What is the best diet for losing weight?
Maintaining a healthy weight can be tough and losing weight, even tougher. Some diets don’t work at all and none of them work for everyone, our bodies often respond differently to different foods. But while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food and achieve lasting weight-loss success.
Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. Food is being converted to energy to run cellular processes. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to the sum of all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells.
Enzymes are important for weight loss and maintenance due to their starring role in digestion. The enzymes in food, and the ones produced naturally in your body, assist many chemical processes that keep you alive and healthy. Enzyme production stays steady throughout our 20s and 30s, but may be reduced by up to 25% by our 40s.
Enzymes are proteins produced by our cells and by all animals, plants and living organisms. There are specialized proteins to perform different functions. An enzyme can synthesize chemicals, rearrange molecules or add substances to compounds. An enzyme needs a specific substance to work on – if the substance isn’t available, the enzyme can’t do its job. The digestive enzymes that are important for weight loss help break down the food we eat and keep our metabolism burning fat. The enzymes important for weight loss include lipase, protease and amylase.
What Do Enzymes Do?
Enzymes function as catalysts, and increase the rate at which a reaction occurs. All the chemical reactions in the human body need enzymes to accelerate their movement. An enzyme molecule works on chemical reactions without changing or being damaged, and could alter a countless number of substrates if given the time. Increasing the amount of enzyme molecules involved in a process decreases the reaction time.
Getting Enzymes from Food
All uncooked foods have enzyme activity, even red meat. When cooked or processed for canning, the enzymes are destroyed. This is one of the reasons raw foods are so much better for you than cooked foods – they still have the power of enzymes.
When you buy bananas from the store or farmer’s market, they contain the enzyme amylase. After a few days, amylase converts the starch in the banana to sugar, making it ripe and sweet to taste. The act of canning vegetables or fruits preserves the food, but destroys enzymes. (Always choose fresh produce over canned fruits and veggies to experience the nutritious power of enzymes). Your body produces fewer digestive enzymes when you eat lots of raw foods. The enzymes in food do the work, and enzymes are important for weight loss.The enzymes in food can last in your stomach’s 4.5 to 5.5 pH for awhile and aid digestion.
Enzymes are Important for Weight Loss Because They Keep You Regular
If your diet contains few raw foods and lots of processed or frozen foods, you may not receive the amount of enzymes, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Diets deficient in fiber, minerals and enzymes may cause you to become constipated. If you suffer from constipation on a regular basis for months or years, it will impair your digestive system. The enzymes in your digestive tract will be depleted, and you’ll feel bloated and heavy.
Regular constipation causes fecal matter to build up in your digestive tract. This causes you to weigh more – you may be carrying up to five pounds of fecal matter in your colon. Poor digestion does more than cause you temporary discomfort. It makes you overweight and may lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux (GERD), fatigue, anemia, or dysbiosis (an imbalance in natural gut bacteria).
Enzymes are important for weight loss and for proper digestion. If your digestive system can’t break down food, you won’t absorb nutrients (causing fatigue or anemia) or detoxify your body. You’ll develop a sluggish metabolism and gain weight. When your digestion is poor, the food you consume won’t supply your body with sufficient energy or help build healthy muscles and tissues.
Change your diet if you want to lose weight. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, whole grains, seeds, nuts and beans. Replace soda, energy drinks and coffee with unsweetened tea, water, juice and low fat or soy milk. Exercise more-even taking a daily walk in the neighborhood will help you lose weight and get your digestion system working efficiently.
Some foods that which contain these digestive enzymes necessary for weight loss are;
- Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds, could help increase your metabolism for a few hours. They do so by requiring your body to use more energy to digest them.
This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). The TEF refers to the number of calories needed by your body to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meals. Research shows that protein-rich foods increase TEF the most. For example, they increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.
