The following is an independant analysis of The Lunch Box Diet healthy eating plan by Jonathan Taylor M.Sc. Dip ION mBANT, Clinical Nutritionist & Sports Scientist
Weight loss, in the context of medicine or health or physical fitness, is a reduction of the total body weight, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon and other connective tissue.
The widely reported rise in obesity and overweight is of particular concern because of the significant health risks associated with excess weight. Indeed the co-morbidities of obesity represent one of the most pressing public health issues today.
Therapeutic weight loss, in individuals who are overweight, can decrease the likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes. Overweight and obese individuals face a greater risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.
The basic tenet of weight loss occurs when an individual is in a state of negative energy balance. When the human body is spending more energy in work and heat than it is gaining from food or other nutritional supplements, it will catabolise stored reserves of fat or muscle.
However a common thread weaves through many a failed dieter’s story in that they consume far fewer calories than what is needed for healthy function and metabolism. The key problem with reducing calorific intake is that the body feeds initially from it’s own glycogen stores in the muscle/liver. Glycogen (the analogue of starch) is stored with water, so when glycogen is used, naturally there is water loss. It is not uncommon to find initial weight loss success through calorific restriction is due to a loss of glycogen and water rather than fat.
Although weight loss may involve loss of fat, muscle or fluid, weight loss for the purposes of maintaining health should aim to lose fat while conserving muscle and fluid.
Why The Lunch Box Diet Works:
For millions of people worldwide, weight loss attempts end in failure. One of the key reasons is an inability to stick with the dietary programme brought about by unrealistic targets and ambitious challenges to behaviour and habit. Compliance is the key and the Lunch Box Diet easily accommodates this with a simple requirement of changing one meal a day with innumerable healthy menu options. This is especially valuable for individuals who are time poor.
Balancing blood sugar levels is essential to offset sugar cravings. This is easily remedied by eating foods that are high in protein and good dietary fats such as omega 3 & 6 with low glycaemic index carbohydrates. Foods should be eaten in a grazing manner, every 1½ – 2 hours. The Lunch Box Diet allows food choices that can be grazed upon throughout the working day. Proteins from animal and fish sources complimented with 2-4 vegetable choices, a starch based carbohydrate source and essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds, avocado and salad oil dressings (flax seed) will satiate hunger, balance blood sugar levels and resist cravings for sugary foods.
The quality of the food eaten is equally imperative to weight loss success. Remember that weight loss succeeds through intelligent food choices rather than just the total calorific intake. Weight loss through nutrition is addressed by what happens at cellular level. Vitamins, minerals and co-factors are key to the efficiency of body function and include energy production, metabolism, digestion, growth, repair and immunity, to name a few. Whilst some animal proteins contain readily available iron and whole grains carry some vitamins and minerals, it is the role of fruit and vegetables that contribute significantly to the vitamin/mineral balance. The Lunch Box Diet strongly encourages the addition of a wide variety of vegetables that can easily be eaten unheated. A typical Lunch Box Diet could hold as many as three times the quantity of vegetables as would be eaten during an evening dinner. Not all fruits and vegetables are the same when looking at their nutrient value. ORACS (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) is a measure of the anti-oxidant value of each fruit and vegetable and are key in supporting immune function. The emphasis the Lunch Box Diet places on vegetables indicates broad spectrum support is likely from the variety offered.
In conclusion, I would suggest the Lunch Box Diet is one of the most user-friendly I have seen. It exists within a simple framework to encourage compliance and offers food options that are genuine and well thought out.
Jonathan Taylor M.Sc. Dip ION mBANT
Clinical Nutritionist & Sports Scientist