What about Micros and Fibre for Fat Loss

Micros and Fibre

If you’ve inhabited the fitness world for a while, then you must know about the importance of calories and macros. But are you aware how micros and fibre affect your appearance? 

Well, let me tell you this: if you don’t get enough of them, you’re seriously impairing your ability to shed fat and gain muscle.

That’s why you’ll want to read this evidence-based article. In it, we’ll cover the shocking facts about micros and the crunchy truth about fibre. 

You’ll learn how to get enough of the right micros so you can sculpt your dream body faster. You’ll also discover the “best” fibre intake to support your health and fat loss efforts. Let’s get to it!

What Are Micros?

Micros is shorthand for “micronutrients” – an umbrella term for vitamins and minerals. In total, there are 24 essential micros – 12 vitamins and 12 minerals. 

Your body can’t synthesise those micros, which means you must get them through food or supplementation (or, in the case of vitamin D, from the sun).

The good news is that you can get enough of most micros if you follow a varied diet with lots of whole, nutritious foods.

The bad news? Some are harder to get in sufficient quantities. This is due to factors such as soil depletion, stress, intense exercising, modern cooking methods, and water over-filtration.

If you don’t consume enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, you can become deficient in it. This affects not only your health but also your ability to shape your dream body. 

Why Micros Are Crucial For Your Fitness Goals 

A handful of micros significantly influence factors such as your metabolism, hormone production, gym performance, and fat burning.

The following four micros are especially important if you want to shape a high-performance, eye-catching body.

1. Zinc

Getting enough zinc helps fire up your metabolism. The reason is that your thyroid – the control centre of your metabolism – needs zinc to function properly.

One case study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism clearly demonstrates this. The researchers instructed a zinc-deficient woman to supplement with 26.4 mg of zinc per day [1].

The result? After just two months, her resting metabolic rate increased by 527 calories. That’s a whopping 3,689 calories a week, which represents more energy than one pound (0.45kg) of pure body fat.

Besides supporting your metabolism, zinc is also crucial for the production of various hormones. This includes the fat-burning and muscle-building hormone testosterone [2-3].

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D – also called the “sun vitamin” – has a major influence on your figure. Research has found that obese people tend to have lower vitamin D levels than those with a healthy body weight [4].

Hence, one study published in the Nutrition Journal found that obese women lost on average 2.7 kg after supplementing with vitamin D for 12 weeks. What’s remarkable is that they achieved those results without making any other conscious lifestyle or diet changes [5].

But how does vitamin D aid fat loss? The numerous ways include preventing the formation of new fat cells, suppressing fat storage, increasing serotonin levels, and boosting testosterone [6-9].

3. Calcium

The effect of calcium on body weight was first shown by a group of researchers from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville [10]. 

They fed mice specially bred to be obese a high-fat, high-sugar diet for six weeks. This led to the animals packing on 27% body fat.

After that, all mice were placed on a calorie-restricted diet, and two groups received a calcium supplement daily. The results were astonishing!

At the end of the study, the control group had lost 8% body fat on average while the mice who received a calcium supplement showed an average loss of 42%. 

Do the same fat loss benefits of calcium apply to humans, you ask? The answer is yes, as shown by a calorie-matched study published in the journal Obesity Research [11].

The scientists found that a high-calcium diet (1,200-1,300 mg/day) led to 26% more weight loss than a low-calcium one (400-500 mg/day). Plus, a larger proportion of this weight loss came from actual body fat.

Upping your calcium intake helps boost your weight/fat loss efforts for two reasons. 

First off, calcium revs up metabolism, which means you’ll burn more calories each day. Besides, it increases fat oxidation, so more of the weight loss comes from fat mass [12]

4. Iron

Iron deficiency is widespread, affecting more than 25% of the global population [13-14]. Low iron levels are especially common in women because they lose this mineral during menstruation.

An iron deficiency can lead to tiredness and weakness. Therefore, getting enough of it will help optimise your gym performance.

Research on elite female volleyball players – a group prone to iron deficiency – found that 11 weeks of iron supplementation increased strength on various barbell lifts compared to a control group who received no supplement [15].

Here’s What to Do

As we’ve seen, getting enough vitamins and minerals is important for your athletic performance and physical appearance. This holds especially true for zinc, vitamin D, calcium, and iron.

To get enough micros, go with a varied diet and make sure at least 80% of your meals derive from nutritious, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, healthy fats, and high-quality meats. 

Here are the best dietary sources for the four crucial micros:

– Zinc: lamb, pumpkin seeds, beef, chickpeas, cocoa powder, cashews, kefir, and yogurt.

– Vitamin D: cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, raw milk, and eggs. The best source, however, is sunlight.

– Calcium: milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese, kale, and sardines.

– Iron: spirulina, liver, beef, lentils, cacao, and dark chocolate.

The problem is that even when you regularly consume the foods above, you can still be deficient in certain micros. 

There are various reasons why. Those include agricultural practices, over-filtration of water, a lack of variety in food intake, severe calorie restriction, and stress. Besides, your vitamin and mineral needs are higher if you train hard. 

For this reason, we recommend that you check your micronutrient status with a blood test even if you follow a healthy and balanced diet. Then, if necessary, supplement the vitamins and minerals you’re deficient in.

Doing so benefits not only your figure but also your health, so you’ll be less likely to get sick, and you’ll have more energy during the day.

If you can’t get a blood test panel done, the second best option is supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin to cover all your nutritional bases.

Of course, such a supplement provides no alternative to a well-balanced, nutritious diet. So, combine this with a healthy eating style.

The Crunchy Truth About Fibre

Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate your body can’t digest.  Its main purpose is to feed your “good” intestinal bacteria, which are important for your health.

