Hello, Health

Focus on these lesser known nutrients to lose weight

Weight loss isn't about fad diet or depriving yourself of certain food groups. It is all about balanced diet and including nutrients that aid in shedding those extra kilos.

 |  Hello, Health  |  3-minute read |   24-11-2018
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A lot of people come to me saying that they have tried it all, but the weight doesn’t budge. By ‘trying it all’ they mean they have experimented with multiple different kinds of fad diets, tried giving up specific foods, cut off entire food groups, gone on severe fasting, gone to detox spas, exercised for hours together, eaten myriad supplements — and then finally gave up when none of these worked.  

I tell them that they haven’t done that one thing which is most important, the one sure shot solution to beat weight loss resistance — a clear focus on correcting their nutritional imbalances and correcting the nutritional deficiencies that have become deep set in their body.

Rather, they have been priming themselves for more weight gain by worsening their nutrient deficiencies by trying out imbalanced, starvation regimes.

Certain nutrients are imperative to ensure that you stay at your optimum weight. While most people know about the importance of vitamin D, potassium, calcium and omega 3 for weight loss — it is important to know about some not-so-well-known, yet crucial nutrients that play a vital role in the process.

main-balanced-diet_112418020603.jpgCrucial nutrients play a vital role in weight loss (Photo: Reuters)

Here are five lesser-known ones:


Many of us are not even familiar with this trace mineral — forget about eating enough of it. It is needed to suppress appetite, balance blood sugar levels, and reduce hunger, cravings and binge eating. Its deficiency has clear tell-tale signs — impaired glucose tolerance, weight loss, mind-fog and confusion.

Get it from — broccoli, barley, oats, tomatoes and green beans. Even a liberal sprinkle of black pepper helps, as this spice is loaded with chromium.

Bonus: helps lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity.


Arginine is one of 20 amino acids that we get from the proteins in our diet. However, most of us do not get the adequate quantity from our diets, even though it is possible to get (we don’t need supplements). And that can really mess up our weight loss efforts.

Arginine aids in weight loss by burning excess fat and our improving muscle mass (thereby boosting our metabolism).

Signs of arginine-deficiency include hair loss, poor wound healing and skin rash, tremors and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Get it from — dairy, chicken, pumpkin seeds, spirulina and peanuts

Bonus: boosts immune system function

main_veggies_112418024243.jpgSuper nutrients found in natural food to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss (Photo: Reuters)


This mineral is much-in-demand for the multiple health benefits it bestows. It helps boost lipolysis — a process where the body releases fat from where it’s stored. 

Signs of magnesium deficiency are — muscle cramps, facial and eye tics, poor sleep, hyperactivity, constipation, and chronic pain.

Get it from — nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts), seeds (pumpkin and sunflower seeds), fish (mackerel, salmon, halibut), beans, and whole grains

Bonus benefit: Keeps fatigue at bay.


One unsung water-soluble vitamin — that you may never have heard of — might make all the difference in your ability to knock off weight. This fat-blasting B vitamin called choline turns off the genes that cause your body to store fat around your liver. Deficiency signs include muscle and liver damage as well as deposits of fat in the liver.

Get it from — eggs (by far the best source), pumpkin and sunflower seeds, dairy, salmon, broccoli and cauliflower.

Bonus benefit: It leads to improved brain functioning and greater lifelong memory capabilities. 

main_egg-yolk-2_112418024412.jpgEggs: One of the richest source of choline (Photo: Reuters)


Leucine is an essential amino acid the body needs in order to burn fat. This amino acid is also the key to muscle building because it increases the body’s ability to synthesize protein. More body mass keeps your metabolism humming and helps you drop pounds.

Deficiency tell-tale signs include headaches, irritability, fatigue and loss of balance.

Get it from — cheese, soya, chicken, fish and dairy.

Bonus benefit: improves liver health.

Also read: How the kilogram gained new weight


Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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