In order to help the many Nigerians struggling with what to eat, during their weight loss journey. I have decided to make a post on a Nigerian weight loss diet plan.
It is different from my earlier post on cheap weight loss diet plan that talked more about lifestyle and nutritional adjustments to make than anything else. With this particular post, the focus is on what foods to eat and not to eat.
I want this Nigerian weight loss blog to be one of the best online destination you visit when looking for weight loss tips and with that in mind, I intend writing some of the most in depth articles on the subject matter. That would be subjected to constant updates, so always check back.
I am not interested in telling you what exactly to eat. In the sense that I am not going to recommend any particular Nigerian meal or meals. I don’t know your pocket size and i don’t know what you can afford when it comes to foods.
So all i am going do is mention food groups that you need to loose weight and those you don’t. Pick the foods you like that can help you on the journey and go make the meal of your choice.
Nigerian Weight Loss Diet Plan
1. Cut Back On Carbohydrates
The first weight loss meal adjustment on every Nigerian weight loss diet plan is the reduction of Carbs. Cutting back on sugars and starches, or carbohydrates can help you lose up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) or sometimes even more in a single week. And the beauty of it is that the weight loss would include both body fat and water weight.
Reducing the amount of carbs that you eat would help you lower insulin levels and that would help your kidneys to shed excess sodium and water. Thereby reducing bloating and unnecessary water weight. [1, 2]
And just by reducing carbohydrate intake, your hunger levels will go down. Which means that you would start eating significantly fewer calories. Forcing your body to start burning stored fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. 
In Nigeria we eat much carbs and that is why many of us are overweight. According to another study a low carb diet can reduce appetite, consequently may lead you to eat fewer calories without you even thinking about it. 
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates is every important and most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy and can also be turned into fat (stored energy) for later use.
Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:
Sugars: Sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.
- Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which eventually get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.
- Fiber: Humans cannot digest fiber, although the bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of them.
But we shall not be going too deep into the different layers of carbs. Our concern is with Whole or Refined carbs or what many people refer to as Complex or Simple carbs. The amount of body weight you carry around is dependent on the type you eat on a daily basis.
There are two main types of Refine Carbs:
- Sugars: Refined and processed sugars, such as sucrose (table sugar), high fructose corn syrup and agave syrup.
- Refined grains: These are grains that have had the fibrous and nutritious parts removed. The biggest source is white flour made from refined wheat.
Studies have shown that consumption of refined carbohydrate is associated with health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes. [7, 8, 9] Diseases that are now very common among Nigerians. Refined carbohydrate consumption causes major spikes in blood sugar levels, a situation that can trigger hunger and cravings for more high-carb foods. [10, 11]
Refined carbs include sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice and others that would be mentioned below. Another point to take down is that simple carbs are usually also lacking in essential nutrients. And that is why refined carbs are often referred to as “empty” calories. And too much is very bad for your waist size and general health.
And then there is the added sugars that are the worst kind of carbohydrate out there. Responsible for all kind of sickness and diseases.
List of Refined Carbs
- Beverages: Juice (even 100% fruit juice), soda, sweetened iced tea, lemonade, Gatorade, Vitamin water, sweetened coffee drinks, flavored milk
- Starches: White breads: rolls, bagels, hero bread, Italian bread, multi-grain bread (this is not necessarily a whole grain), white pasta, white rice, muffins, croissants, scones, sweetened cereals
- Snack foods: white crackers, chips, pretzels, sweetened dried fruit, yogurt covered snacks, cookies, cake, ice cream, candy bars, cereal bars
- Condiments and added sugars: Syrup, sugar, brown sugar, sugar in the raw, honey, agave, molasses, corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, fruit juice concentrates 
Like i said earlier, i am not here to draw out a Nigerian weight loss diet plan that involves what to eat in the morning, afternoon or evening. My approach is to list the good and bad foods. Tell you why the foods are good or bad. Encourage you to cut out the bad ones while increasing the supply of the good ones.
