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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

Do Vitamins for Weight Loss Work And How?

Do Vitamins for Weight Loss Work And How?

Have you ever had a friend that told you they lost weight by taking vitamins? I did! Let’s just say it didn’t workout for me as well as it did for him.

Everyone has been a culprit of trying a quick-fix solution to reverse years of bad habits, if only losing weight was as easy as popping some vitamin supplements in your mouth every morning. Unfortunately, it’s not.

However, don’t misunderstand. Vitamins can be useful in your journey towards losing weight, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Can Vitamins Help You Lose Weight?

Vitamins alone can’t do any wonders when it comes to losing weight. However, paired with the right kind of health practices, vitamins can be an invaluable partner in your fight against those few extra pounds.

Your body has a whole array of chemical reactions going on at any time, and a lot of these reactions use vitamins to regulate certain steps. Without an adequate supply of the proper vitamins, some of these chemical processes are bound to suffer, and your body won’t be running at its optimum functionality. When your body isn’t working as efficiently as it should be, some of your weight loss efforts will be futile.

When you supply your body with these essential vitamins in the form of supplements, you’re allowing your body to work at its top capacity, and preventing any sub-optimal processes from holding back any weight loss efforts.

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Which Vitamins Can Help with Weight Loss?

Vitamin D

A study done at the University of Minnesota found that overweight individuals with more vitamin D in their systems lost more weight after they started a weight loss regimen.[1]

Lucky enough for you, vitamin D is one of the cheapest vitamins you can get, it’s completely free. Your body can produce enough vitamin D simply by bathing in the sweet sunlight. But a lot of people are spending more and more time indoors and the sunlight isn’t an option. So there are numerous supplements on the market to help make up that deficit.

A deficiency of vitamin D is associated with weight gain and obesity, and a large percentage of Americans actually have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D.

In addition. Vitamin D can be found in foods such as tuna, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, cereals and milk.

You can learn more about vitamin D here:

Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin D

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Vitamin C

We all know a little bit about vitamin C. We know that you can get it from a glass of orange juice, or that it’s great for keeping away a cold.

Did you know that it is beneficial for losing weight though? Research has shown that individuals with higher levels of vitamin C in their systems lost more weight than those with lower levels of vitamin C.[2] Supplements can be a great way to keep your vitamin C levels high, but increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is a great way to get that vitamin C and go on a healthy diet at the same time.

Vitamin C can aid with a significant improvement on the absorption of iron in your body. It can be found in fruits such as kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.

Vitamin B12

Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin for maintaining a lot of bodily functions.[3] Vitamin B12 is important in the production and maintenance of red blood cells, nerve cells, and DNA. Apart from those functions, however, vitamin B12 is very important in regulating how your body processes certain nutrients.

When deficient in vitamin B12, your body opts to convert these nutrients into adipose tissue – that is, fat – instead of burning them off for energy. Keeping your body well stocked with vitamin B12 can help your weight loss efforts and keep you in top shape.

You can get vitamin B12 in supplements and animal products. It is very important to note, particularly for vegans and people going on vegetarian diets to lose weight, that vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods! Vitamin B12 can be found in sardines, beef, milk, fish, poultry, and eggs.

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Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is related to vitamin B12 as they’re all part of the vitamin B complex. Just like its compatriot, vitamin B1 is benefitical in the fight against those extra pounds.

Vitamin B1 plays a very important role in regulating appetite.[4] Individuals deficient in vitamin B1 may find themselves eating a bit more regularly than they might like, which usually isn’t ideal especially when trying to lose weight.

Apart from that, vitamin B1 is important in processing your carbohydrates to energy. A vitamin B1 deficit could mean that your metabolism isn’t quite optimal and your body is storing those carbs as fat instead of burning them off.

Vitamin B1 can be found in all sorts of foods like milk, eggs, and grains. If you’re not a fan of those, vitamin B supplements are readily available, and they usually contain all the vitamins in the vitamin B complex. Vitamin B1 can be found in these foods oranges, pork, nuts, pasta, breads, and rice.

Minerals

These aren’t technically vitamins, but in colloquial speak, they are sometimes included.

There are quite a few minerals which can be bought as supplements which can be very helpful in weight loss regimens:

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Calcium has been linked to maintaining an optimal metabolic rate[5] and keeping blood glucose well controlled. Paired with vitamin D, calcium does a lot more than just keeping your bones healthy, but assist with weight loss. While supplements are also available, dairy products are rich in calcium as well as vitamin D.

Iron is integral in the structure of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the cells of the body. Low levels of iron can cause deficient production of red blood cells or anaemia.[6] A lower number of red blood cells means a poorer oxygen supply to the cells which can affect exercise and athletic performance when trying to shed some fat.

Magnesium is very important in the function of many enzymes, and also in the action of ATP, which is the main source of energy for cells.[7] A magnesium deficiency adversely affects metabolism, so its intake should be kept optimal through the consumption of foods like nuts, seeds, and grains.

Where to Go from Here?

While vitamins (and minerals) don’t do any of the heavy liftings when it comes to watching your weight, they keep your body in top shape and aid in optimum function, which streamlines the weight loss process and can prove very synergistic with other elements of the regimen, such as dieting and exercise.

Keep your diet healthy and balanced, and supplement as necessary to make your weight loss journey as smooth as possible. If you’re considering taking any of these vitamin supplements, make an appointment with your family doctor to look into recommended dosages for optimal health.

Last thing to mention, in combination with consuming these supplements remember to switch up your exercise programs. Do a spinning class, then the next day go lift some heavy weights. Every little bit counts!

More Resources About Weight Loss

Featured photo credit: Kimberly Nanney via unsplash.com

Reference

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Sergio Pedemonte

CEO and Certified Personal Trainer of Your House Fitness

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Published on January 14, 2021

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
  • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
  • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
  • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
  • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
  • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

Calorie Counting

A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

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The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

How to Balance Your Plate

When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

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  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
  • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
  • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
  • A spoon of unsaturated oil

This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

An Example Day

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • A handful of mixed nuts

Lunch

  • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • Apple slices with nut butter

Dinner

  • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
  • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
  • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
  • A piece of fruit

How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

When You’re Pregnant

During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

You should also avoid the following food groups:

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  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Pâté
  • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
  • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
  • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Liquorice root
  • Alcohol

When You’re Breastfeeding

While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

When Going Through Menopause

Menopause

changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

  • 1200mg calcium per day
  • High-quality protein at every meal
  • Foods rich in vitamin K
  • Foods rich in phosphorus
  • Foods rich in magnesium

Organizing Your Shopping

Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

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Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

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Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

Reference

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