Fika Fam, I put it to the people this week.. I asked on instagram for myths that you have believed over time (nutrition related.. #obvs) and MY GOD – some of the answers I received have got me rattling my brain this week.. who the heck makes this nonsense up?!!!
To be fair, there has never been a time in history where information has been so freely available for people. Every single person reading this email now has the ability to research anything they want about anything to do with nutrition, so you can kind of see where and how there becomes SO..MUCH..DRIBBLE.
As a result of this many people are completely clueless as to what’s right or wrong when it comes to nutrition, and rightly so.
Although there are literally hundreds of nutrition myths that are discussed every single day (and therefore a lot more emails like this to come) today, I have summed up the top 5 that I get asked on the reg, and debunking them with the facts you need to know.
Buckle up, we are in for a wild ride.
TO LOSE WEIGHT, YOU MUST CUT CARBS.
Carbs, carbs carbs.. boy they are a controversial macronutrient. Carbs have been blamed for anything from larger waistlines to diseases, however, it is important to understand that many carbohydrates are rich sources of energy and nutrients making them a valuable part of a healthy diet!
If you’re cutting carbs and not replacing them with anything else, then you’ll be consuming fewer calories and that’ll lead to weight loss (calorie deficit) But for many people, dropping carbs means dropping fiber (an incredible natural appetite suppressant) and they end up eating more calories (from other foods eg proteins and fats) as a result.
In other words, if you don’t spend at least some portion of time in a calorie deficit, your weight will not go downwards and you will not lose body fat (regardless of it you are eating carbs or not). If you don’t know what constitutes a deficit for you (this is where I come in!!) you’re going to have a very hard time achieving a specific result.
I won’t argue against eating a mostly “clean” / whole foods diet, heck I even love to time my carbs around (pre and most training) for the most part, but I just don’t understand how denying yourself food you love to eat (#bread) is going to be beneficial long term? Restrict, binge, restrict binge.
Including healthy carb choices in your diet won’t make you gain weight.
However, following unhealthy eating patters and overindulging in carb-rich sugary foods will lead to weight gain.
EATING (CARBS) AFTER 7PM CAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN.
For fat loss, like I mentioned above, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means that the amount of calories that you consume needs to be less than the amount of calories you burn (exercising, walking, working, cleaning, running around after kids, etc). So if you cut out 200 calories worth of carbohydrates from your diet, but maintained your activity levels, you would lose weight.
The theory / myth goes something like the above – and I guess there is TOUCH of truth to this theory, after 7pm, some people people tend to be more sedentary, so calories from the carbohydrates are more likely be converted into stored fat. But, saying that by removing carbohydrates from your diet after 7 pm, you are preventing fat from accumulating.
BUT – While the above SORT OF makes sense (if you are working a desk job then go home to watch TV all night) it completely misses the point.
Another point to mention, is sweet treats and sugary foods are usually eaten later on in the evening, so restricting your carbohydrates after 7pm might be a simple solution for people who are struggling with fat-loss. Just so long as you understand that it is the high-calorie snacking that are causing weight gain, not the carbohydrates.
There is really no negative whatsoever to eating carbs or any macro at night. In fact, there’s a benefit for most people because going to bed on a full stomach helps you sleep, and if you work out in the morning, a carb-rich meal will potentially improve your performance in the gym.
Put this myth to rest Fika Fam!!!!
A calorie is a calorie at 9.59pm and 7.01pm, it doesn’t matter what time you’re eating, it matters how much you’re eating. That’s it. End of story.
FRUIT CONTAINS TOO MUCH SUGAR – YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE FRUIT IF YOU ARE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT.
Do I really live in a world that demonises FRUIT?
“Fruit is full of sugar”
“I don’t eat fruit at night”
“I’ve given up sugar and therefore fruit”
These are regular cries that I hear as a nutrition coach and the majority of the time it’s from someone who is trying to lose weight, or from someone who’s decided to quit sugar in a bid to get healthier and therefore decided to throw fruit out with it.
Trust me, I’ve been there… as someone who has tried a variety of diets, I understand the fruit fear. Our culture is always looking for a new food group to vilify, and fruit always seems to cop it!
SO, let’s start with the basics … yes fruit contains sugar, fructose to be precise, but it is also packed jam full of fibre (key to keeping us full for longer, and regular toilet trips), has a high water content #hydration, and is PACKED with vitamins and minerals.
The truth is, no matter what the latest diet books say, fruit is good for you. It’s processed sugars we want to watch out for, it really is that simple. When we strip away all the complicated biochemistry, and throw out all those confusing studies based on poor research designs, we can finally acknowledge that Mother Nature knows what the heck she’s doing – fruit is nature’s CANDY!
One more thing, if you can’t have fruit – then you can’t make my banana bread below.. and what is life without banana bread?!
FASTED CARDIO MAKES YOU BURN MORE FAT.
I touched on this, this week over on @fika.nutrition – If you are doing high intensity exercise (that’s anything you can’t hold a conversation while doing!) your body needs to use CARBS for fuel to produce ATP (energy) or won’t be able to maintain that high intensity / will find yourself fatiguing faster.
When you train fasted your body is put in a catabolic state, which means, you‘re expecting / asking your body to rely on fuel stores for energy. (Yesterday’s foods, dinner from the night before etc)
Basically, IN MY OPINION- if you don’t have some fuel/food in your tank, you won’t perform as well and won’t have as good as a training session as you would if you had something to eat or drink prior. •
Side note – Ladies, if you don’t have a period, are newly returning to exercise or are underweight, you should definitely NOT be training fasted…this can cause so much more harm than good on your body.
But what if you train first thing in the AM? I hear you in the back row!!
If you train super early you don’t have to eat a huge breakfast before.
Just get something in the tank to give you a boost of fuel, a banana, a couple of dates, baby food / fruit purée, a protein ball, heeeccck even glass of juice are all options.
In sum, there is very little difference between cardio in the fed or fasted state with regard to fat loss, muscle preservation, daily caloric intake, or metabolic rate.
What really matters, is you. Some people feel lighter and energized when they do cardio on an empty stomach, while others feel light-headed and sluggish. Do whichever makes you feel better and train harder!!!
LOW CALORIES IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT.
While reducing calorie intake can indeed boost weight loss, cutting calories too low can lead to metabolic adaptations and long-term health consequences.
Every restricted yourself so much, a short term detox, diet, challenge to then put back on the weight after….and some? Ya – so did it really work, long term? No.
Though going on a very low calorie will likely promote faster weight loss in the short term, long-term adherence to very low calorie diets leads to a reduction in metabolic rate, increased feelings of hunger, and alterations in fullness hormones.
This is why studies have shown that low calorie dieters rarely succeed in keeping excess weight off in the long term
Eat a little more, lose weight as a MAINTAINABLE pace, and one which you can keep the weight off.. long term.