So here's the deal. In the health and fitness industry, the more confused you are, the more money they make. The less you know about nutrition, the more they can influence and guide your decision-making on matters of YOUR health. So today I want to go through some of the most common nutrition claims (and include the truth) we typically hear and break it down for what you really need to know to lose weight/be healthy. [scroll all the way to the bottom for references if you're a research geek. Working with thousands of clients I can also speak from first-hand knowledge of what works on a broad-spectrum, and what's not even worth your time to think about] NUTRITION MYTHS 1. Eating after 6pm makes you gain fat. No, just no. There is no evidence to support this, and I couldn't even find any research at all on this specific claim because it's not worth the time to study. When you stop eating after 6 you are significantly more likely to binge eat on something less healthy later at night because your hunger pangs are keeping you awake. Find the cutoff time that works for YOU and allows you to get enough rest without waking up for a snack or having troubles falling asleep. 2. Carbs will make you fat. This is the most commonly perpetuated myth and it's wrecking a LOT of good meals out there, ladies! Carbs. do. not. make. you. fat. Carbs, proteins and fats are the essential macronutrients and they are ALL necessary for our bodies to properly function. Carb quality is important - complex carbs (like whole grains and veggies) vs. simple carbs (like pastries and sweets) have a very different effect on your glycemic index (how much your blood sugar raises when you eat the food), and whole grains contain protein and fiber to keep you fuller for longer and fuller on fewer calories. BREAD IS NOT EVIL, OPRAH SAID SO. But actually, bread is not evil. Serious. Go have a sandwich. 3. Fat makes you fat. Ditto with the carb convo, fat does NOT make you fat. Fat satiates you and makes you feel happy and satisfied, allowing you to eat less and be just as satisfied. 3a. Note. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D. - ha! So very well acronymed!) is where these misconceptions come from. Genetically engineered foods are CREATED to be high in fat and high in carbs so that you will love them and get dopamine rushes when you eat them. They are also engineered to be addicting and hijack your brain's pleasure centers. It's not the carb and the fat's fault - an egg sandwich with avocado is going to have a MUCH different effect on you than the bag of Doritos that contains twice as much fat and carbs and ZERO protein, for like, ⅛ of the calories. Not to mention all the micronutrients and other benefits you're getting from all the food that wasn't made in a lab. Food is much, much more than macronutrients or calories.
4. Fat free foods are a good alternative to full-fat foods. The evidence here is in the label, babe! Fat free foods typically have many more ingredients and added sugar, and are much less satiating than full-fat versions. This means you'll likely need to eat more to feel satisfied and overall, have consumed more calories than if you'd hat the full-fat version and fully enjoyed less. 5. 1-1.5g of protein per pound is ideal. At this level of protein you are getting: VERY expensive pee and a crazy high grocery bill. This is the old bodybuilder myth about "getting swole" it's not a thing. Don't do it. 0.5-0.7g per pound of body weight is more realistic - and has the same impact on muscle growth. 6. Artificial sweeteners are good alternatives to real sugar. While the official research is inconclusive in the long term, artificial sweeteners are questionable. Yes, they do provide your body with a no calorie, intense sweetness. But on the other hand they are completely man-made and hi-jack your brain. Sweet foods send the signal to your brain that calories are coming and it only stands to reason that when we mess with that, the outcome is probably not going to be good. Ideally, reduce the overall amount of added sugar you have (artificial or otherwise) and you won't need to worry quite so much about it.