But when it comes to carbs, the principle is moderation. It doesn’t matter whether it is the whole or simple carbs. Too much of either of them will get you into trouble.Especially when you are into the sedentary lifestyle.
So when you want to make your weight loss meals, have that list on the table with the foods you want to eat. And make sure refine carbs are not added. Only indulge in refine carbs when you have no choice or want instant energy boost and it shouldn’t be all of the time.
Now let us move to the good carbs or whole carbs. The type that is actually good for you.
Whole food sources of carbohydrates are loaded with nutrients and fiber, and they don’t cause the same spikes and dips in blood sugar levels like simple carbs. Whole carbs include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains that numerous studies have shown is linked to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of disease. [13, 14, 15, 16]
List of Whole Carbs
- Vegetables: All of them. It is best to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
- Whole fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
- Legumes: Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Whole grains: Choose grains that are truly whole, as in pure oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
- Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. 
I will be adding more whole carbs foods to this list in the future.
“The scientific literature is very clear that eating carbohydrates that are embedded in plant cellulose — complex carbohydrates — is always better,” says Nagi Kumar, PhD, director of clinical nutrition at the Moffitt Cancer Center and professor of human nutrition at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “But the reasons it is better are not because it somehow lessens or alters fat storage.”
And this is why i am asking you to always use moderation when consuming carbs. Because too much, even with whole carbs will get your overweight.
As Nigerians looking for ways to loose fat while still eating the nigerian foods we love,this is where i tell you the sad truth. Foods like Eba (garri) and fufu should be eaten in moderation. In fact they shouldn’t always feature in our daily meal plans.
On days i decide to eat Eba which is not always. I make sure Eba and soup is eaten very early in the day. I dont recommend swallowing Eba and foods that fall into the category of heavy carbs late at night. Whenever i do that, i wake up with a swollen face the next day which is not at all appealing.
I don’t take sugars nor do i take soft drinks. And that is what i am recommending.
Another staple when it comes to Nigerian meals is the white rice and we eat that a lot. And that is another food that can really mess with your waistline. So it is very important to make white rice a not too frequent addition to your Nigerian weight loss meal plan.
And when you must eat bread, eat in moderation. But if you fall into the category of persons that love bread then make sure the type you eat is made of whole grains.
2. Eat More Proteins
Unfortunately people eat less proteins in Nigeria. Carbohydrates are the main food source, cutting across tribe and religion. And this is because carbs are affordable.
Protein is the single most important nutrient that is needed for weight loss and a better looking body. And i kid you not, this is a fact that you can get from your local gym. And if you frequently visit the gym and now have workout pals with a long history in working out, the protein is the one recommendation they would certainly offer as a weight loss food hack.
It would amaze you to know that consuming more proteins can help reduce cravings and obsessive thoughts about food by 60%. In one study, people who ate diets with high protein content ate 441 fewer calories per day.
It was also discovered that consuming proteins helped reduce the desire to snack late at night by half. [1, 2]The truth is protein creates a kind of fullness hard to ignore. When you eat proteins and you feel full, that fullness is the kind that would make you less incline to eat any additional meal.
Other studies has proven that higher protein intake actually increases levels of the satiety (appetite-reducing) hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin, while reducing your levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Automatically reducing calorie intake. [6, 7, 8, 9] Instead of all those supplements reputed to keep hunger at bay, i would recommend you go for healthy proteins and you will certainly get that benefit, plus many more.
High protein intake tends to boost metabolism. Making you burn more calories around the clock, including during sleep. And this is due to the high thermic effect (calories used for the purpose of digesting and metabolizing the food) of protein.
It is said that protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%). 
Sources Of Healthy Proteins
Some food sources of dietary protein include:
- lean meats – beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo
- poultry – chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose, bush birds
- fish and seafood – fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams
- dairy products – milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), cheese (especially cottage cheese)
- nuts (including nut pastes) and seeds – almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
- legumes and beans – all beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, tofu. 
