Micronutrients for Weight Loss
When we go on a diet it can be easy to get caught up in our calories and our macronutrients. Especially if, like with many modern weight loss diets, we are focusing on a macronutrient to balance our metabolism.
Low carb for consistent energy, high carb for serial snackers, low fat for low calories, high fat for high metabolism, low protein for less pressure on the body, high protein for increased satiety… But what about our micronutrients?
It just so happens that micronutrients are essential to burning fat. When we are getting enough of the various micronutrients which we need to survive, we can burn more fat faster, because our bodies are strong and healthy.
On the other hand, not getting enough of these micronutrients weakens our minds, bodies, and immune systems, making it much harder for us to lose weight. In theory you can eat any combination of macronutrients and, so long as you have a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. But without the right micronutrients your weight loss will be unsustainable.
Many vitamins are essential to weight loss due to their antioxidant properties. Vitamins A, C, and E in particular are amazing for weight loss. This is because our fat cells are very vulnerable to oxidation, which means they can become damaged more easily, be full of toxins, or literally just die… but still stay there.
It has been found that many of the fat cells on morbidly obese people are actually dead. Which makes it very hard to remove them. When you have enough antioxidants they will give your body a helping hand in clearing down all these fat cells.
If you want to protect your bones and muscle, you need the right micronutrients. Eating less is necessary for losing weight, but what you eat less of will determine what weight you lose. You could lose a lot of weight by not eating any calcium, for example, but most of it would be bones. Or you could lose a lot of weight by not eating any protein, but then it would be muscle.
Instead, you want to make sure you get all the minerals you need for building bones and muscles: calcium, phosphor, magnesium, zinc, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin D, etc. A diet rich in micronutrients helps you hold onto your good weight whilst shedding your bad weight.
Micronutrients are essential for an active metabolism. There are certain micronutrients which are key to balancing our metabolism, most importantly the B vitamins. If we get enough B vitamins we will burn more calories during exercise, save more calories when resting, produce less insulin when we don't need it, and burn fat when we need extra energy.
But if we do not get enough B vitamins our metabolism can become lazy, the conversion of fats to ketones to ATP gets slowed down, and we rely more and more on quick fixes like sugar.
Getting enough vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E can regulate your hormones and your moods. If you get enough of these vitamins, your hormone production is balanced, which includes the hormones which regulate appetite. This means you will be more sensitive to when you are hungry or full, and control your eating more. What is more, when our hormones are out of balance we are more likely to be stressed, depressed, or anxious.
These emotional changes are common triggers for emotional eating, which can ruin a diet. By getting enough micronutrients you can avoid undereating or overeating emotionally, and stay on track
Finally, if we are deficient in micronutrients we will feel hungrier more often, and even crave junk foods. This is because sugar is the world's best placebo. It makes us feel really good, which is why the earliest placebos were “sugar pills”. But it doesn't actually fix the problem.
This means that if we are craving a micronutrient like magnesium, and we eat sugar, we will feel better a while, but still be deficient. It would be like taking a painkiller for a broken leg and trying to keep on walking. But this habit of numbing pain with sugar can lead to serious deficiencies and chronic overeating.
So the message is clear: if you want to lose weight healthily, you need to get enough vitamins and minerals.