While there’s no magic formula for weight loss, both calorie consumption and macronutrient composition are vital considerations.
Energy balance (the relationship between calories in and calories out) ultimately determines whether weight is lost, gained, or maintained.
Macronutrient composition, on the other hand (the percentage of fat, carbohydrate, and protein consumed each day) plays a role in hormone synthesis, hormone signaling, satiety, and muscle wasting.
Macronutrient composition is often overlooked in the context of weight management. However, protein, fat, and carbohydrate all play an important role in weight loss and weight maintenance and should be considered.
Fat Requirements: Understanding Macronutrients
It’s helpful to consider how all three macronutrients factor in weight loss. However, protein and fat are particularly important.
Whenever you lose weight, you will inevitably lose some muscle: consuming sufficient dietary protein ensures that you preserve muscle mass insomuch as you are able during the weight loss process.
Fat, on the other hand, is required for hormone synthesis and signaling.
Benefits of Dietary Fat
Hormones – simply put – are chemical messengers that relay signals throughout the body, from individual cells and larger systems of tissue, including organs like the heart and brain.
Hormones play a role in virtually every process of the human body, from muscle wasting and muscle growth to hunger, satiety, vitamin and mineral absorption, and fat loss.
Certain vitamins are known as fat-soluble vitamins. In other words, the body requires fat to absorb and utilize nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble.
Consuming an insufficient amount of dietary fat risks absorption and utilization rates, which may negatively affect hunger and lead to excessive degeneration of bone, muscle, and collagen.
Types of Healthy Fats
While the body is able to synthesize certain types of fat and protein from raw material, other proteins and fats are essential and must be consumed through diet. Just as much talked about essential amino acids must be consumed through diet, essential fatty acids must also be consumed through diet, as the body is incapable of synthesizing them independently.
Linoleic acid and linolenic acid are both essential fatty acids vital in hormone signaling and regulatory pathways of the neurological and cardiovascular system.
While many dieters try to reduce fat in an effort to lose fat, this tactic often fails as hunger increases exponentially, energy declines, and motivation pitters out.
Although fat needs vary depending on age, activity level, gender, and health status, 20% of total calories is recommended for the average, moderately active adult.
Always consume fat through fish, nuts, olives, seeds, avocado, and other unsaturated sources in lieu of saturated fats, which increase inflammation and disease risk.