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How to lose weight quickly and not harm your health: a scientific approach


Source: Life hacker

Life hacker I studied dozens of scientific papers so that you can choose the right speed, draw up a diet and training plan.

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How fast can you lose weight without harm to health

Many people think that fast weight loss leads to a rapid set of pounds after giving up the diet, and slow, on the contrary, helps to maintain weight. A recent Australian study has disproved this view.

One group of subjects lost weight in 12 weeks, and the other in 36. Then, those who lost more than 12,5% of their original body weight were waiting for the 144-week weight maintenance program.

As a result, 70% of the fastest losing weight and 72% of the worst gradually gradually regained all the lost pounds. However, in the first group, 12,5% of the subjects were able to lose 81% of body weight, and in the second group only 50%.

It turns out that fast weight loss is more effective than slow.

Dr. Donald D. Hensrud from the Mayo Clinic advises you to lose no more than 0,5 – 1 kg per week. In his opinion, during too fast weight loss people often get rid of not fat, but water or even muscle tissue. After all, in a short time it is difficult to burn many calories.

In addition, rapid weight loss can have other negative effects. They were listed in their article by Dr. Michael Dansinger:

  • Stones in the gall bladder. From this ailment 12 to 25% of people who quickly lost weight suffer.
  • Nutrient deficiency.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • Constipation.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Hair loss.

So, in order not to harm your health and lose more fat, lose a maximum of one kilogram per week.

If you count, a kilogram per week is a pretty quick result (8 kg in two months), which allows you to create good habits and maintain weight for a long time. Now let's talk about how to make a diet.

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How to make a diet

How to calculate calorie content

Since one kilogram of fat contains 7 716 kcal to lose weight per kilogram per week, you need to create a deficit of 1 100 kcal per day.

A two-year American study showed that rejecting 25% calories is not harmful to health. Therefore, if your current diet has less than 4 400 kcal, create a deficit not only through diet, but also through physical activity.

For example, you can reduce the daily norm by 500 – 600 kcal and add an hour and a half to a quiet run or other physical exercises.

It is also worth considering the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (BJU). This is especially important for those who want to lose fat and maintain most of their muscle mass.

How to calculate BZHU

Protein count

A study at the University of Washington Medical School showed that a high-protein diet can help you lose weight even without calorie restriction.

The test diets for 30% consisted of protein foods, for 20% - for fats and for 50% - for carbohydrates. People consumed fewer calories without any restrictions and after 12 weeks they lost about five kilograms.

The benefits of a high-protein diet are also confirmed by a scientific article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015. It states that daily intake of 1,2 – 1,6 g protein per kilogram of weight reduces hunger and helps control weight. At the same time, muscle mass is preserved, and fat, on the contrary, disappears.

Add more protein to your diet: 30% of your daily calorie intake or 1,6 g per kilogram of weight.

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The ratio of fats and carbohydrates

Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not to blame for the set of extra pounds. Therefore, low-carb diets are generally more effective.

Frederick F. Samaha study participants on a low-carb diet lost 5,8 kg in six months, and those on a low-fat diet lost only 1,9 kg.

In a study by Stephen B. Sondike, people on a low-carb diet lost 12 kg in 9,9 weeks, and 4,1 kg in a low-fat diet.

Similar results were obtained by Jeff S. Volek in the 2009 year: 12-week low-carb diet allowed to lose 10 kg, a diet with a low fat content - 5,2 kg. In addition, low-carb diets are good for heart health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

In the studies of Samahi and Sondeyk, diets with the consumption of 20 – 40 g of carbohydrates per day were used, in the study of Volek, carbohydrates accounted for 10 – 12% of the total calories.

  • If you want to quickly get rid of extra pounds and are ready to completely abandon flour and sweets, try a diet with a ratio of BZHU 30 – 60 – 10 or 30 – 50 – 20.
  • A diet with a ratio of BZHU 30 – 30 – 40 or 30 – 25 – 45 will add to the diet cereals and pasta, some bread, dried fruits. But the results will have to wait longer.

Remember: the main thing in the diet is to observe it. Therefore, try a different ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and choose the most comfortable for you.