Their positive effect stretches to your immune system, brain function, blood sugar control, and – yes! – the number on your scale.

Does Fibre Help You Lose Fat?

The answer is yes: researchers have linked a higher dietary fibre intake to a lower body weight [16]. It’s believed fibre can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight in two main ways [17-18]:

– Fibre increases satiety after a meal.

– Fibre prolongs the time food stays in your stomach, so it will take longer before you feel hungry again.

In other words, fibre helps keep your calorie intake under control and this is crucial for losing fat. After all, you must be in a negative energy balance to shed weight.

Here’s What to Do

Get at least 20 grams of fibre per day if you’re female, and shoot for 25 grams or more if you’re male. To make sure you reach that target, include at least two servings of vegetables and two of fruit daily in your diet.

Besides providing you with fibre, those foods also contain vitamins and minerals which, as we’ve already noted, are crucial for supporting your metabolism and other bodily functions.

What about supplementing with fibre to make up for any deficiency? While it might be beneficial for your health, it doesn’t seem to be effective for slimming down.

One large review study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that supplementing with either guar gum or plantago psyllium does not promote weight loss [19].

An exception is glucomannan, a water-soluble fibre that can aid weight loss when supplemented with [19]. 

The Bottom Line on Micros and Fibre

When it comes to shedding fat and gaining muscle, the two most important dietary factors are calories and macronutrients. Those serve as the bedrock of every effective nutrition plan.

We’ve covered this many times before, but let’s make the point once again: the importance of either can’t be overstated! It is therefore great to see that more and more lifters are tracking their calorie and macro intake.

However, calories and macros don’t say anything about food quality. So, if you aren’t getting 80% or more of your meals from healthy, nutritious ingredients, then you might be missing out. 

First off, you are probably short on micros, which in turn interferes with metabolism, hormone production, and fat burning. Besides, you might not be taking advantage of the hunger-curbing benefits of fibre.

So, make sure you get your micro and fibre intake right. Doing so will drive your success in the pursuit of your fitness goals, be they losing fat, building muscle, improving athletic performance, or just feeling better in your skin.


1. Maxwell, C., & Volpe, S. L. (2007). Effect of zinc supplementation on thyroid hormone function. A case study of two college females. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 51(2), 188-94.

2. Kilic, M., K, A., Gunay, M., Gökbel, H., Okudan, N., & Cicioglu, I. (2006). The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Neuroendocrinology Letters, 27(1-2), 247-52.

3. Jalali, G. R., Roozbeh, J., Mohammadzadeh, A., Sharifian, M., Sagheb, M. M., Hamidian Johromi, A., . . . Afshariani, R. (2010). Impact of oral zinc therapy on the level of sex hormones in male patients on hemodialysis. Renal Failure, 32(4), 417-9.

4. Liel, Y., Ulmer, E., Shary, J., Hollis, B. W., & Bell, N. H. (1988). Low circulating vitamin D in obesity. Calcified Tissue International, 43(4), 199-201.

5. Salehpour, A., Hosseinpanah, F., Shidfar, F., Vafa, M., Razaghi, M., Dehghani, S., . . . Gohari, M. (2012). A 12-week double-blind randomized clinical trial of vitamin D₃ supplementation on body fat mass in healthy overweight and obese women. Nutrition Journal, 22;11, 78.

6. Wood, R. J. (2008). Vitamin D and adipogenesis: new molecular insights. Nutrition Reviews, 66(1), 40-6.

7. Chang, E., & Kim, Y. (2016). Vitamin D decreases adipocyte lipid storage and increases NAD-SIRT1 pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Nutrition, 32(6), 702-8.

8. Patrick, R. P., & Ames, B. N. (2014). Vitamin D hormone regulates serotonin synthesis. Part 1: relevance for autism. The FASEB Journal, 28(6), 2398-413.

9. Nimptsch, K., Platz, E. A., Willett, W. C., & Giovannucci, E. (2012). Association between plasma 25-OH vitamin D and testosterone levels in men. Clinical Endocrinology, 77(1), 106-12.

10. Shi, H., Dirienzo, D., & Zemel, M. B. (2001). Effects of dietary calcium on adipocyte lipid metabolism and body weight regulation in energy-restricted aP2-agouti transgenic mice. The FASEB Journal, 15(2), 291-3.

11. Zemel, M. B., Thompson, W., Milstead, A., Morris, K., & Campbell, P. (2004). Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obesity Research, 12(4), 582-90.

12. Gonzalez, J. T., Rumbold, P. L., & Stevenson, E. J. (2012). Effect of calcium intake on fat oxidation in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Obesity Reviews, 13(10), 848-57.

13. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Micronutrient deficiencies. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ida/en/

14. McLean, E., Coqswell, M., Egli, I., Wojdyla, D., & De Benoist, B. (2009). Worldwide prevalence of anaemia, WHO Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System, 1993-2005. Public Health Nutrition, 12(4), 444-54.

15. Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Zuordos, M. C., Calleja-Gonzalez, J., Urdampilleta, A., & Ostojic, S. (2015). Iron supplementation prevents a decline in iron stores and enhances strength performance in elite female volleyball players during the competitive season. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 40(6), 615-22.

16. Clark, M. J., & Slavin, J. L. (2013). The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(3), 200-11.

17. Burton-Freeman, B. (2000). Dietary fiber and energy regulation. Journal of Nutrition, 130(2), 272-275.

18. Howarth, N. C., Saltzman, E., & Roberts, S. B. (2001). Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutrition Reviews, 59(5), 129-39.

19. Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2004). Dietary supplements for body-weight reduction: a systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79(4), 529-36.

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