Hard facts about nutrition are hard to come by these days. Everyone has an opinion on what diet is best and nobody can agree on what’s bad for you. And the sad truth is a lot of people are still promoting myths from the 80’s and 90’s that were disproven a long time ago. There’s not enough time In a day to cover them all so for now I’ll stick with my top three.
1) Meal Timing
This is a big one. You can hardly walk into a gym or even a supplement store without hearing some diet genius rambling on about eating six meals a day and hitting your 90-minute anabolic window after your workout. Let’s break this down scientifically.
The reason behind the six-meal diet plan is that every time you eat a meal, your metabolism revs up a few notches to digest all that food. So more meals = higher metabolism, right? Not quite.
Your metabolism does rise when you eat a meal, but it’s relative to the amount of food you consumed. So in other words, the metabolic boost from two 500 calorie meals and one 1000 calorie meal are going to wind up the same. The former is just going to result in two small spikes in metabolic rate, whereas the latter will result in one big one. Total number of calories burned is still the same.
Ok so what about that 90-minute window of opportunity? While there is some truth to it, most people blow it way out of proportion. The reason being your body is going to change very, very slowly, over the course of multiple weeks. Literally nothing substantial can take place in a 90-minute time period. Hit your protein and calories by the end of the day, and you’ll be growing. Period.
2) Carbs Make You Fat
This is one of my favorites. Simply because science has clearly disproven this time and time again, and people seem unable to get it through their heads.
Science has shown us that one thing is responsible for making you fat: too many calories. If you eat in a caloric surplus, you will gain weight, and if you’re sedentary, most of that weight is going to be fat. If you eat at caloric maintenance, you will remain the same. This is simple addition and subtraction. Calories in, calories out.
The reason low-carb and no-carb diets have gained popularity is due to the simple fact that they do, occasionally, work. But this is because cutting out an entire macronutrient is more than likely going to result in a lot fewer calories, which leads to weight loss. Maintaining a balanced diet and lowering calories all around will result in similar (and overall better) results.
More and more fitness competitors actually leave carbs in their diets leading up to competitions now, because they end up looking fuller and more vascular on stage. You see that 250lb, 3% bodyfat bodybuilder over there? Yeah, I think he probably knows more about nutrition than you do. So don’t throw out your rice cooker just yet.
3) Eating Healthy Is All It Takes
People are lazy, which means people don’t want to take the time to count calories or macros or anything except how many steps they took today so they can feel a sense of accomplishment on their way to Burger King. (But then, your iPhone does that for you, huh?)
Because nobody wants to do the math, so many people will jump into a diet blind, which results in too many drastic changes and a diet that’s overly restrictive and ultimately not sustainable. People will choose exclusively very healthy, low calorie foods (chicken breast, broccoli, etc.) but they have no idea that they’re only eating 800 calories a day. Just to put this in perspective, one pound of skinless chicken breast is under 500 calories. So if you’re eating too many of these foods, you could be in a huge caloric deficit and think you’re doing just fine. The end result is muscle loss, a screwed up metabolism, and no abs to show for it.
In conclusion, count your calories, don’t be afraid to eat your carbs, and eat whenever the hell you feel like eating. It’s the 21st century, people, let’s get with the times.