How to train

Why training is needed

Training helps you lose weight faster for several reasons:

1. Burn more calories during activity. This item does not require explanation: the more intense and longer you move, the more calories you burn.

2. Increase calorie consumption after training due to oxygen debt (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC). For a certain amount of time after training, the body consumes more oxygen to return to its normal levels, and spends more calories at rest.

In the 2011 year, researchers found that after an 45 minute of intense training, metabolism remained accelerated for 14 hours. At rest, subjects burned an average of 190 kcal more than on days without training.

3. Increase the amount of brown fat that spends calories. In 2012, Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, in a study on mice, discovered that working muscles produce irisin during exercise. This hormone travels through the body with blood and turns white fat cells into brown cells - a unique tissue that consumes energy instead of storing it.

Since people also have reserves of brown fat, Spiegelman decided that the irisin hormone performs similar functions in the human body.

Scientists estimate that 50 g of brown fat can burn about 20% of total daily calories.

In an adult's body, about 20 – 30 g of brown fat, however, its amount can increase under the influence of cold and exercise.

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How to do to lose weight

If you only want to lose weight, choose cardio exercises. A study by professor Joseph E. Donnelly from the University of Kansas showed that cardio exercises help you lose weight even without a diet.

For 10 months, five days a week, overweight people spent on the treadmill on 400 – 600 kcal. As a result, they lost about 5 kg without any diets.

A study by Leslie H. Willis and his colleagues at Duke University showed that aerobic exercise is better for weight loss, and strength exercise is better for weight loss without fat.

Combined workouts help reduce fat and preserve muscle.

How hard to train

The study showed that in the first 10 minutes after high-intensity interval training, oxygen debt is significantly higher than after moderate-intensity exercises. However, in the next 30 minutes, EPOC scores become approximately the same.

A study by Edward Melanson from the University of Colorado confirmed that calorie consumption during the day after a workout is independent of its intensity. The same conclusions were reached at the University of Massachusetts.

High-intensity workouts help burn more calories faster. But if you have the time and you do not want to die in the gym, choose cardio and weight training of medium intensity.

Here are some types of activity that will help burn about 600 kcal to a person weighing 70 kg:

  • An hour of running at a speed of 9 km / h and a pulse of 140 – 150 beats per minute.
  • Two hours of walking at a speed of 5 – 6 km / h.
  • Two hours of cycling at 10 – 12 km / h or an hour at 20 km / h.
  • Two hours of calm sailing (1 – 1,5 km / h) or fast hour (1,8 km / h).

For interval training, you can use burpies, double jump rope, throws of a stuffed ball and other exercises for weight loss.

How many times a week to train

Scientists from the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that you need to train in moderation. Those study participants who studied four times a week began to spend more in daily life on 200 kcal per day. And those who had six workouts a week, on 150 kcal less.

Four workouts per week are suitable for those who want to spend calories not only in the gym, but also the rest of the time. With such a frequency, you can do both power and cardio exercises.

High-intensity interval training should not be arranged too often: twice a week will be enough. On other days, you can do cardio exercises of medium intensity.

Running is also not worth overdoing. Susan Paul, an experienced running trainer and physiologist, advises starting with three running workouts per week and adding two more cross-training sessions if you wish. For example, dancing, yoga, zumba and others.

Checklist for those who want to lose weight fast

  1. Calculate how many calories you consume per day.
  2. Subtract 500 kcal from your daily allowance. Depending on your weight and the desired pace of losing weight, you can subtract more or less kilocalories, but in any case, do not cut the diet by more than 1100 kcal: this can be dangerous to health.
  3. Make the menu so that about 30% of all calories is protein, and 10 – 45% is carbohydrates.
  4. Do 3 – 5 workouts per week. Calculate physical activity in such a way as to burn about 600 kcal in one workout. If you don't have enough time, try high-intensity interval training.
  5. Do cardio exercises if you only want to lose weight, and add strength to them if you want to maintain muscle mass.
  6. Avoid stress. Many studies prove the relationship between stress and visceral fat.
  7. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that lack of sleep increases appetite and affects health.

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