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Fat Loss - Part 1

Welcome to the Fat Loss series! 🔥

Over the next few weeks we'll explore some of the science behind Fat Loss from both an Exercise/Physiological standpoint Vs the Nutritional/Biological.

But first let's look at how Nutrition can play a part and be a determinant or deterrent with Fat loss.

What is Fat Loss? (revisited)

The prime focus of Fat Loss is the overall rate of bodyfat oxidation by your particular metabolism over time. This can occur by altering one's total energy balance through food, exercise or a combination of both.

For Fat Loss to actually occur however requires an individual to be in a total negative energy balance aka 'Calorie Deficit'.

The prime driver behind Fat Loss involves a slightly speeding up your Metabolism to burn as much body fat as possible. The higher your metabolic rate is the more Fat you will burn over time. This is Fat Loss. Plain and simple.

Note: for a better understanding on how this works, checkout the different Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss mechanisms.

But how does Nutrition affect Fat loss?

Let's dive right in.


Supplements can be defined as 'a thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.' Supplements are by their very nature a supplement. Unfortunately they are often seen as the answer for Fat/Weight loss.

You see there is the 'truth' and then there is the truth when it comes to Nutrition and successful Dieting. The 'truth' mainly revolves around successful marketing campaigns along with the latest fads and trends.

Currently it is not generally recommended that all Australians consume Nutritional supplements as their only and main source of a healthy and balanced diet. Supplements can aid Fat loss along however it is only a very small margin and dependent on the success of the product i.e. 6-12%. This is also dependent on everything else falling into place i.e. Calories, Macronutrients, Meal Timing, Frequency etc. Contrary to popular belief they rank the least determinant of successful Fat Loss.

Ergogenic aids consist of supplements, drugs or procedures believed to also improve athletic performance. Some of these substances are completely legal while others remain banned and unethical. Supplements that are becoming popular amongst the general population include Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals, Protein Powder (Cow byproduct), Creatine and Synthetic Fat burners.

The Magical Solution?

Are you still looking for that 'magical' item that will strip more fat away? Perhaps you've considered going through multiple bouts of 'cleanses' in the hopes of finally getting somewhere?

With the rise of today's affinity re weight management, trends and fads have become one of the most easiest to market due to the quick turn-around time. From 'juicing', detox/lemon teas, 24hr fasting to extreme multiple day diets supposedly designed to flush your body of toxins for good.

Whilst there are some detox juices / supplements that are said to 'detoxify' through a few active ingredients only i.e. curcumin (garlic / turmeric) to up-regulate liver detoxification and /or inflammation[17-19]. Unfortunately we are largely mis-informed by companies blanketing a whole product due to 1 single active ingredient. A summation from a 2015 study from The Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics concluded:

“To the best of our knowledge, no randomized controlled trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of commercial detox diets in humans. This is an area that deserves attention so that consumers can be informed of the potential benefits and risks of detox programmes.” [5]

It has recently been established in literature that continuous energy (caloric) restriction also results in an up-regulation of detoxification in both the liver and the intestines[15]. Furthermore, a lot of the detoxifying properties can be derived from calorie restriction alone[16]. But more on calories later.

The average human body is also quite capable of going through a process of 'detoxification' through the Liver, Lungs, Kidneys and Skin. Furthermore it is believed supplements high in Fibre help support the digestion system health & aid further weight loss[20-21].

Whilst there is some scientific rationale in terms of detoxification, when coupled alongside a balanced and healthy eating plan, there just isn't sufficient data to support detoxes or cleansing agent aids for long term weight management.

Note: before taking any supplements or ergogenic aids it is always best to consult a Nutritionist or Dietitian for further clarification.

Meal Timing

Are you eating every 3-4 hours to keep your gains?

Did you know consuming adequate rich protein meals every few hours helps elevate the anabolic response for muscular hypertrophy to occur[3]?

As a general rule of thumb, eating every few hours helps most individuals meet their daily dietary requirements. For the active individual, they can also receive some benefits from the effects of increased meal frequency on fat oxidation and improved hunger and satiety[11].

When coupled alongside an energy balanced nutrition plan, this can further aid and help remove other adherence variables i.e. thought process & time constraints. For the rest of us whom live busier work day schedules, some may not be able to sustain a 3 - 4hr meal frequency window.