Your Nigerian weight loss meal plan should have more proteins than anything else. And that is why the list above is very important. When you want to make your meals make sure you cut back the carbs while adding more protein to your plate.
The sad truth is many people in Nigerian cant afford to buy protein dense foods but it would amaze you to know that mixing rice and beans together is one of the cheapest means of getting complete protein on your plate. Thus, whenever you feel like eating rice, make sure you add beans to it.
Don’t forget to add beef to your Nigerian weight loss diet plan. It is one of the best and most available source of complete proteins out there. But if you are still looking for cheap but complete proteins then eggs is another source of the weight loss super nutrient.
3. Add More Vegetables And fruits To Your Meals
Foods rich in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and beans, is a safe and healthy way to lose or maintain weight. Greens are also good sources for essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that your body truly need. 
This is a very important part of your Nigerian weight loss diet plan. Eating more vegetable and fruits would help you with a list of leafy substitutes for calorie dense foods on days or period that you really want to drop down in weight gains.
In Nigeria we have access to a lot of vegetables and they use to feature a lot on our meals. that is until fast foods became the go to source for almost everything we eat. And this is why i recommend cooking at home if weight loss is truly a goal you want to achieve.
Cooking at home gives us the chance to decide what goes into our cooking pot. And when it comes to vegetables and fruits, because we are in charge we can actually go for low carbs vegetables instead.
When last did you eat Salad?
That is a very expensive meal in fast food joints but if you decide to go through the stress, you can actually get a very good deal buying them from the market and preparing them at home.
I buy a moderate size cabbage for 200 Naira, carrots and cucumber for 100 Naira, kidney beans for hundred Naira as well. I have mayonnaise at home that i use in moderation.
And i can use that same cabbage for almost a week, the carrot and cucumber for two days and i buy kidney beans whenever i feel like adding that.
Preparing salad at home is CHEAP! And it is good for your health.
4. Add More Healthy Fats To Your Meals
People tell you to avoid fat and that is why you get hungry easily when you are dieting to loose weight. It is suicide to cut back on carbs and fats at the same time.
But i am here to tell you that you can eat fats but it all depends on the type. You can eat moderate amounts of saturated fat, you must totally avoid trans fat and what is left is the good fat.
Fat is a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is very important and is also essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
You should understand that saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.
It is true that eating too much saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. ‘Too Much” is the problem when it come to this kind of fat.
Saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods.
One meta-analysis of 21 studies showed that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease, but that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may indeed reduce risk of heart disease. 
In another 2017 journal article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine it was reported that the risks of LDL cholesterol had previously been overstated, particularly when it comes to a negative effect on heart health.
According to the article saturated fat does not clog the arteries.
This is the type of fat you want to completely avoid, this is the worst type of dietary fat. It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid.
It does not have any known health benefits and because it has no safe level of consumption, you must avoid it in all its forms.
Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
- For every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.
- Trans fats create inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
- It contributes to insulin resistance, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some sources of Trans Fat
- Crackers, cookies, cakes, frozen pies, and other baked goods
- Snack foods (such as microwave popcorn)
- Frozen pizza
- Vegetable shortenings and some stick margarines
- Coffee creamer
- Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits and cinnamon rolls)
- Ready-to-use frostings 
The Good Fat
They are called “heart-healthy” fats and are made up of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. And this is the kind of fat that should always feature on your Nigerian weight loss diet plan.
Monounsaturated fats stay liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond and has two fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fat.
According to studies eating foods that contain monounsaturated fat can improve your blood cholesterol level and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.
This type of fats are called “essential fats” because our body cannot make them and needs them from foods. Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats and required for normal body functions. Lack of which is going to mess up your entire system.
Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. So it doesn’t make sense that one coach somewhere is telling you to stop eating fat.
There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.
Foods rich in linoleic acid and other omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils. And just so you know, Omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to protection against heart disease.
I will recommend you add polyunsaturated fats to your Nigerian weight loss diet plan in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates in order to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and help lower triglycerides
Until next time, keep healthy!