Are you having trouble losing weight? Maybe you’ve repeatedly cut out sugar and refined carbs, but you still don’t see much of a difference. When it comes to dieting, many try to eat less and exercise more. This typically leads to avoidance of a wide variety of foods, and popular diets can be very limiting and will restrict certain food groups. The problem with this food avoidance is that it could be depriving your body of important vitamins and minerals it needs. Nutrient deficiencies and imbalances have become a very common problem. What many don’t realize is that these nutritional deficiencies could be preventing you from achieving your weight loss goals.
How do nutrient deficiencies prevent weight loss?
Both overeating and under-eating can cause nutrient deficiencies. You can eat too many calories and still be undernourished. If your diet includes a high amount of fast food or processed foods, for example, you have empty calories and will miss out on essential vitamins, minerals, and essential fats needed for the body to work properly and control weight. These include macro-nutrients: protein, fat, carbs and fiber; and micro-nutrients: magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and others. When the body is undernourished, the metabolism slows, meaning it can’t process food efficiently. That in turn may cause you to hang onto more calories than it burns.
What nutrients should I be concerned about?
Magnesium – Found in leafy greens, nuts, and legumes. Involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body (1). Good for sleep and digestion.
Vitamin C – Found in vegetables and fruit. Low levels are linked to larger waists and higher BMI (1). Good for immune system and metabolism.
Vitamin E – Found in spinach, broccoli, and sunflower seeds. Good for red blood cell production.
Vitamin A – Found in yellow, red, and orange fruits, dark greens, and dairy. Good for the gut and immune system.
Vitamin D – Found in fatty fish and fortified foods. Sunshine is the best source! Good for immune system, bones and teeth, and disease prevention.
Omega 3s – Found in wild caught fish. Good for burning fat, blood flow, and lowering insulin and cortisol levels (1).
How to improve and prevent nutritional deficiencies?
The quality of food matters more than quantity. The metabolism likes variety, so do your best to mix it up and not eat the same things all the time. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables (lots), fruits, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and healthy oils (olive, coconut, and avocado oils). These foods are high in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants (2). Take a Probiotic to help repair gut bacteria and a Digestive Enzyme to optimize absorption of nutrients (2).
Keep in mind that there are other causes of weight loss resistance to consider. Other reasons could be related to hormones, stress, inadequate sleep, or some other health related issue that needs to be addressed by your doctor.
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