7. Fruit is bad bc sugar and sugar = death. On a related note, fruit has been getting a bad rap lately. Naturally occurring sugar in fruit has a completely different effect on your body than the junk added to foods. Found in it's natural, whole form, it's encased with fiber and tons of micronutrients. No one ever got fat from too much fruit, and bananas are NOT the source of all belly fat [#HUGEeyeroll]. With that being said, fruit juices are not the same as fruit. When juiced, the fiber is lost and it becomes more like candy than fruit :) When paying attention to fruit intake is important: when you are counting your carbs. Because fruit is very energy dense and fairly high in carbs the sweeter the fruit is, it can shoot you over your carb intake if you're not careful. Still include fruit, but lower carb fruits tend to be berries and more tart fruits. 8. There is one single diet that is good for everyone. False. Super false. [bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica - name that referenceeeeee] Anyways, NO! Humans are literally so complex and a million factors determine which way of eating makes you feel best inside your body and with your lifestyle. 9. Chasing health won't make me look good. Imagine a person you know that radiates health. What does their diet look like? Exercise? It's likely they spend time journalling, or reading, or putting time into self care. They also probably have great skin, good digestion and good relationships. They are also more than likely hovering around a healthy weight with good body composition. Weight management is a direct consequence of a healthy body. It happens regardless! Health = a body in good balance, with pretty good aesthetics. Easy to maintain this level. Chasing aesthetics = running ragged to look like that person you just pictured. Probably fueling with lots of bars and shakes, and drooling over your next cheat day in advance. Exhausting and hard to maintain. 10. Protein within 30 minutes of working out or you won't build muscle. This is another myth promoted by the supplement companies - who has time to make an actual meal after you workout? Enter: PROTEIN POWDER. Holla. Genius idea, but research supports simply eating before you workout again will have the same effect on muscle growth. Eating an actual meal as soon as you can after an intense workout may promote better recovery, but your muscles won't deflate without protein immediately :) 141. Going gluten free helps me lose weight. 1% of the population have celiac disease, and 5% have a gluten sensitivity. Unless you actually fall into this category, it's not worth it. Gluten-free items typically have more sugar, ingredients and calories than the gluten full foods they replace. 12. My approach has to be all or nothing. Go big or go home! In health and fitness, this approach only makes things harder. Perfection isn't a thing so you'll drive yourself up the wall trying, and still fall short every time. Embrace the gray area. SOAK IT UP. Do good for your body most of the time and listen to what it's telling you. 13. Sleep doesn't matter. Sleep actually matters a great deal - too much or too little sleep disrupts your hormones, leading to a greater risk of obesity. There is also a 26% increase in appetite after two consecutive nights of four hours of sleep. 14. I can eat the calories I burn through exercise. I've earned it! While exercise is fabulous for your health and body, if you're trying to lose weight this is going to make it MUCH harder and MUCH slower. If you have no particular goal in mind then hey, do your thing. **My fitness pal adds back in the calories from exercise, ignore that. Also ignore the sugar column because it calculates fruit in there. [boooooo] 15. Bloating is normal and we should just deal with it. Nooooooooooooo. Just because everyone gets bloated does not mean it's a thing that should be normal. Remember when in #12 I said to listen to what our bodies are telling us? Bloating is a signal and should not be ignored! Causes of bloating: drinking bubbles, eating high-salt foods, water retention around your period, and having too many veggies in a sitting (holla at your fiber!). Most commonly prolonged bloating is a food intolerance/sensitivity. Especially when combined with constipation/diarrhea, smelly gas and tummy rumbles. The best way to get rid of this type of bloating is to stop regularly eating the foods that make you feel bloated. Have them when it's worth it, but take them off your plate for everyday consumption. The most common food sensitivites/intolerances are: Dairy, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, gluten, corn, soy, beef/pork/lamb, coffee, high FODMAP foods, and artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols. More to come on this in a future blog post so stay tuned, but start to pay attention to how you feel after certain foods. NUTRITION TRUTHS The truth is, while our bodies are incredibly complex machines and every single person is different there are a few things that hold true across people: 1. Calories DO matter. Energy intake and energy expenditure determine whether we gain weight, lose weight, or maintain weight. While we don't necessarily always want to believe that calories matter, it's tried and true and is the most accurate way of controlling your weight, aside from counting macros. Notes: Macronutrients are subcategory of calories - they are a deeper look at the composition of the food we are eating. Personally, I believe macros are the most accurate way to control your weight but also your food intake - having specific goals for carbs, fats and proteins forces you to take in a certain amount of each for a healthy body composition and allow you to also include less healthy foods you enjoy in limited quantities. 2. Collagen supplementation helps reduce the signs of aging, cellulite and wrinkles. 3. Balanced meals are the most satiating. Including carbs, proteins, fats and fiber into each meal and snack will help to satiate and regulate appetite between meals. 4. The sustainable way of doing things is the best way for your body and mind. 5. A healthy body will take you much farther than a ripped, unhealthy body. 6. Excess cardio can slow your metabolism. Our bodies adapt quickly to low calories and high calorie burn through cardio. Ever try to lose weight only to see great results at first but over time spending more time on the treadmill isn't doing anything? Strength training is the only form of exercise that can increase metabolism. Don't overlook it! You won't get bulky. Promise. Was this helpful? Did I miss anything? WAS THIS HELPFUL? DID I MISS ANYTHING? Drop a comment below to let me know what you thought & if there are any other myths you've been wondering about! xo, Corin Groustra
REFERENCES Collagen: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685482/] [http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand] [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206255/] [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24131075] Sleep Doesn't Matter: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27669980] [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29510179] Protein Recommendations: [https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/blog/the-myth-of-optimal-protein-intake]