Getting the facts straight

Getting the facts straight

A couple of days ago I read an article from one of the largest weight loss websites and online communities in America that summarised seven myths about nutrition. While the first few arguments I definitely agreed with, the last two so-called ‘myths’ were in fact truths being busted! It’s no wonder why people don’t know where to turn to for information and who to trust when this kind of rubbish is being pumped into their minds.

The first myth in the article was ‘never eat when you’re not hungry’. The correct fact is, of course, that your metabolism needs food every 2-4 hours (depending on the size of your meals and your goals) to stay fired up. There are many times I don’t feel hungry but force myself to eat my scheduled meal anyway, because I know the consequences if I don’t. You cannot ‘save up’ your calories to use later in the day, and doing so only results in out of control binges. So far, so good with the article.

The next four myths were things you’ve probably heard a million times before, about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, low carb diets, the real cost of eating healthy and how certain foods can eradicate skin conditions. By this stage I was skim-reading, until I hit myth number six: When you work out you need extra protein in your diet.

How is that a myth?! One of the first things I was told when I first started lifting weights was that you absolutely need to increase your protein intake. After a workout, you need to immediately supply the body with protein to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Protein is the basic building block for muscle growth. Generally, an active person who incorporates weight lifting into their training program requires 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.

Yet this misleading article claimed that people generally consume too much protein, instead arguing that a 145 pound (65 kilo) adult needs only 53 grams of protein a day! If you followed this advice, you would gradually waste away and your muscle definition would be non-existent.

While I was still trying to comprehend how an organisation which has more than 10 million members turning to its articles for guidance could promote such crap, I was again smacked in the face with myth number seven: Fat keeps you full and satisfied.

Apparently, according to this nonsense, considering that fat has more than twice the number of calories compared with protein and carbohydrates (9 calories versus 4) it should be avoided at all costs. On my last diet plan, I was only eating about 60 grams of carbs a day and nearly all of that was coming straight from vegetables. I was eating some kind of fat with every meal – peanut butter, coconut oil, fish oil – and it really kept me full. The extra calories ingested are easily compensated for considering the calories you are replacing.

Of course I’m not suggesting that you should go chow down on a burger, but supplement your diet with lots of good fats – olive and coconut oils, nuts and nut butters, avocado, lean meats and fish. These fats are what bodybuilders use in the weeks leading up to a comp in the absence of carbs.

In other news, I completed the first week of my new training program this week! I went from a six week program comprising four workouts ranging between 40 and 60 minutes to five hour-plus long workouts. It’s quite exhausting having to do so many sets and reps, but at least I feel like I’m doing some real (good) damage to my body now!

The other bonus is I get to eat more while I try to build some muscle – yes, I am purposely trying to gain weight! I have seven meals a day, with the first at 6am and the last at 10pm – the only time I’m not eating is literally when I’m asleep. While it sounds like a lot, it’s really not. Four of the meals are pure protein, usually 1/3 to ½ of a chicken breast. My carb sources are oatmeal and brown rice, and not very much at that!

Here's what I eat for breakfast every day - 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites scrambled and oatmeal with a teaspoon of honey (and blueberries today as a special treat!)

Chicken, vegie and rice stir fry with a peanut butter sauce - yum! Plus the lunchtime essentials: water, fish oil and Queer As Folk!!

All of our supplements, L-R: Fish oil, multivitamin, HCL tablets, L-Carnitine, zinc, magnesium, coconut oil

L-R: Rob's gainer, XTend (amino acids), whey protein, ERF-1 (pure carbs - in a Muscle Milk container!)

We certainly look as though we could open our own health food store. When I first met Rob (my hubby) I was quite funny about taking all these proteins, but having diligently done my research I feel safe in everything I have. I still try to have as much real food as I can, but sometimes there’s nothing more convenient than getting 30 grams of protein in 30 seconds.

I’m off to cover the Australian Hair Expo tomorrow and Monday – so much for a long weekend! I’ll leave you with a question: what’s the strangest nutritional advice you’ve ever heard?

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