T Nation

Process Behind Fat Gain and Fat Loss?


#1

My mom was recently told from her doctor that she really needs to lose weight, as her blood tests are showing some rather bad things. She is apparently in the stage of pre-diabetes, she has a whole lot of fat in her liver, and her cholesterol level is rather high.

Her doctor recommended that she just cuts off all significant carb sources for a while and eat strictly vegetables and protein-heavy foods for at least a couple of months. This isn't easy for her, largely because she doesn't know how to cook without rice.

For simplicity's sake, I just told her to eat a breakfast of eggs/spinach scrambled together and a whole chicken for the rest of the day along with a large bunch of vegetables, a bit of fruit, and maybe some greek yogurt and nuts.

She's only 5ft 4inches and not physically active, so she shouldn't need to eat a lot in the first place.

Anyways, my question is whether this is a suitable diet or not? My mom is incredibly stubborn on certain things, and as such the simpler and easier to follow, the better.

Another question is just exactly what happens to excess protein that you eat? My confusion here comes from the idea that you can get fat from anything. Does that mean if you eat an almost strictly protein-based diet in great excess, you can still get fat? But doesn't your body piss out most of the broken down protein that your body doesn't need?

There's just a lot of conflicting information regarding this online that I really have no idea what's "correct".


#2

In principal yes, low carb diets outperform all other diets when it comes to short term fat loss in the available literature.

However, if its suitable for your mom depends if she is willing to commit to it. In my experience, low carb is very hard to adhere to for prolonged periods (which is all that counts for health). So if she can continue to live on this specific diet for months and yearts it is suitable, otherwise no

Protein can and will be used for energy and can be converted and stored as fat. However, that process is relatively inefficient so 1 kcal of Protein will be converted into much less than 1 kcal of fat.

It is very hard to create a caloric surplus with protein alone, since its very satiating and foods with a high protein content usually contain high amounts of fat and/or water. But in theory, you could.

You body does not waste calories, the only time when you 'piss out' any significant amount of calories is when you're diabetic, alcoholic of have some sort of renal dysfunction.


#3

Yes this is a good diet. Everything Petrichor said is true.

You want simple? Check out the Green Faces diet. Your suggestions are on the right path, but I would just add that you should try to encourage a wide variety of proteins and vegetables. The more variety the better. If she's going to follow this type of plan, then a good rule of thumb is to get most of the calories from meats, and most of the volume of food from veggies. Coconut oil and EVOO are very healthy, and coconut oil stabilizes energy levels during low carb. Both sources are great for helping to absorb the fat soluble vitamins from the veggies. Also just be careful to suggest nuts as they are very very easy to overdo. Doesn't mean they are bad though.

Emphasize that a dramatic result can be achieved in a short time with dedication. Low carb is a science, and if followed it will absolutely work. The hardest part of low carb is getting over the 4-5 day hump as your body is transitioning. Moderate exercise helps the transition in my opinion. A good result can be achieved from even a 20 minute brisk walk. If she's open to supplements, that can be of help as well but you might want to ease into that.

Any other specific issues (joint pain, heart, etc) holding her back?