CUTTING THROUGH THE DIET NON-SCIENCE MAKING SENSE OF THE DIETARY DILEMMA
The year is 2012017 and the debate continues on which diet is better for losinglosi weight. We have the “Calorie is a Calorie” side, “The IIFYM Followers”, and the “Low Carb, High Protein” groupgroup. All trying to convince everyone within their reach that their way is the only way. It’s actually got quite entertaining to watch them go at it on social media posts, battling to the bitter end to prove their theory is the only one that works. Although sometimes I am not sure if they are just trying to get more people to agree with what they are saying so they can feel better about all the mistakes they are making themselves! Yes, it is self justification in its finest form, and as humans we are all guilty of this trait! So who’s right? What is the best diet to not only lose weight but also build or at least maintain lean muscle and enhance longevity. Let’s be honest, it’s not purely about losing weight, it is a lot more than that…Well it should be if you really care about your health and fitness. I guess I need to start with a little introduction about my history with diet and nutrition, health and fitness. My journey began at the young age of 13 back in New Zealand where my Dad introduced me to my first barbell. Like many other young guys I was bitten by the iron bug, addicted to the pump and building a stronger more muscular body. I was lucky my Dad had trained with some of the best Natural Bodybuilders in the business back in the 1950s. Yes, this was the true Old School. Like any teenager I went through all the muscle magazines, combining this with knowledge I picked up from my Dad. I constructed what I considered to be a pretty good bodybuilding type of diet. Well it seemed like it was back then. But I later learned from a lot of trial and error that there are some dietary fundamentals that have to be followed in order to achieve success. I actually stepped onstage in my first ever Bodybuilding event at age 13, I didn’t win nor did I win my first three or four shows. But I did learn something new from each experience, and I adjusted my diet along the way and eliminated foods that I felt were preventing me from getting that ripped look. I know what you are thinking, but what has an extreme bodybuilding diet have to do with general weight loss? Everything! Now, I am not going to give you my entire life story I will leave that for the up and coming book I am working on. Just imagine we have jumped into a time machine and I am now here present day year 2017 sharing with you over 30 years of trial and error, accrued knowledge not only from my own personal experiences but having owned 3 gymnasiums across Australasia and having training a huge number of gym members that I had come through omy facilities. Over those 30 years I have competed and won a host of Bodybuilding events, appeared on and in numerous international magazines, written articles for major health and fitness magazines, and on top of all this written countless articles and done hundreds of hours of research for this very magazine. So, I feel I am reasonably qualified to talk on the topic of diet/nutrition. I want to start by taking a closer look at the various
dietary theories oor trends whatever you want to call them that are curcurrentlyrrently taking up a good chunk or internet bandwidtbandwidth. Now, I am not going to pull any punches herehere, I mmay come across as a little blunt or to the point but I am sure you want the facts right? a Calorie is a Calorie To be quite honest I find this theory totally insulting to the amazing human machine. We are not made of numbers, we are made from nutrients. Counting calories, counting how much we burn. Now, this would all be fine and dandy if the human body was a simple furnace, but it’s not! I liken the human body to a very complex chemical processing plant, one that takes “Nutrients” not numbers and converts these nutrients into energy, new muscle, skin, hair, brain, blood cells and so on. I know it’s great to have some kind of reference point with allocated numbers to make people feel like they are accountable and on track but its nutritional nonsense. Or I like to call in non science because some text book heroes keep pulling poorly conducted clinical studies on diet and posting them on social media and blurting out “I told you so, you are all doing it wrong”. The truth is most of the studies are so confusing and so poorly conducted on tiny numbers of the population. None of the study participants are in the same genre as gym enthusiasts; usually they are somewhat sedentary people with office jobs. One of the latest non-science reports ( Posted on Social Media) was a study that stated weight loss is purely about calories, and reducing carbs does not have any effect. It’s about overall calories from protein, carbs and fats. Seriously, posts like this are better than watching the comedy channel, and most of all its free to air. Once again it appears to be a common thread on social media for people that have guru-ish tendencies’ to try and get everyone on their side, or agree with what they are pitching. Why, because it makes them feel better about the mistakes that they are making. There is comfort and reassurance if you can get a bunch of sheep to agree with you. Enough social media talk let’s get to the nitty gritty. Not all calories are equal, of course they are not. This is why we have essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, because our body can’t produce them. Have you ever heard of an essential carby acid? I think not, because it does not exist. This is the take home message if you are really serious about getting into great shape, living a longer and healthier life your only concern should be to monitor nutrient intake. Because nutrients are the foundation of every cell in your body. Focus on what your
body really needs what is “Essential”. Namely amino acids andd essential fatty acids. Your body can’t make these on its own. Then pay close attention to your carb intake, when you ingest the carbs and the quanity. Because over eating carbs will turn off your ability to burn fat and also add copious amounts of adipose (Fat) tissue to your body.
IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)
I love this one. Makes me laugh louder than the “Calorie is a Calorie” non-science. I really want to know who invented this lame term because it has probably been one of the biggest screw ups of the dietary world since the upside down food pyramid that the WHO recommended in the 80’s and 90’s. In fact the theory is not a lot different than the previous Calorie is a Calorie one because it is based on numbers to a degree and just meeting your daily requirement of protein, carbs and fats but it does not pay a lot of attention to where these calories/macros come from! Now, that’s a problem. In life there is good and bad, black and white, night and day. Food is the same. It does not take a scientist to figure out that some foods are highly nutritious while others are totally devoid of nutrients but loaded with crap you could say. Or empty calories are literally nutritionally baron. I do believe the founders of the IIFYM deal were trying to make a point of difference. But all it has achieved is given a lot of lazy people an excuse to eat pizza instead of chicken and vegetables! This is an excerpt from one IIFYM web pages. • Forget about eating dry chicken and steamed broccoli every two hours. • Forget about not eating carbs at night or going to bed hungry. • Forget about saying “no” to foods you really want to eat. Can you see the red flags with this style of eating? If not you seriously need help and I don’t think I can help you. To get results, whether in the gym or from nutrition/diet you are going to have to make a few sacrifices and compromises. I am sure if someone came up with a plan where they could get paid but not go to work a ton of people would jump onboard, but that is just not going to happen. So what’s the difference with IIFYM? There is a distinct trend these days, a generation that wants everything but does not really want to change, or do it tough. Wake up, the law of returns remains the same. If you don’t work hard with a sound plan you will not get any real results. Don’t be mistaken or mislead by those that pitch this IIFYM deal and show someone that is already genetically predisposed to being lean. As this person, who is probably 2% of the population could get lean on Burgers and Fries everyday! If you put the average joe or jane on this IIFYM the results would be zero to nothing as far as losing weight and improving overall health.
Low Carb / High Protein
Yippe, hi, yeh…. From one extreme to another, the low carb diet came in with the Atkins Diet. With the theory that eating very little carbs, and a bit more fat, higher protein would help drop body fat a faster rate. It did just this for many, but it’s not sustainable for any length of time. Why, because we are humans and we like to eat our carbs. I am keeping it real here, because I myself enjoy the odd carb or two, or three. Now, for bodybuilders or competitive fitness athlete’s low carb is probably the most common approach used. The reason why it works fast, the main reason being is much of the initial loss is water weight. Every gram of carb you eat holds four times it