What you need to know:
- Foods said to have empty calories if it does not contain any nutrients, or if the calories from sugar and fats outweigh the nutrients found in the food itself.. These should be avoided by anyone who is working out to lose weight.
It is very frustrating to work out regularly for months or even years and see no results. This, we can all agree, is one of the reasons most people quit working out. Why bother, right?
Well, granted, when you were 20 you could eat all you wanted and still remained lean and muscular. But as you grow older, nothing seems to work despite all your effort to lose your belly fat.
As it turns out, fitness is so tied to your diet that exercising without making changes in the type of food you eat is rendered useless.
The reason for your frustrations is what you are putting on your plate, according to fitness experts.
According to research, carbohydrates is the commonest class of food that is responsible for weight gain. Sports and orthopedic Dr Fisha Muhumuza agrees that most weight gain comes from carbohydrates.
“If I were to mention one class of food that causes weight gain, it would have to be carbohydrates. The body easily converts them into fats. When burning body fuels, the body turns to fats as a last resort,” Dr Muhumuza says.
He adds that one has to go through some level of starvation to lose some body fat. It is therefore important for one to reduce the amount of calorie intake so much that the body starts running on fats instead of calories in order to lose weight.
“Once the body has no calories to run on, it will turn to fats for its energy needs. The more the body runs of the fat, the more weight one loses. In extreme situations, the fat will be completely depleted, forcing the body to start burning protein from muscle as fuel,” he explains.
Foods to avoid
Knowing the foods that are hindering your journey is the fastest way to your weight loss goal.
Your diet should be in favour of foods with small amounts of caloric energy like protein. The body burns more calories digesting proteins because they increase satiety and helps maintain calorie-burning muscle mass.
The major sources of carbohydrates in Uganda are posho, sweet potatoes, cassava, chapatti, rice and bread.
These, experts advise, should be minimised or even avoided if one wants to lose weight.
"With less carbohydrates, your body is more likely to start burning when you work out. your body fat for its energy needs instead of caloric energy.
Knowing the enemy is the first step to winning," says Dr Muhumuza.
Sugar in all its forms
According to Dr Muhumuza, sugar is a type of carbohydrates. All forms of artificial sugar, whether in soda, tea, juice or beer has to be avoided if you are working out for weight loss.
Sugar is a source of high caloric energy and working out after consuming such sugar will prevent your body from burning fat.
Foods with empty calories
Foods and drinks that contain empty calories include soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet tea, crisps, breakfast cereal, pastries, pasta, among others.
Foods said to have empty calories if it does not contain any nutrients, or if the calories from sugar and fats outweigh the nutrients found in the food itself.. These should be avoided by anyone who is working out to lose weight.
While most people blame beer for a potbelly, all alcohol tends to promote weight gain.
"Alcohol causes weight gain because it stops your body from burning fat by stopping fat metabolism in the liver," says Dr Muhumuza adding that, "It also causes your liver to make more fat and cholesterol and makes it harder for the body to access stored fat for energy. "
Alcohol is believed to cause over eating because it causes cravings for greasy foods.
All these aspects make it counter-intuitive to continue consuming alcohol while working out to lose weight according to experts.
Why people fail to lose weight
The sports doctor adds that one of the biggest reasons why most people workout for weight loss and see no results is because when they work out, they aren’t burning fat rather calories from the food they just ate.
“Most times, when people go to the gym, they just burn calories form the food they just ate. Once they leave the gym and have another meal, the calories they lost are all regained. That is what causes frustration,” says Dr Fisha Muhumuza, an orthopeadist.
He says the greatest source of caloric energy is carbohydrates. By default, if you are working out to lose weight but see no results, high chances are that you are entering the gym with too much caloric energy from carbs.