Intentional weight loss is the loss of total body mass as a result of efforts to improve fitness and health, or to change appearance through slimming. Weight loss in individuals who are overweight or obese can reduce health risks,[1] increase fitness,[2] and may delay the onset of diabetes.[1] It could reduce pain and increase movement in people with osteoarthritis of the knee.[2] Weight loss can lead to a reduction in hypertension (high blood pressure), however whether this reduces hypertension-related harm is unclear.[1][not in citation given]
Our diets are meant to have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. When you consume too little of one of these nutrients it means you are consuming too much of another nutrient. Most people who follow a very low-fat diet end up consuming an excess amount of carbohydrates. Too much of any nutrient can cause health problems. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) established the need for each one of these nutrients based on research for optimal health and weight. The DRI set the dietary goals at 45% to 65% from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein. If you follow the Pritikin Principle it would be best to adjust your intake to meet the DRI guidelines.
“This is a great way of eating that I highly recommend to many clients, and I even model in my own life,” says Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, who is in private practice in San Diego and is the co-author of Fertility Foods Cookbook. “Since the premise of the diet is designed to help people who have high blood pressure, low-sodium foods are recommended. But considering that most Americans exceed their daily sodium levels anyway, it’s not surprising that dietitians recommend this style of eating for treating many different conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.”
Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
When fat loss is the goal, the one macronutrient I like to be aware of is protein. Aim for 0.6 – 0.7 grams of protein per pound* of bodyweight as a daily average. If you’re obese, then eat approximately 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of your general-target bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 210 pounds and know 160 pounds is a healthy body weight for you, then eat 0.7 grams per pound of that 160 pound target (in this example that would be about 96-112 grams of protein).
Thanks for your answer on an earlier question of mine. I’m wondering about how many calories I should increase for strength training days. Currently, I take in 130 calories more through a protein powder. I’m not sure if I have a medical problem or if I’m having too much protein or overestimating how many calories I need for lifting, because I’m not finding physical results in fat loss. I measure my waist every two weeks (and weigh myself to recalculate caloric intake value), and I doubt I’m building enough abs to counteract the inches of fat lost. I have a kitchen scale and measuring instruments for my foods. Based on that, I believe I’m eating less calories than I need for my weight and decreasing them by a little every few weeks. It might just be my bone structure and I can’t lose any more inches. My goal isn’t to lose weight and I’m not even sure if I should try to lose fat any more.
The Atkins diet has gone through numerous revisions over the years, though there was never any acknowledgement of flaws in any of the diet plans. Until recently, there have not been any studies on the safety or efficacy of the Atkins diet. Short-term studies have shown improvements in blood cholesterol and blood sugar and an increased weight loss over the first three to six months in comparison to control diets. Unfortunately, the weight loss is not sustained at one year, and the improvements that were seen were due to weight loss and not the actual diet. The long-term safety of low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets is unknown at this time. In a 2007 rating of diet books done by Consumer Reports, the Atkins diet was ranked at the bottom.
But what we’re interested in is the opposite of this… a caloric deficit. This is what happens when we consume LESS than our maintenance level amount. What happens then is that our bodies are forced to find some other source of energy to burn instead. And guess what that source most often is? Yup… your own stored body fat! And this is the one and only cause of fat loss.
This study took 2 groups of women and put them on similar hypocaloric diets (meaning below maintenance level so that a caloric deficit was present). The only difference between the diets of the two groups is that 43% of one group’s daily calorie intake came from sucrose (aka table sugar), while just 4% of the other group’s daily calorie intake came from sucrose. Guess what happened? Despite one group eating a VERY high sugar diet and the other group eating a VERY low sugar diet, they both lost equal amounts of weight and body fat. Why? Because it’s NOT the source of your calories that causes fat loss, it’s the presence of a caloric deficit.

Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers and diet professionals at every level.


So best stock up on protein-enriched products then? ‘Supplements should only be used if you can’t meet your targets through a healthy, balanced diet alone,’ Vine says. ‘The more nutritious sources of energy you feed your body with, the more it will want to use them – meaning your training will improve, you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle, and you’ll lose more body fat.’
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