Nutrition is the single most important factor in the success or failure for people who wish to achieve their body composition goals. When you take a look at the amount of hours there are in a week (168) and then consider that even if you worked out for 1 hour per day, seven days a week you would only be spending approximately 4% of your time working out, it is no surprise that no exercise program can make up for poor nutrition. The two are symbiotic. To reach body composition goals a properly designed exercise program and a proper nutrition plan are a must.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Nutrition is really much easier than people make it but the amount of false/overhyped information out there can make it difficult to sort through. So lets go over three of the myths that are out there.
Eating carbs will make you fat
Probably everyone who has attempted to lose weight has tried some diet that included an extreme reduction of their intake of carbs. This approach may have even worked for people for a period of time BUT most people cannot sustain a diet that is deprived of carbohydrates and end up putting the weight back on. This systematic review Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? found that while weight loss on low carb diets was better than conventional diets during the initial 6 months by the end of 1 year this was no difference. Carbohydrates perform many important tasks in our body such as providing energy for the brain, nervous system and muscles, depriving our body of carbs leads to a lack of energy, impaired cognitive function and poor muscular endurance. That all being said not all carbs are created equal. Fruits and vegetables are important sources of carbohydrates and should be consumed at every meal. The fiber in these foods and variety of vitamins can enhance our health in many ways.
Starchy or highly processed carbs should be minimized in our diets as these carbs are foods that should be avoided. Processed carbs such as pop, table sugar, fruit juice and cereal should be minimized for those attempting to lose weight. Starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes etc. are ok to eat but ideally are eaten 1-2 hrs after exercising. The important take away is Carbs don’t make you fat, eating more calories than you need is what is responsible for weight gain.
Dairy products are bad for you
One of the new sensationalist claims out there is that milk is bad for your health. Supposed “experts” claim that milk has negative health affects and could increase your risk for coronary heart disease. This is a bunch of rubbish, there have been dozens of studies over the years that have looked at milk and its affect on our health and the vast majority of studies out there show not only does it not harm us, it is beneficial for us. For example a study titled Milk, coronary heart disease and mortality, looked at milks affect on men and found no correlation between milk consumption and heart disease. In fact, this article Milk drinking, ischaemic heart disease and ischaemic stroke II. Evidence from cohort studies which provided an overview of published research found that the consumption of milk may be associated with a small REDUCTION in risk from heart disease and stroke.
Weight loss pills/supplements
Weight loss is simply a calories in vs calories out formula. Companies and opportunistic salespeople take advantage of people struggling with weight loss by promoting “miracle” supplements that will make you lose weight, decrease appetite, gain muscle etc. People in general want to see quick results, dieting is hard and most people want to see instant results. The promise of miraculous results can be tempting for the best of us but it is important to understand the supplements that you put in your body, what is in them, the long term effects and what if any scientific evidence there is that shows them to work. Remember the old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Check back in upcoming weeks as we will continue to post exercise and nutrition advice that can help you reach your goals!
To your success,
Keegan Marshall CPT, CES