So typically we'd recommend limiting eating calorie-dense foods, which are those that contain a high number of calories per unit volume. The problem with these foods is that while eating a large proportion of your calories in one sitting, and may taste great in the moment. It can cause big spikes in your energy levels and leave you feeling hungry later in the day.
Below is a graph showing how a 500Kcal portion would fill your stomach this hopefully gives you some understanding why calorie-dense foods leave you feeling hungry quicker than lean protein and fruit and vegetables.
Calorie Density Of Food
- Liquid Calories
- Heavy Processed Foods
- Lean Proteins
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Liquid Calories
- Heavy Processed Foods
- Lean Proteins
- Fruits & Vegetables
Before starting any weight loss/transformation process, it's recommended to do an inventory of your fridge and cupboards. Get rid of any non-diet-friendly foods( preferably by donating to a food bank rather than have one last blow out). You are more likely to make bad food choices if you have tempting foods in your kitchen.
Next stock up on the ingredients that will be staples of your new eating habits. Keep things simple, we've grouped food groups based on whether they will help hit your protein, fat, or carbohydrate targets.
The food tables are not a complete database of every known food and drink. Instead, they are choices that are most conducive to fat loss, staying healthy and we recommend basing most of your new eating habits around.
|intID||Source||Lean Protein||Fatty Protein|
The two main types of protein sources are:
- Animal: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
- Plant: grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and soy-based products.
Proteins are made of smaller subunits called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids in the food supply, nine which are essential amino acids, this means you must get them from your diet.
The EAAs content of a protein source is the primary determinant of its quality. Every meal doesn't have to include them, but you do need to get enough of each type over the course of the whole day for the best muscle-building results.
Animal protein sources contain all the EAAs your body needs and are complete proteins. Many plant sources (but not all) are deficient in one or and are incomplete.
Meat eaters don't have to worry about their EAA intake if they are meeting their daily protein targets. However, Plant-based dieters need to be more strategic with meal planning.
The biggest challenge you will face is getting enough protein while controlling your calorie intake. For example, protein accounts for 80% of the total calories in a 150g sirloin steak. it only makes up 35% of the equivalent number of calories from almonds.
The table below lists some of the lowest-calorie plant-based protein sources. It shows the serving size required for 20g of protein and how many calories this is equal to.
We recommend consuming at least part of your daily protein intake in supplement form.
Aminal protein sources can be either categorised as lean or fatty.
- Lean protein contains less than 10% fat per 100g of uncooked weight.
- Fatty protein contains more than 10% per 100g of uncooked weight.
The table below shows how easy you can consume extra calories while eating equal portions of lean and fatty protein sources.
|Protein Source||Uncooked Serving||Calories||Protein||Fat|
Including more lean protein sources than fatty in your diet will leave you with more calories left over after hitting your protein target. Allowing you to include a greater volume of foods elsewhere in your diet, this is the key to staying full.
Fatty proteins are not unhealthy. In fact, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are key sources of essential fatty acids, and red meats like steak contain several important micronutrients, such as zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
Previously we listed the most common lean and fatty protein sources, but you need to be aware that the caloric content of a protein source can vary based on several factors:
- The cut, e.g. fillet vs ribeye steak.
- Processing method, e.g. minced meat can range from 5%-30% fat based on the type of meat used.
- Differences between the suppliers of the same product type.
- Some fatty protein sources are also available in reduced-fat versions.
Protein powders can be can a convenient way of hitting your protein targets when you are :
- Struggling with your appetite, e.g. first thing in the morning.
- Unable to prepare a meal, e.g. When traveling.
- Short on time, e.g. work commitments.
The thing is liquid meals aren't as filling as whole foods, but you can bulk out your shakes with fruit or vegetables, or combine powers with yoghurt and oats to make it a more filling meal.
Protein powders are also available as food bars, which usually provide around 20% protein per bar. These can help satisfy cravings for sweet foods, but they are calorie-dense and quick to eat.
When choosing protein powders watch out for mass gainer protein powders as they are typically low quality and high in calories. Look for a product that's less than 5g of carbohydrate per 100g (vegan powders may be greater than 5g).
You should try and limit protein supplements to around 20% of your daily protein intake and use whole food sources to make up the rest of your target. For most people this would equal one shake per day.
There are three main types of dietary fat, which all have different chemical structures and effects on the body. Saturated fatty acids (SFAs), monounsaturated Fatty acids (MUFAs), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
Most fat-rich foods contain a mixture of all three types but are typically higher in one type, which determines their physical properties. Fat sources proportionately higher in SFAs are solid at room temperature, whereas higher in unsaturated fats tend to be softer or liquid.
Fats high in SFAs include animal products like meat, egg yolks, and dairy fats. Coconut oil is one of the few plant sources high in SFAs.
SFAs have a reputation for being bad, and some studies have associated high intakes with increased risk of heart disease. However, if you exercise on a regular base, control your calorie intake, and include a balance of fats in your diet then the risks are minimal.
Removing SFAs completely from your diet would be very difficult to do, and would require extreme dietary changes that would most likely result in insufficient protein intake and several micronutrient deficiencies.
Fats high in MUFAs include various meats, olive oil, oil in avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Most health organisations label MUFA's as healthy fats and research suggest that they may help in lowering Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) this is the bad cholesterol.
MUFA's will make up most of your total fat intake, as things like nuts and oils are easy to add to your meals.
The two main types of PUFAs are omega-3 and omega-6. Unlike other fats, these are essential nutrients and you must include them in your diet.
Most people will consume enough omega-6 naturally, but it is a lot more common for people to get suboptimal amounts of omega-3.
Fish oils have wide-ranging effects on the body and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several other negative health outcomes.
Most of the benefits of fish oil occur over a period of weeks and months. So, it is better to think of it as a nutritional insurance policy than a magic bullet.
Fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, are the best sources and we recommend including them as protein in your meal plan two to three times per week.
Plant sources such as flaxseed and walnuts contain a type of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which converts to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid(DHA) (these are found naturally in fish oil) in the body. However this conversion process is not very efficient, and we recommend focusing on marine sources for the greatest benefits.
Fish oil supplements can help simplify your meal planning and are a viable alternative for vegetarians and anyone who does not like the taste of fish.