be done with some fruits and vegetables because they are extremely nutritious as well as being low in calories.

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The expert added: “The cons surrounding diets usually boil down to sustainability. When you employ a strategy which reduces calories, a very common dietary method, your weight set-point changes. 

“This is something I’ve recently discussed on a podcast with a friend of mine who is a Bariatrics surgeon. When you rapidly change your calorific content of food, the body goes into ‘starvation mode’ which means it will hold on to as many calories and preserve as much fat as possible. 

“This is why people tend to plateau, despite having a consistent calorie deficit for a long period of time. This also leads to people falling off the wagon because they are less motivated, usually by the three-month mark, so they will regain the weight they rapidly lost.”

Healthline recommends not making your calorie deficit too large because it is unsustainable and puts slimmers at risk of nutrient deficiency.

Instead it explained that those wanting to lose weight should eat 500 fewer calories per day.

But a calorie deficit isn’t forever, there are times where a dieter may have to up their daily calories to keep motivated long-term.

Dr Rupy went on: “This again is another argument for sustainable changes, rather than just looking at a way of losing weight through calorie deficit. 

“Calorie restriction is one of the reasons why dieting is not a good long-term option. Following diet trends are also best to avoid because they tend to cut out certain elements – whether that be calories, food groups etc. and if you’re missing key food groups such as carbohydrates, for example, you aren’t going to be getting nutrients such as essential plant chemicals or B-vitamins from wholegrains – especially without the knowledge of where you can find them in other food groups! 

“Dieting is not a great long-term answer – yes it works well if you’d like to lose weight rapidly for an event or something, but again it feeds into a short-terminist mindset and has other negative psychological consequences, especially if you’re constantly going up and down in weight. 

“The best thing to do, in my opinion, would be to assess what your overall goals are and the reasons for changing your diet in the first place. If you want to be healthy, energetic, feel vibrant and achieve a sense of vitality, a long-term, sustainable strategy is best. 

“Obviously, the best way to lose weight very quickly is calorie deficit – if you starve yourself you’ll lose weight very quickly! 

“But the underlining problem with this is that it’s absolutely not healthy. It’s not healthy whatsoever. 

“The best way to achieve your appropriate weight, the weight which is best for you and your body is to think about whether you are getting the right amount of nutrients. Which is why my focus is fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. We lack this in abundance. 

“We don’t have enough quality fats in our diets, we don’t eat enough plants or variety of plants, or fibre, so a plant-focused strategy is 100 percent the best way to think about these things.”

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