J-Lo Fat Loss Secret - High Protein Low Carb Diet
Jennifer Lopez managed to lose three stone 2lbs (20kg) after the birth of here twins, Max and Emme. She got back to her pre-pregnancy weight of eight stone seven pounds (54kg) in only eight weeks. Her secret is her body coach Gunnar Peterson and her desire to complete a triathlon! Now, not all of us can afford personal trainers, or have the drive to get up at 4am and then have the staff to look after the babies when we collapse with exhaustion later in the day. But we can all follow her low carb high protein diet accompanied by some sensible exercising.
The ideal diet varies from person to person, but one thing that is clear is that many health professionals and even our Governments advise intakes of carbohydrate that are greater than is good for us.
In particular, while starchy carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals have for a long time been promoted as wholesome, nutritious and healthy, the reality is that they tend to be bad for blood sugar and insulin levels in a way that can lead to all sorts of problems including weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Critics of low carbohydrate diets often do so on the basis of safety. This is ironic because there is actually quite a bit of evidence which shows that lower-carb diets generally lead to significant improvement in certain markers for disease including blood fat levels and measures of blood sugar status.
One such study was published in the on-line journal Nutrition and Metabolism. This study took 50 overweight or obese individuals (average body mass index 33.6) and randomised them to eat one of two test diets. One of these diets was relatively low in protein and rich in carbohydrate. The other was higher in protein (1.6 g of protein per kg of body weight) and lower in carbohydrate (less than 170 g of carbohydrate compared to more than 240 g in the other diet). Both diets were calorie-restricted, supplying 500 calories less per day than the amount estimated to be required to maintain stable weight. The study lasted for four months.
At the end of the study, the higher protein, lower carb eaters had lost more weight (9.1 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent of those eating more carb and less protein), though the difference was not statistically significant. The group eating less carb lost more fat than the higher carb consumers, and this difference was statistically significant (8.7 per cent v 5.7 per cent).
Higher fat loss is important here, because it reminds us that weight loss tells us nothing about what actually has been lost. For individuals who are carry extra fat, fat is the thing that is what needs shifting, and the higher protein, lower carb diet was the clear winner here. And part of the explanation may lie in the fact that the lower carbohydrate diet, in theory at least, should have led to lower levels of the hormone insulin, which happens to be the chief hormone responsible for fat deposition in the body.
Evidence which supports this concept comes from the finding in this study that the lower carb diet led to lower insulin levels after eating compared to the higher carb diet. The difference was statistically significant. Less insulin might not only mean less fat, it may well mean lower risk of type 2 diabetes in time too.
Other statistically significant benefits of the higher protein, lower carb diet were seen in the levels of triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.
The authors of this study conclude: “A weight loss diet with moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein results in more favorable changes in body composition, dyslipidemia, and post-prandial INS [insulin] response compared to a high carbohydrate, low protein diet suggesting an additional benefit beyond weight management to include augmented risk reduction for metabolic disease.”
Sample High Protein Low Carb Menu
Everyone’s needs are different, which is why the National Academy of Sciences recommends a range of 10% to 35% of calories from protein. If you’re eating a higher-protein diet, try daily menus like this one to get the most nutrition from your low-carb lifestyle.
Yogurt fruit crunch with:
Low fat yogurt (8 oz. or 1 cup)
Sliced fresh fruit: banana, strawberries, blueberries (1/2 cup)
Low fat cereal (3/4 cup)
Orange juice fortified with calcium (6 oz.)
Vegetable soup (1 cup)
Spinach salad with:
Fresh spinach (1 cup)
One hard-boiled egg
Sliced, grilled chicken breast (3 oz.)
Shredded carrots (1/2 cup)
Sliced mushrooms (1/2 cup)
Dried cranberries (2 tablespoons)
Crumbled feta cheese (1 tablespoons)
Chopped almonds (1 tablespoons)
Low calorie dressing (2 tablespoons)
Whole grain crackers (4 to 6)
Sparkling water with lemon
Roasted Pecan Salmon [see recipe below]
Steamed asparagus with lemon (1/2 cup)
Brown rice with chopped red pepper (1/2 cup)
Mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes and light vinaigrette (1 cup w/ 2 tablespoons dressing)
One whole-grain roll
Iced tea (unsweetened)
One cup skim milk and 1/2 cup berries blended with ice to make a shake.
ROASTED PECAN SALMON
4 salmon filets (4-6 oz. each)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 teaspoon parsley
Wedges of fresh lemon
1. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Place skin side down on baking sheet.
2. Combine mustard and honey, brush on top of salmon.
3. Mix topping of breadcrumbs, nuts, and parsley and sprinkle over salmon.
4. Bake at 400 degrees 10-15 minutes or until flaky. Serve with wedges of fresh lemon.
Nutritional Information per serving: 265 calories, 29 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 4.7 g monounsaturated fat, 4.3 g polyunsaturated fat, 78 mg cholesterol, 0.4 grams fiber, 282 grams sodium and 42% calories from fat.