- Iron, Zinc and Selenium-Rich Foods
Iron, zinc and selenium each play different but equally important roles in the proper function of your body. However, they do have one thing in common: all three are required for the proper function of your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism. Research shows that a diet too low in iron, zinc or selenium may reduce the ability of your thyroid gland to produce sufficient amounts of hormones. This can slow down your metabolism
To help your thyroid function to the best of its ability, include zinc, selenium and iron-rich foods like meat, seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds in your daily menu.
- Chili Peppers
Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, may boost your metabolism by increasing the number of calories and fat you burn. In fact, a review of 20 research studies reports that capsaicin can help your body burn around 50 extra calories per day.
This effect was initially observed after taking 135–150 mg of capsaicin per day, but some studies report similar benefits with doses as low as 9–10 mg per day. Moreover, capsaicin may have appetite-reducing properties.
According to a recent study, consuming 2 mg of capsaicin directly before each meal seems to reduce the number of calories consumed, especially from carbs.
4. Legumes and pulses
Legumes and pulses, such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and peanuts, are particularly high in protein compared to other plant foods.
Studies suggest that their high protein content requires your body to burn a greater number of calories to digest them, compared to lower-protein foods.
Legumes also contain a good amount of dietary fiber, such as resistant starch and soluble fiber, which your body can use to feed the good bacteria living in your intestines.
In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which may help your body use stored fat as energy and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
In one study, humans consuming a legume-rich diet for eight weeks experienced beneficial changes in metabolism and lost 1.5 times more weight than the control group.
Legumes are also high in arginine, an amino acid that may increase the amount of carbs and fat your body can burn for energy
Cacao and cocoa are tasty treats that may also benefit your metabolism. For instance, studies in mice found that cocoa and cocoa extracts may promote the expression of genes that stimulate the use of fat for energy. This seems especially true in mice fed high-fat or high-calorie diets.
Interestingly, one study suggests that cocoa may prevent the action of enzymes necessary to break down fat and carbs during digestion. In doing so, cocoa could theoretically play a role in preventing weight gain by reducing the absorption of some calories.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may increase your metabolism. Several animal studies have shown vinegar to be particularly helpful in increasing the amount of fat burned for energy. Apple cider vinegar is often claimed to boost metabolism in humans, but few studies have investigated the matter directly. Nevertheless, apple cider vinegar may still help you lose weight in other ways, such as slowing stomach emptying and enhancing feelings of fullness.
One study in humans even showed that participants given four teaspoons (20 ml) of apple cider vinegar ate up to 275 fewer calories over the rest of the day.
If you’d like to give apple cider vinegar a try, be careful to limit your daily consumption to two tablespoons (30 ml).
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is experiencing a surge in popularity. That may be partly because coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). This is contrary to most other types of fats, which usually contain higher amounts of long-chain fatty acids.
Unlike long-chain fats, once MCTs are absorbed, they go directly to the liver to be turned into energy. This makes them less likely to be stored as fat.
Interestingly, several studies show that MCTs can increase metabolic rate more than longer-chain fats.
Drinking enough water is a great way to stay hydrated. Additionally, it seems that drinking water may also temporarily boost metabolism by 24–30%.
Researchers note that about 40% of that increase is explained by the additional calories needed to heat the water to body temperature.
Seaweed is a great source of iodine, a mineral required for the production of thyroid hormones and proper function of your thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormones have various functions, one of which is to regulate your metabolic rate. Regularly consuming seaweed can help you meet your iodine needs and keep your metabolism running at a high rate.
The reference daily intake of iodine for adults is 150 mcg per day. This can be met by consuming several servings of seaweed per week. Although, some types of seaweed such as kelp are extremely high in iodine and should not be consumed in large amounts. Fucoxanthin is another compound found in some varieties of seaweed that may help with metabolism.
It’s primarily found in brown seaweed varieties and may have anti-obesity effects by increasing the amount of calories you burn.
Feel free to share additional tips on diets that can be beneficial for the weight loss journey.