New Army physical fitness standards are bringing Military weight loss front and center. Anybody who has struggled with weight loss knows that figuring out the best way to eat to stay fit and to perform physically is tough. For some it’s about finding the time; for others it’s wading though all the information about nutrition to figure out what works and what’s crap.
Now, if you’ve followed us here, then you already know the importance of heart health and max physical performance in military duties. This is why Military Grade Nutritionals provide the stuff that builds a strong foundation – your cardiovascular system. So let’s talk briefly about military weight loss, various diets and theories, and heart health.
How to Beat Fat and Improve Heart Health
Tip: For those looking for the quick and easy…the answer is NOT the Standard American Diet mixed with lack of physical exercise!
Are Low-Carb Diets good for Military Weight Loss?
- Atkins Diet: 68% fat, 27% Protein, 5% Carbs (less than 35g carbs a day)
- Protein Power Diet: 54% fat, 26% Protein, 16% Carbs
- The Zone Diet: 30% fate, 40% Protein, 30% Carbs
Which is better? Low Fat or Low Carb?
When comparing low fat to low carb diets, studies show no difference in weight after a year between the two diet theories.
However, at 6 months, many of the “low-carbers” lose more weight than those on the no fat diet. This is encouraging, but not always sustainable because for most, it’s hard to stick to a diet with low carbs.
What other benefits are there for a low-carb diet? Lower triglycerides, improved glycemic control, and higher HDL cholesterol levels.
Bottom line…better heart health.
Are GI Diets The Way to Go for Military Weight Loss?
- South Beach Diet
- Sugar Busters Diet
- Zone Diet
Yes! You can have carbs on these diet plans as long as those carbs have low GI.
GI is a measure of the blood glucose response to intake of a particular carbohydrate. The higher the peak (spike) in blood glucose levels after consuming the food, the higher the GI value. Studies have shown that a high GI diet results in an inverse relationship with HDL cholesterol (which is the good kind, what you want more of): High GI = Lower HDL cholesterol.
The biggest challenge with many GI diet studies are that many of the subjects have self-reported their food. Self-reporting always has the possibility of error because people often “guesstimate” portion size and suffer from “selective memory” when asked what they ate.(brownie…what brownie?) This can result in inaccurate reporting.
In addition, the GI of a food can be altered depending on how you cook it or the type of food you’re using. For example..brown rice has a different GI than wild rice or white rice even though they are all rice.
There are no conclusive studies showing a low GI diet prevents cardiovascular disease. Longer trials with more participants and more reliable reporting are needed.
What about Extreme Low Fat? Is this the Answer for Military Weight Standards?
Extreme Low Fat Diets include:
- Vegetarian diets that my include eggs and dairy
- 15% fat, 15% protein, 70% carbs
- Pritikin diet: <10% fat, 15–20% protein, remainder from unrefined, complex carbs
Data suggest that low fat diets alone do not result in long term weight loss; however, there is evidence that the diet can positively impact cardiovascular health.
The studies conducted are not perfect because they didn’t rely on diet alone. Many included an element of exercise. So while the results were encouraging (lower risk of CVD), it cannot be determined with 100% accuracy the role exercise played in the success of the results.
One thing does seem clear however for military weight loss that lasts: When you have a lifestyle change that combines a more holistic / whole approach to your overall heath…you get better results.
In the Ornish Lifestyle Heart Trial, patients with severe coronary heart disease (CHD) had the opportunity to get a new lease on life. This included:
- A Vegetarian diet with 70% of calories coming from fat (the good kind)
- Moderate aerobic exercise
- Smoking cessation
- Group support to keep them on track
- Stress management training
82% of those who changed their lifestyle showed heart health improvements.
Did it last? At the 5 year mark, that same group was 2.5 less likely to experience a cardiac event.
Going Mediterranean for Weight Loss Diets
- Lots of plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, breads, cereals, potatoes, beans, seeds and nuts)
- Foods that are minimally processed, seasonally fresh, and locally grown
- Sweets are allowed, usually in the form of fruit and the occasional food item containing honey or refined sugar
- Eggs – up to 4 per week
- Good Fat – with the primary source being Olive Oil
- Dairy in low to moderate amounts (primarily cheese and yogurt)
- Fish and Poultry in low to moderate amounts
- Red meat on occasion (rarely)
- Wine in low to moderate amounts with meals
This diet has had better weight reduction compared to controlled groups.
And it is pretty sustainable because of the variety of foods that are “allowed”. However the really impressive part is related to cardiovascular health.
Bottom line – good news for your heart.
Nobody is really able to isolate a single food to explain these improvements; however, many speculate that it’s the result of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, like what you find in salmon.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fatty fish like trout, herring, mackerel and salmon. In plants, the ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in nuts, canola (rapeseed) oil, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and soybean oil can be converted to EPA and DHA. Why is this important? EPA and DHA are believed to protect your heart.
Bottom line: Those following a Mediterranean diet have lost more weight, have lower total cholesterol and triglycerides and higher HDL levels, and decreased prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
What’s Next: Military Weight Loss Diets
Some of the nutritional value may be compromised depending on how we cook our food (and if we cook it all all!). This is why many people use dietary supplements to, well, supplement their food intake.
And, weight maintenance and heart health is not just about food. Exercise continues to be important, not just to keep military in top shape to perform duties, but also to create an environment where all your nutrients are efficiently processed.
You must choose a military weight loss diets and lifestyle that you’ll actually follow. “Theory” doesn’t keep you in shape.
But it’s really not all that hard! Do you see the common element in each diet? More fruits and vegetables and less processed carbs combined with exercise. Boom!
The best Military Weight Loss Results
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most.
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