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Managed to get all nutritional values correct, and have got the calories upto 1000. Still missing 500 calories. If everything else is ok, but calories are missing 500, is that OK for health reasons?

Here is the spreadsheet:


I didn't save the old version, but here is a newer version:

It is working out to about 500 calories less than I need, but too much fat.


Based on my BMI, my GDA is:

zero exercise days
calories                1525
protein                 34
carbohydrate (max)      183
- of which sugars       73
- dietary fibers        24
fat (max)               58
- of which saturates    18
sodium                  3

I have converted this into 1 meal so far and roughly get the right amount of everything in the list above from protein to sodium. For example 35g protein, 100g carbs, 50g fat, almost 3g sodium etc etc. But it's only working out to around 500 calories...

So I am not sure what to do now. Is 500 calories enough if all the other values have been reached, or do I need to triple all the values just to get 1500ish calories, or do I need to get 1500ish calories without tripling the other values?

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closed as off topic by Ivo Flipse Feb 22 '12 at 18:32

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

OK, now that I'm looking at the spreadsheet again, and the fact that this is a whole day's worth of food, I can make a few suggestions:

  • Don't count lettuce in your daily calorie counts. It is mostly water, and useful as a filler if you get hungry in the middle of the day.
  • You don't have enough protein, unless you only have 32kg of lean muscle mass. You should have 1g protein per kg of lean muscle mass.
  • Fat is less harmful to losing weight than sugar/carbs (personal experience)
  • Seeds/Nuts are high in fat for the amount of protein you get. Use sparingly.
  • You need some sodium, but not a whole lot. USDA recommends about 1500mg/day which seems to be enough to keep your body chemistry healthy without causing hypertension. You'll probably need to add some salt in your preparation of your food.

Here is a suggested meal plan to start with:

  • 2 whole eggs for breakfast.
  • 1 tilapia filet (high protein, low fat/calories) and 2 servings broccoli for lunch
  • 140g of lean chicken and 2 servings spinach for dinner
  • 1 serving 0% fat Greek yogurt for evening snack (good source of protein, not too many carbs)
  • 2L water throughout the day
  • 30-60ml Olive Oil or Canola Oil throughout the day (or similar oil that is equally healthy)

If you notice with this type of plan you'll be getting plenty of protein, a proper amount of fat, but very little carbs. That's OK as carbs tend to pack our your calories without giving you enough of the other things your body needs.

When you have carbs, make them count. For example, using coconut flour to bread the tilapia filet will also add a decent amount of dietary fiber as well. Also, certain vinegars can be used to sweeten or flavor your vegetables to keep them from being boring or to turn a normally bitter vegetable into something palatable. Good vinegars are: apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar, rice vinegar (not the kind used for salads or rice wine vinegar as they have too much sugar).

If you are concerned about the lack of carbs in the proposed meal plan, then I recommend loading them all at breakfast while you are losing weight. For example, add a couple slices of whole grain toast to breakfast and 1 serving of fruit. Berries do you a lot of good, but a pear or an apple would also be nice. Another option would be making a sandwich. A personal favorite of mine is:

  • 1 Thomas' English muffin (high fiber kind)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 2 slices of Canadian bacon

This gives me plenty of carbs for the day, and combined with the veggies will also give you a good head start on your dietary fiber.

Remember if you don't have enough protein you will lose muscle mass. If you lose muscle mass, your BMR will go down. If your BMR goes down then you have to adjust your diet more and more. It's a viscous cycle until you get to the point where you aren't eating enough but still getting fatter. Don't skimp on the protein. Skimp on the carbs, but not the protein.

As for decent sources of protein consider these useful guidelines:

  • Land meat (poultry, beef, pork) should be lean, and about the size of your closed fist
  • Sea meat (fish, scallops, etc.) is naturally lean and full of good oils, and should be about the size of your open hand.
  • 2 whole eggs--half the protein is in the yolk as well as other nutrients. If you really don't want the yolk then use the whites of 4 eggs as an equivalent protein.

Fat is not as harmful to weight loss as carbs (in my experience), so if you need something crazy for a snack it's better to have a handful of mixed nuts than a brownie.

So far everything looks good on your spreadsheet. If you want to cut fat, you may consider swapping the leg meat for breast meat. The white meat of a chicken is leaner, which improves the protein to fat ratio. It also makes it more difficult to cook correctly, too little cooking and you risk getting sick, too much cooking and it becomes dry.

That said, in my experience fat is less damaging to weight loss than carbs. We're only talking 3g of fat here. Your body is going to work harder to convert fat to useable energy than it will with sugar. That's a good thing.

I'm not sure how much Olive Oil you have translates to volume (i.e. ml instead of grams), but you may compensate by cutting 3g of Olive Oil if the excess fat truly concerns you. I will say that Olive Oil, a mono-unsaturated fat, is going to be healthier for you so I would just keep it.

I would be concerned less with the exact numbers, or you are going to drive yourself crazy. As long as you are close, you will lose weight and you will remain healthy. 3g is a 5% difference between your ideal of 58g and your actual of 61g of fat. I'd say that's an acceptable margin of error.

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