Lesson 2.2 : Principles of the Metabolic Style of Eating


We are often overwhelmed by the amount of information in the media, on the internet and on the radio about how to eat to lose weight. The 1980’s was about low-fat diets but it failed to improve obesity, cardiovascular risk, or general health. Do you remember the “Life Be In It” campaign? Where did it get us?  It was all about calorie counting and where did that leave us in the obesity battle? Our obesity rates have only got higher. We are fatter now in the 2000’ss than we were in the 1980’s.

Although the calorie is a measure of energy, it does not mean that all calorie sources have the same effect on your weight. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and can have vastly different effects on hunger and the hormones that regulate weight. For example, replacing simple carbohydrates with protein can boost metabolism, depress appetite and cravings and reduce weight-regain hormones. So look to reach for a boiled egg or some strips of chicken breast instead of a chocolate bar. It sounds strange but your body will soon turn off the “sweet switch” and will not crave for it anymore. It takes time.

Brain switch

There is good evidence that the Dash diet and Mediterranean Diet produces moderate rate loss and good health benefits but research tells us that all diets produce the same results long term but the best diet to be on is the way you can stick to. We have chosen the metabolic style of eating as the benefits of carbohydrate restriction in diabetes and obesity are immediate and well documented and with diabetes and pre-diabetes rates around the world at an all time high, eating in a way to that reduces this risk is important. The style of eating incorporates elements of the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet and low carbohydrate eating. It also is effective in weight loss. In this module, you will learn about the “metabolic style of eating” which is healthy and sustainable and does not require a high level of food preparation.

Mediterranean Diet

Eating foods with a low carbohydrate content helps with weight loss due to reduced insulin secretion and increased satiety through sustained glucose response. The aim is to create a way of eating that is nutrient dense, unprocessed and unrefined. In 2016, the CSIRO released new information about the average Australian diet, revealing that we are eating far too much junk food, and not enough healthy food. It is time to start now.

If you want a step-by-step guide how how to eat this way and how to build upp your exercise, have a look at our 6 week Redefine Metabolic Weight Loss Program here: 

 Principles of the Metabolic Style of Eating

The traditional food pyramid (high in complex carbohydrates, low in meats and oils) has been replaced by the metabolic pyramid (high in good oils, non-starchy vegetables, moderate proteins and meats, and low in carbohydrates and high sugar fruits).

Food Pyramid

Focus on good quality proteins

The harsh reality is that to lose weight, you must reduce caloric intake, unfortunately, there is no way around it. However, focusing on protein, specifically high-quality protein has very strong evidence as shown by the two diets above.  If we do not get enough protein, we will go for sugars, and carbohydrates. Protein-rich foods are more satiating, keeping you feeling fuller for longer by keeping your sugar levels more stable and allowing it come down over a couple of hours. It also encourages you to consume less, or even eliminate high GI and highly processed foods, which contributes to more cravings after the sugar high finally drops


Try to eat till you are 90% full. Being comfortable but having some space in your stomach is the right fullness to be. Eating to 100% is not ideal and eating to 110-120% makes you feel bloated, unwell and unhappy. A low carbohydrate diet has a natural appetite reduction effect. Ensure you do not allow yourself to get extremely hungry. Listen to your body. For some people, it may mean a very structured approach as they have forgotten how to recognise hunger.

Primary Restriction: Carbohydrates

Aim: to reduce simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are sugars, honey, soft drinks, flavoured milk, fruit juice and tropical fruits.

Complex carbohydrates are starchy foods such as grains, rice, cereals, breads, starchy vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin, sweet corn, parsnips) and slow cooked beans (pinto, lima, black beans, chickpeas, lentils).

Serves: no more than 2 small serves of carbohydrates a day

Avoid: artificial sweeteners, “diet” and low-fat products and highly processed foods.

Your Choices When You  are Hungry

Vegetables and salads: eat in abundance as nutritionally dense and fibre rich.

Serves:  every meal especially lunch and dinner. Eat approximately at least 2 cups a day of vegetables and salad.


Proteins: all lean cut meats, white and oily fish, poultry, canned fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines.

Serves: aim for 150gms to 200gms serve.

protein salmon

Good Fats: oily salmon, tuna or sardines – canned, smoked or fresh, avocado, nuts

Serves: no more than ½ avocado a day. Nuts and seeds (no more than 10) – walnuts and almonds are best



Fruits: rich in colour and vitamin C. Avoid tropical fruits (high in sugar).

Serves: 2 serves maximum a day.

Eat: blueberries, strawberries, apples, oranges, watermelon, rockmelon, honeydew melon.

Avoid: tropical fruits (mangoes, pineapples, figs, bananas), grapes and cherries.

minneola berries

Dairy:  important for calcium and bones, but watch products which are high in fat.

Serves: 1-2 serves a day.

Bread: if choosing bread, choose dark rye bread, and limit to small amounts e.g. twice a week.


Eggs: no more than 6 a week

Oils: olive oil, especially in pure form over salads

Cheese: avoid processed cheese.  Soft cheeses in small amounts are acceptable.

