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The low-calorie diet between legend and reality

What most often holds a person back when embarking on a nutritional journey aimed at weight loss is the fear of being deprived of much of the food they are used to eating, both in terms of quantity and quality. Let us be clear, in order to lose weight it is actually necessary to implement a calorie restriction, that is to reduce the daily caloric quota provided by food, just as it is necessary, if we do not already do so, to improve the quality of our diet, eliminating unhealthy foods. It is also true that a slimming path presents a series of difficulties that it would be useless and senseless to deny: changing habits to which one has been anchored for a long time, pursuing one's objective tenaciously and constantly questioning oneself. And yet, often before dieting, we tend not to consider certain factors that could help us embrace the new lifestyle more serenely, however difficult the path may actually prove to be.

First of all, it is good not to focus attention on what you are going to eliminate from your life (sweets, alcohol, calories ...), but think about what you are going to acquire: health, for example (overweight and obesity are a real health risk, and not a simple aesthetic problem), the discovery of new flavors, new combinations that perhaps we had never considered before.

This reflection introduces another one, no less important: a diet, in order to be carried out in the long term, must be varied and include, at the right frequency, all food groups. It is, in fact, unthinkable to pursue a path that deprives us of something for life. It's all about learning how to manage what makes us greedy so as not to abuse it, allowing ourselves the whim of tasting it from time to time. This is already possible during the slimming process, clearly at a more advanced stage, in which we are already more or less accustomed to the new lifestyle. The myth that, from the beginning of the journey, you can forget forever and definitively the chocolate, the slice of cake, the sip of wine.

As absurd and contradictory as it may seem, many people, after embarking on a low-calorie diet, report that they feel fuller than before, despite the reduction in calories. This is mainly due to the fact that poor lifestyles are often linked to the consumption of high-calorie foods with low fiber content, whose nutrients are therefore immediately absorbed and burned by our body. This leads to an excessive intake of calories and a rapid return of the sense of hunger. A healthy lifestyle, on the other hand, requires a fair distribution of nutrients (and therefore of carbohydrates, proteins and fats) during the day, with a preference for foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruit. The result is a greater sense of satiety, linked not only to the increase in fiber intake and its regulatory action on the absorption of sugars and fats, but also to the intake of nutrients needed by our body in the right quantities and frequencies. It is not necessarily the case, therefore, that calorie restriction makes us hungry.

With regard to the quantitative aspect, it should be considered that a healthy weight loss does not exceed about 0.5/1 kg per week, and that losses much greater than this can cause serious damage to our health: generally a dietary path drawn up by a professional does not provide, therefore, unsustainable calorie restrictions by our body, although at first may be uncomfortable.

In conclusion, it is always good to remember the true meaning of the word diet, or lifestyle. Not sadness, not deprivation, not just fruit and vegetables. On the contrary, something that allows us to stay healthy by eating in a varied way, with taste and - why not? - by indulging in a few treats every now and then.


By Francesca Locatelli

Translated by Camilla Giovanelli


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MIND - Nutrition Deal Low-calorie diet

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