Nutrition for Fat Loss
To preferentially lose fat instead of lean tissues like muscle, it is helpful to also consume a relatively high amount of protein , adequate amounts of healthy fats, and enough carbohydrate to replenish muscle glycogen and support moderate and high intensity physical activities (which will themselves also spare lean tissue).
Calories – to calculate your daily caloric intake we use the Mifflin St. Jeour equation to determine basal metabolic rate. This formula uses your age, height, weight and gender to determine resting caloric needs, and is generally quite accurate (e.g. more accurate than the Harris-Benedict formula) . Together with your daily activity levels and the explicit workouts you log on BodBot, this determines your maintenance calorie level. From this baseline, we add a 20% deficit. Note that, if you are already lean, your caloric deficit should not be too great in order to spare lean tissues (not to mention sanity). While larger caloric deficits may be appropriate for very overweight individuals needing to manage other health risks, they are subject to a number of potential negative side effects, and should not be undertaken without consultation with a doctor . Also note that a caloric deficit does not have to occur every single day, and it can be useful to think in terms of a net caloric balance over a weekly period (read: don't stress yourself out over a single day's lapse).
Protein: protein as a macronutrient provides at least three benefits in fat loss. As discussed above, in addition to the critically important benefits of sparing muscle and increasing satiety, dietary protein also leads to more thermogenesis compared to other macronutrients . While by no means a critical effect, more heat is produced in the digestion of protein compared to other macronutrients, thereby providing a slight metabolic advantage. For these reasons, and the added protein needs of the physically active, BodBot sets a high protein baseline of 2.0g/kg . Note that high levels of protein consumption appear to be quite safe, barring any pre-existing kidney impairment .
Fat: is necessary for proper endocrine function, and a base level of dietary fat should be consumed for this reason . In addition it appears that there may be benefits to a moderate fat diet over a very low fat diet in terms of adherence .
Carbohydrate: carbohydrates play a critical role in the replenishment of muscle glycogen (as well as liver glycogen), which is the primary fuel source for high intensity activities like lifting weights or sprinting . Barring medical contra-indication, some form of resistance training should be a part of any high quality fat loss strategy, and carbohydrate intake is recommended for this reason. Your optimal intake will depend on the type and quantity of your physical activity, and BodBot will adjust this daily based on your glycogen expenditure. Note that as long as protein and fat have been accomodated, and the primary composition of the carbohydrates is of a high quality (read: not refined sugars) a relatively wide range of intake is permissible.
Calcium – important in the maintenance of bone density, calcium is of extra importance on a hypocaloric, high protein diet. Note that while a high protein diet with a calcium deficiency may impair bone density, high levels of both nutrients appear to provide the best outcome for bone health . In addition, high dietary calcium may also provide some marginal benefits to the processes of fat loss itself .
Iron – more likely to be deficient in women, a risk of deficiency is possible in both genders on a hypocaloric diet. Iron is involved in large number of bodily processes, but there is risk of both deficiency and overconsumption .
Magnesium is critically important to the functioning of mitochondria, and the majority of people in the US are deficient in it. To learn more, click here.
Finally, do note that additional nutrients will be displayed as health reference points, though they may not aid specifically in fat loss.