Appropriate snacks:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Smoothies – no more than 2 fruits in them
  • Vegetable sticks, or ½ cup roasted vegetables
  • Lean meat
  • Fruit – punnet of strawberries, handful of blueberries, stonefruits, apples, pears, oranges
  • Avocado
  • Home-made dips with reduced oil
  • Cans of tuna or salmon in springwater
  • Boiled eggs


tuna egg

Clean Eating, Clean Sleeping

 If you are not getting enough sleep, eating too many carbohydrates may be the cause. According to research in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, those who have a high sugar diet and indulge in refined carbs likely take longer to fall asleep. If you fall into this category, you may also have trouble getting restful sleep during the night

We also know that not getting enough sleep reduces the level of satiety hormone. Leptin and boosts the hunger hormone ghrelin, which also steers us towards high carbohydrate choices. If you are sleep deprived, your motivation is at an all time low.


Basic Principles of Weightloss Eating




Standard portion sizing has tripled in 50 years.


It is easy to overeat.  When you are hungry you usually select a food that will give you a quick fix and you will generally overeat. These foods are generally high in sugar and fat.

If you are someone who overeats when you get hungry, one solution is to never let yourself get that hungry. People who skip meals  have a lower metabolic rate as their body goes into starvation/drought mode. Try and eat at least 3 times a day even if it is small amounts. Do not let yourself go for hours without eating which mainly happens when you skip meals.


What happens when you skip breakfast? People who skip breakfast tend to eat sugary and fatty mid morning snacks and/or lunches which results in them feeling tired in the afternoon. Their body craves high density foods to pick them up. For many, their after work time is the worst for eating the wrong foods and this can be because they have skipped meals during the day.

Breakfast should be eaten for other reasons too. These reasons include:

  1. helping you to burn more calories passively after eating,
  2. increased energy to get you moving as you start the day but more importantly to
  3. avoid making that bad mid-morning choices or a “sweet treat” pickup because our hunger has kicked in

We should eat breakfast so that we do not let our hunger build and end up eating too much at the end of the day. Usually our breakfast choices can be smarter and be more nutritious, where we can pre-plan to get that extra fibre in or ensuring we have fruits with anti-oxidants. It is true that when we eat, our metabolism speeds up, as our body needs the energy to breakdown foods and process them. But more importantly, is making the right food choices, having the right energy levels and managing our hunger so we do not over eat later in the day.


Avoid eating foods and drinks with high energy density values. Energy densities can be divided into low, medium and high. It is advisable to eat low density foods freely, medium density sparingly, high density occasionally. Reducing fat and increasing fibre and water content is the best way to reduce energy density. Energy dense foods are often processed foods. To have a long shelf life, they are often dried out foods, pulverize and  cooked foods in fat, and/or  have large amounts of sugar. We know that 1 gm of fibre is about 2 calories by gram. Protein and carbohydrates are about 4 calories by gram. In contrast, fat has 9 calories per gram. To make things simple, the more processed and modified a product is, the higher the energy density as so many additives and products would have to be added to make foods last in the pantry, taste palatable, and be easy to package. As a basic plan that requires no structure, only buy, eat and prepare foods that come in their basic and original form and have not been modified in anyway.



  • No snacking after 8pm
  • Eat 30 minutes after exercise. It speeds up your metabolism for the rest of the day. Eating protein after exercise is said to prevent soreness. Choose from the snack list
  • Reduce carbs at evening dinner
  • Eat slowly in bite size portions and chew well. You will feel fuller more quickly.
  • Plan your meals. Planning what you are going to eat and when means that you are in control of the outcome. Impulse eaters eat more than they think whereas planned eaters have the food prepared for specific times of the day and so consumes the right foods in the right quantities.
  • Never shop when hungry.


If you are someone who has no time, prepare meals well in advance. Cook meals on the weekend and freeze them in batches.

Think about reducing either  the frequency of eating, the portion size and the energy density of food to reduce the amount of calories you consume.


To give you some guidance on metabolic eating should look like, these are some example recipes that implement these principles.

Breakfast recipes







Lunch Recipes:

Greek salad






Dinner Recipes:

Garlic lamb skewers

Sample Menu

This is a sample of what the metabolic style of eating would look like throughout the day. The example in black is for someone who is short of time and the Green example is for someone who has a bit more time to prepare.


Frozen berries (1 cup) + apple (1/2) + ½ cup natural Greek yogurt
Omelette ( 2 eggs) + vegetables (onion, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes) + sprinkle of cheese, cooked in olive oil

Dark rye bread ( 2 slices) + avocado (1/4) + can of tuna/salmon or 3-4 slices of smoked salmon
Salad (2 cups): leafy greens, capsicum, beetroot, carrot, avocado + tinned salmon + sliced boiled egg (1) + olive oil ( 2tbsps), balsamic vinegar
Leftover dinner

Slow cooked chicken casserole (chicken breasts, onion, mushroom, cauliflower) served on salad
Sirloin steak (160mg) + homemade mushroom sauce (2Tbsp) + asparagus (15 spears), green beans, + carrots and celery ( 2/3 cup)

Walnuts or almonds (10 only ), natural Greek yogurt, boiled egg, can of tuna

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