One option would be to spread out the timing of our meals from 6 - 8 to 2 - 3. Those whom practice allotting calories to later following IF - Intermittent Fasting may still reap benefit in the flexibility of prolonging their meal timing.

Note: there is evidence that increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects following an overall energy restricted diet[10].

In addition, some evidence suggests that spreading out the timing of protein intake throughout the day 'might' impact its ability to be incorporated into muscles[1]. Based on current research, it appears the leucine protein content appears to elevate and peak when consuming adequate protein rich meals.

Furthermore there also appears to be a cut over associated with the elevated peak.

Whilst consuming equally distributed meals, consuming more protein in a single sitting does not equate to more protein absorption as previously thought[12]. Thus consuming equally distributed meals will more likely have a positive effect on MPS.

MPS = Muscle Protein Synthesis.

MH = Myofibrillar Hypertrophy.

A recent study compared 26 healthy resistance trained individuals split into differing meal frequency intakes.

One group followed a skewed protein ingestion model at varying intakes ~12g protein > 45g protein > 83g protein. The other group consumed a balanced protein intake at around 30 - 50g per meal.

It was surmized following a balanced protein ingestion model is more beneficial for inducing muscular hypertrophy[22].

Whilst the general consensus suggests increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects following an overall energy restricted diet[10].

The good news is so long as we consider the overall 24 hour picture and consume dietary protein and fibre, this can still be sufficient enough to meet MPS requirements for MH and sustain overall health.

So, whether or not we are heavily food focused wont necessarily impact ongoing Fat loss. Regular food consumption every 3 or 6 hours doesn't seem to make an overall difference once daily calories are taken into account.

Meal frequency and protein ingestion timing may give you an edge in conjunction with your training over supplements. Studies have shown that post-workout protein and carbohydrates can have a positive effect on protein synthesis and stopping a process called proteolysis (where the body starts breaking down muscle proteins into smaller amino acids)[9].

For ongoing Fat loss, however there is still more to the story to be told.


Micronutrients are essential for long term Health and aid numerous processes of the human body i.e. Metabolism, Immune, Hormonal etc.

They are designed to avoid deficiency and reduce chronic disease and illness. It is said Micronutrients are even more important than Macronutrients as they can influence certain markers for Fat Loss and or impact our overall health.

It is also often believed if we are following a sound and rigid diet structure, we will meet our micronutrient intake by default. This isn't always the case.

A recent study reviewed demonstrated individuals following dietary endorsed guidelines don't always meet their required micronutrient intake. Rather following a healthy and balanced dietary system helped broaden their micronutrient spectrum intake. [6]

However, as micronutrients are only required in minute amounts, they are still a requirement for key absorption of nutrients i.e. Dietary Fat and vice-versa. For this reason they are ultimately superseded by another collection of nutrients.

For those whom have purchased the Eating for a Purpose ebook will remember the comprehensive detailed summary on Vitamins and Minerals.


One of the most overlooked and important considerations for Fat loss is the total consumption of food. Ever heard the saying you can't out-exercise a bad diet? In the case where calories are excessive, this is known to be true.

Macronutrients are a collection of key nutrients including: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats and Fibre.

Alcohol can also be considered a Macronutrient as it also contains traces of wheat, rye, barley etc. They simply do not add any nutritional benefit whatsoever, however still have a caloric value of 7 kcals per gram.

Calories being a measurement of Energy required for everyday living. Macronutrients can also equate to calories when calculated i.e. 1g of Protein = 4 Calories.

Whilst Macronutrients account for the majority of Energy required when undertaking any Physical or Mental objective. Calories are also required to assist the speeding up of the Metabolism (Fat Loss) or the slowing down of the Metabolism (Weight Loss/Gain).

It is often believed eating large amounts of 'healthy' foods helps us lose weight and bears no impact on energy markers and/or overall energy balance.

It can also be argued a diet lower in one macronutrient i.e. Carbohydrate/Sugar or Fat is optimal for improved Fat Loss?

According to a study published in the journal of Obesity when of High Carb Vs Low Carb, it was recorded individuals with increased carbohydrate intake had improved metabolic health markers, improved weight loss, were more satiated and also had less hunger signals[7]. In fact the ratio of Carbohydrates and Fats does not seem favor or impact overall Fat loss provided Protein and Calories are equated.[8]

It's also often believed that sugar has no place in a Healthy Fat loss diet. However, numerous studies show that when calories are controlled, sugar consumption doesn't appear to decrease fat loss or impact Health markers[13,14].

