4 Big Fat Facts: The Simple Science Behind Fat Loss

4 Big Fat Facts: The Simple Science Behind Fat Loss

With an incredible 30{e247ef2f99dfc0bc75e074b1ac933c200478cf8913d2da2bbe9d5daddf1eb195} of the UK population now rolling into the category of ‘clinically obese’, being slightly (or not so slightly) overweight seems to have gained a place in what we consider ‘normal’. Now, with health and fitness as an increasingly popular personal interest for both men and women of all ages, we can obviously assume that a large amount of us have gotten fat simply due to a lack of knowledge on the subject.

We assume that if we eat fat, we get fat. If we don’t eat fat, we don’t get fat. The bad news is: it’s not that simple. The good news is: it’s not particularly hard, either…

1. It’s Simple Maths, Really.

Forget about how much fat you want to lose this year, and think about today. Every day, you either consume an amount of calories that is above your recommended intake, or you consume an amount that is below. So, think of it like this: today you will either gain a little weight, or lose a little weight. How much weight you gain in a week, month, or year, just depends what you’re most consistent with – surpassing your recommended calorie intake, or falling short.

The UK Department of Health Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) are a daily calorie intake of 1940 calories per day for women and 2550 for men. Calorie calculator.

2. Diets, Sugar & Carbohydrates

The last thing you should do if you want to lose fat (and keep it off) is go on an extremely low calorie diet. Consuming a ridiculously small amount of calories might seem like a logical way to lose weight, but our bodies are much smarter than we are, and once it realises that it’s not getting a sufficient amount of nutrition, it will go into starvation mode, storing as much fat as possible whenever you eat. Not only that – you’ll also lose muscle tone due to a lack of protein and amino acids, resulting in a low-muscle, high-body fat physique (AKA ‘skinny-fat’).

Avoiding breakfast is also a huge mistake. Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School says “When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you’re not producing the enzymes needed to metabolise fat to lose weight.” So, make sure you jumpstart your metabolism in the morning with a healthy breakfast that includes things like fruit, yoghurt, or oatmeal. Sugary breakfast cereal isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing.


Sugar and carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel. If you consume too much fuel, your body will store it as fat in case you need it in the near future (an evolutionary adaptation which came in handy when our next meal wasn’t quite so easy to obtain). But, if you don’t quite consume enough, your body turns to stored fat for energy, which is why if you want to burn body fat, you should maintain a reasonably low-carb, low-sugar diet.

The NHS recommends a maximum of 30g of sugar per day for those aged 11 and over. Now, just one can of Coke alone contains 33g of sugar, so eliminating fizzy drinks from your diet is highly recommended if you’re serious about losing weight. And no, turning to ‘diet’ soft drinks is not the answer to being in good shape. A study at the University of Texas found that people who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist-size increases that were six times greater than non-drinkers. Diet drinks are loaded with deceptively sweet artificial sweeteners, which, researchers say, trick the metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way, spiking insulin levels and shifting the body from a fat-burning to a fat-storing state.

When planning a diet, stick to the rule of thirds: 1/3 of your nutrition intake should be protein, 1/3 should be healthy fats and 1/3 should be healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potato or brown rice. You want to get the majority of your sugars from fruits, not man-made snacks or drinks. And remember to drink a lot of water. Not only will this make you feel fuller, quicker, it will also contribute to fat loss due to healthy hydration levels.

3. Eat Healthy Fats for Fat Loss

Eat fat to lose fat? That may sound completely illogical, but eating healthy unsaturated fats found in things like fish, nuts, avocados and eggs, actually promotes the fat burning process by speeding up metabolism. Not only that – it’s consuming fats that sends signals to your brain telling you that you’re full, so snacking on some almonds or pistachios when you’re peckish is a good way to fulfil cravings without backtracking on your progress.


Unsaturated fats have shown to be beneficial for nutrition absorption, brain function, maintaining healthy skin, heart health and much more, which is why they should be a part of your daily nutrition intake.

4. Long, Boring Cardio Sessions are NOT Ideal

Until recently, it was believed that long-duration cardio sessions, such as running or cycling, were optimal for fat loss. However, recent research has confirmed that this isn’t necessarily the case.

When we compare moderate-intensity cardio (jogging for example) with something like high intensity interval training (such as sprints), results show that not only does HIIT burn more fat, it also increases your cardiovascular fitness more than long duration cardio does. In addition to this, it’s great for your hormone levels, builds lean muscle mass and even increases your metabolism. And, unlike steady cardio sessions, HIIT sessions can leave your body burning calories for hours after the training session is over. And the best part is: a good HIIT session only needs to last around 15 minutes.

When we say ‘burn calories’ what we’re talking about is burning energy. So, along with HIIT, weight training is also a great way to burn a large amount of calories in a short period of time, due to how much energy your body needs to complete each movement. And like HIIT, weight training can speed up your metabolism and leave your body burning calories long after you leave the gym. Plus, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns throughout the day in order to keep your larger muscles moving.


If you look at the body composition of sprinters that train with short bursts of high energy, in comparison to marathon runners that train for long, low intensity periods of time, you can see that a sprinter is much more lean and muscular, and the marathon runner is skinny with very little muscle mass.

Get a Personal Nutrition & Workout Plan

If you want a nutrition and workout plan that is designed specifically for you and your personal goals, as well an unlimited information similar to that in this article, get in touch with the Manchester-based personal trainers at Ollie Lawrence Personal Trainer today. We provide one-on-one personal training sessions in an empty, private gym, and your first 30 minute consultation is completely free!

Call us directly on 0161 399 00 77 or fill in the contact form below and we will get back to you!

Ollie Lawrence
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