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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should I eat in order to lose body fat and retain muscle?

    Please recommend a diet that would enable me to lose body weight and retain/build muscle.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Thanks

    Fumi Somehara

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Fumi is a dietitian (APD) specialising in Dancer's Health and Eating Disorders Treatment. Her work is grounded in Health At Every Size (R) and Non-Diet … View Profile

    Hi there,

    First of all, I'd be curious to know what your current eating and exercise habits are like. Because without knowing you individually, we can't come up with any eating plans that suits your preferences and lifestyle!

    To start things off, it's a good idea to eat from a variety of the main food groups. These are whole grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy (or alternatives which are calcium-rich, like soy and ntus), and protein foods (meat/fish/legumes/nuts).

    Whole grains will provide you with carbohydrate, required as a fuel for your body. We can't train optimally if we don't have the fuel to get us going.

    Vegetables and fruits will give you essential vitamins and minerals required for biological processes to work in your body.

    Dairy (or aternatives) will provide you with calcium to maintain bone strength. Calcium's also required for muscle and nerve functions.

    Meat/fish/legumes/nuts will provide you with protein, required to maintain and develop muscle mass.

    Specific amount of each of foods required will depend on your age, gender, and activity level. Timing of meals will also become important especially if you're training.

    An accredited practicing dietitian can help you fine-tune your diet so you can achieve your goals.

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    What is your email and i will send you a pdf article which may be of interest:) 

  • 1

    Agree

    Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, PhD (Dr Bec) Personable and ethical registered nutritionist (RNutr) and lecturer at UNSW Australia in lifestyle and health. Regular consultant to the … View Profile

    Hi there,

    The most important aspect of building muscle is doing resistance/strength exercise, such as yoga or weight machines in a gym:

    http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/F01F92328EDADA5BCA257BF0001E720D/$File/brochure%20PA%20Guidelines_A5_18-64yrs.PDF

    If you build your muscle tissue up, this will also raise your metabolic rate and improve your insulin sensitivity.

    Meaning that you will burn the calories you eat more efficiently.

    While you build your muscle tissue with resistance exercise, you also need to be in an energy deficit with your food/drink energy intake vs your metabolic rate/exercise energy expenditure. A good way to reduce your energy intake is to increase the filling nature of the foods you consume, e.g. high protein (tofu, eggs, lean meat, fish, nuts) and high veggies (not potato crisps or chips!) and low glycemic index (e.g. Burgen bread over white sliced bread). When you are fuller you are less likely to overeat - as long as you learn to listen to your hunger and fullness. I really think that increasing veggie intake is a great first step.

    Have a look at these resources about a good diet as well as hunger/fullness:

    http://foodwatch.com.au/blog/healthy-weight-loss/item/rating-your-hunger-and-fullness.html

    https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating

    https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/serve-sizes

    Small steps over time will get you there :) 

    What should I eat in order to lose body fat and retain muscle?

    Please recommend a diet that would enable me to lose body weight and retain/build muscle.

  • Clare Wolski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm Clare and I'm a passionate Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). I love empowering people with good nutrition information so they can make the best decisions … View Profile

    Hi there, 

    Great question! And there have been some excellent answers. 

    When we restrict our energy intake in an effort to loose our body not only uses our fat stores as a fuel, but also uses the protein in our muscles as fuel. 

    In order to minimise muscle wasting as you attempt to loose body fat it's important to ensure that you have adequate levels of protien from lean meats, eggs, dairy, nuts and legumes. It's recommend to consume about 1g of protien for every kilgoram of body weight. So an 80kg individual would need 80g of protein. This is usually easy to achieve through whole foods and shouldn't require protien shakes or supplements. 

    A great rule of thumb to ensure that you are getting enough protein and other nutrients is to break each meal up like this: 

    1/4 of the plate is a source of protein

    1/4 of the plate is a source of high fibre carbohydrate 

    1/2 the plate is vegetables

    For Example Breakfast could be 1 Slice of wholemeal toast (carb) with 1 Egg (protein) and grilled 1 tomato and 1 Cup cooked mushrooms (veg). 

    Of course diet is a highly individual topic and for the best individualised approach it is best to speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian. 

    All the best!

    Clare Wolski, APD @ The Healthy Eating Hub

    http://healthyeatinghub.com.au/

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