Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nutrition Myth Busting: It's not HOW much you eat, but WHAT you eat.

I wrote a nice post over on my Lose Weight No Bullshit site the other day about "what if the conspiracy theory was the actual conspiracy?" which I guess in other words you could translate to "you're being lied to about being lied to". It's all in reference to these tin foil hat wearing nut jobs claiming the food pyramid and all other guidelines put out by actual real nutritionists is all a conspiracy to prop up "big agriculture" and whatever else they dreamed up.

It's very much the same whenever I read "myth busting" type posts on people's blogs or facebook or where ever else. So often, they're busting one myth by creating a new one. Usually this is a marketing ploy some scumbag is using to deliberately confuse you into thinking you need to buy their product or e-book or whatever it is, and they actually know it's a load of hogwash. Sometimes though they actually do mean well and have good intentions, but the information they're pushing is still wrong. And as far as diet advice goes, in a world of confusion it's not good enough to just have good intentions... putting wrong information out only creates more confusion and therefore is harmful to individuals and collectively.

So I've been thinking about this and not to be deliberately horrible about it but the issue is that you've got people who aren't actually as smart as they think they are, who've read something, or done something for themselves, and decided everything else is a lie and that's the only way you can do it. Usually the main element in this is that "calories don't count" or in other words "it's not how much you eat, it's what you eat". Good foods vs bad foods.

What's going is that people's logic is backwards. I did it this way, therefore that way doesn't work, for example. There's a complete absence of logic in that sort of statement. Here's a bunch of crap I just read on facebook, and then the logical interpretation.

Exercise doesn't help people lose weight. There are LOTS of people in the gym every night who never lose weight, because they're not eating the right foods.

Half true. Those people are in the gym with the intention to "burn calories". They're consuming an inappropriate (usually excessive) amount of calories, and then trying to make up for that on the treadmill or cross trainer. Whether they realise it or not, they working with a strategy to merely reduce the amount of weight they gain, or at best stay exactly where they are. In no way, shape or form does any of this imply that an effective training program matched with appropriate calorie intake and macronutrient balance will not produce results.

Before, I was suffering from [insert medical conditions] and was overweight, now I'm in great shape. This proves that it's not about calories, it's about food choices.

For YOU, maybe.

I saw this one today and the implication seemed to be something like "I require a specialised diet to manage my (actually quite uncommon) medical condition, therefore if you don't follow the same diet you'll have all the same issues that I did". That might seem logical but it's a bit like telling a kid who doesn't have asthma to take ventolin so he doesn't start getting it. The absence of treating a medical condition is not the cause of the medical condition, you follow? What's happened in this example is that you've done what's necessary in terms of a specialised diet to manage your condition, and now you're getting the same results anyone else would expect from the training strategy you are following.

Total calories isn't the issue. These here bad foods with sugar don't trigger your body's satiety signals, so you end up over eating.

Uhhh... that may be correct but by use of the term "over eating" you're verifying that the issue is total calories. There are certain foods that I know if I even get a sniff of them I'll end up eating until they're all gone and then start looking for more... but let's say there's only ONE available and I eat it without blowing my daily targets... is it going to main fat gain? Of course not.

Insulin drives fat storage, not calories. We need to manage insulin. 

I saw this moron in a video this morning explaining how "if you eat sugars and grains there's only so much you can use and the rest results in raised insulin levels to store the excess as fat" and i thought... yeah, so make sure you don't HAVE any excess by following a realistic total calorie and macro plan. What's so hard about that to understand? They even say it themselves, these carbphobic cretins, but fail to grasp the meaning of the words coming out of their own mouths. Insulin is the method the body uses to move excess energy to fat stores... but the issue is with having excess energy to begin with. There's an insulin response to eating any food as the body moves the energy and nutrients to where it needs them, but there is only fat storage if there is excess energy (calories) that the body doesn't have a use for. Again, it comes back to total calories.

You get fat from eating carbs, because of the insulin response.

See above. Also, there's a virtually identical response to eating protein but no one seems to see that as a problem.

You can't get fat from eating fats, because there is no insulin response.

A notion so ridiculous I can't believe anyone takes it seriously. If it you end up with more fuel than you have a use for (carbs, protein OR fats) it will end up stored as body fat. What else could possibly happen? And conversely, why would your body store anything as fat if it could be otherwise utilised?

So here I've covered some stuff that is just "false science" based on either a poor understanding of how the body works and how it deals with different fuel sources, or based on having read and believed certain texts on the subject that are (quite deliberately I might add) full of glaring inaccuracies and misinformation. The rest could be described as "the tail wagging the dog" or reverse logic as described earlier.

It is amusing (although also frustrating) to me that people with a low carb or similar agenda will point out that some people are not seeing results from hitting the gym, as if that proves that effective exercise and overall activity levels is of no consequence in weight management. They'll point out that some people may have a medical condition or an unfavourable response to certain foods which means the usual rules go out the window a bit, as if that means that the usual rules are incorrect and don't work for anyone.

And yet apparently no one notices all the people out there who "eat really healthy but still aren't seeing results". Why might that be? It's because they're still not eating THE RIGHT AMOUNT, even though their food choices may be impeccable.