Quality Control or Quantity Control? Which do I focus on for weight loss?

Navigating nutrition is a simple path if you are willing to spend a little time looking into it. I get the issue that there are many different people telling you different things. I get asked all the time “how much protein/carbs/fat/ should I eat?” and “should I eat before or after training?” and the ever popular “what supplements should I use?”.

there does need to be a calculation of food requirements for the day and the amount of food you eat needs to sit under this amount.

The general scientific body of information regarding weight loss out there says that there does need to be a calculation of food requirements for the day and the amount of food you eat needs to sit under this amount. Basically the calories you eat needs to be under the amount you use on a daily basis, your body then will call on the stored energy to make up the difference.

Wrong order

Now there is a bit of an art when calculating this number. The problem with this is not the message itself, the message is correct as the science around it is sound. Less calories eaten than needed equals weight loss. The problem rather is that this idea of calorie counting is the main focus for many people trying to lose kilos before other important pieces are put into place.

The quality of the food does play a huge roll. Let’s just say a person requires 2000cals a day to function. The science says eat somewhere under this and you’ll lose weight. Let’s just say it’s 1800cals, you want those cals to be of the highest quality. These are your building blocks for cellular rejuvenation and muscle repair to name a few functions. If those cals were made up of coffee and toast for brekky, a sandwich for lunch then schnitzel with mash and gravy for dinner for example then the quality of those building blocks is sub-par at best.

Poor building blocks.

So back to the original question then. Do I focus on quality or quantity? We now see that it depends on where the person is on their journey which answers this question. For nutritional intervention I have a bit of a tiered approach. At each tier there are elements to master before moving on to the next tier. I have a few tiers but here is the breakdown of the first 2.

Tier 1Tier 2
Eating speedCalc caloric needs
Eat to 80% fullDetermine macros
Protein qualityNutrient timing
Fresh veggies/salad
and other carbs
Distribute macros
across meals
Quality fat source

So you see that there are more general quality and food eating standards to meet before any sort of calculations should be made in regards to calories or macros. In regards to the protein, carb and fat quality check out this table. I find that when people who aren’t doing the bits and pieces from tier 1 do so, they start to lose kilos just from this. Once this is mastered then tier 2 is necessary. 

(Precision Nutrition – 2018)

Tier 1 is the framework of the 50-Day Restart Program we run. I speak nothing of calculated quantities but rather getting quality food into the house and onto the table. I help people navigate the more difficult meals of the day, breakfast and lunch, as many people are time poor and opt for the more convenient meals.

In summary, dieting (I hate that word) is not complicated if you know how to navigate it. If you’re a bit lost remember, master quality first then move on to quantities.

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