Macronutrients and Calories are essentially one and the same when considering the overall energy output balance. If you meet your Macronutrient intake you are also meeting your Calories by default.

If we are in an overall positive (+) energy balance, we gain weight. If our energy balance is equal (=) we will maintain weight. Whilst if our energy balance is negative (-) we will lose weight.

See you next time for Part 2!


1. Layne E Norton,Gabriel J Wilson,Christopher J Moulton and Donald K Layman The Journal of Nutrition. First published ahead of print November 30, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/jn.116.231779. Meal Distribution of Dietary Protein and Leucine Influences Long-Term Muscle Mass and Body Composition in Adult Rats.

2. JAMA. 2018 Feb 20;319(7):667-679. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.0245.Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial.

3. Helms, E.R., et al., A Systematic Review of Dietary Protein During Caloric Restriction in Resistance Trained Lean Athletes: A Case for Higher Intakes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2014. 24(2). 4. Phillips, S.M. and L.J. Van Loon, Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci, 2011. 29 Suppl 1: p. S29-38.

5. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Dec;28(6):675-86. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12286. Epub 2014 Dec 18. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence.

6. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Sep 1;28(5):502-508. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0323. Epub 2018 May 16.A Comparison of the Nutrient Intakes of Macronutrient-Based Dieting and Strict Dieting Bodybuilders.

7. Sofer S, Eliraz A, Kaplan S, Voet H, Fink G, Kima T, Madar Z. Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Oct;19(10):2006-14.

8. Michael Hull, Dr. Christopher Gardner. Low-fat vs low-carb? Examine on 2018-02-20 11:00:00

9. Am J Physiol. 1991 Dec;261(6 Pt 1):E809-14.Proteolysis in skeletal muscle and whole body in response to euglycemic hyperinsulinemia in normal adults.

10. Br J Nutr. 2010 Apr;103(8):1098-101. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509992984. Epub 2009 Nov 30.Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet.

11. Obesity (Silver Spring). Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 Apr 9.Published in final edited form as:Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Feb; 21(2): 336–343. doi: 10.1002/oby.20032 Effects of Increased Meal Frequency on Fat Oxidation and Perceived Hunger.

12. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1103-9. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.103853. Epub 2009 Apr 29. The leucine content of a complete meal directs peak activation but not duration of skeletal muscle protein synthesis and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling in rats.

13. Nutr Res Rev. 2007 Dec;20(2):121-31. doi: 10.1017/S0954422407797846.Dietary sugars intake and micronutrient adequacy: a systematic review of the evidence.

14. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Apr;65(4):908-15.Metabolic and behavioral effects of a high-sucrose diet during weight loss.

15. Cell Metab. 2015 Jul 7;22(1):86-99. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.05.012. Epub 2015 Jun 18.A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan.

16. Drug Metab Dispos. 2016 Mar;44(3):366-9. doi: 10.1124/dmd.115.064766. Epub 2016 Jan 7.Calorie Restriction Increases P-Glycoprotein and Decreases Intestinal Absorption of Digoxin in Mice.

17. Nutr Res. 2010 Jun;30(6):435-40. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.06.007.Sodium 2-propenyl thiosulfate derived from garlic induces phase II detoxification enzymes in rat hepatoma H4IIE cells.

18. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Dec;68(6):598-604.St John's Wort induces intestinal P-glycoprotein/MDR1 and intestinal and hepatic CYP3A4.

19. nt J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998 Apr;30(4):445-56.Mechanisms of anticarcinogenic properties of curcumin: the effect of curcumin on glutathione linked detoxification enzymes in rat liver.

20. J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):135-42.Some dietary fibers increase elimination of orally administered polychlorinated biphenyls but not that of retinol in mice.

21. J Nutr. 1999 Apr;129(4):896-902.Increased fecal bile acid excretion and changes in the circulating bile acid pool are involved in the hypocholesterolemic and gallstone-preventive actions of psyllium in hamsters.

22. Evenly Distributed Protein Intake over 3 Meals Augments Resistance Exercise–Induced Muscle Hypertrophy in Healthy Young Men

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