Three Fat Loss Nutrition Myths That Are Holding You Back
Ever feel like you are trying really hard but not seeing the progress you want?
You push yourself in the gym.
You eat super 'clean' and never miss a meal.
Yet the scale doesn't move and you can't seem to lose fat or get the toned, sleek, body you have always wanted.
It could be one of the many fitness industry myths are holding you back.
The same thing happened to me.
I slaved for months and years with programs that had no scientific backing.
When I finally switched things up and dropped the BS out of my workouts and nutrition, the results we're amazing.
Dropping fat happened quickly and I remember looking leaner every time I saw myself in the gym mirrors.
The fitness industry is filled with myths, especially surrounding the topic of nutrition for fat loss, and they could be preventing you from achieving the best results.
So I've listed three of the most common ones below so that you can avoid them.
They are all myths that held me back personally at one point or another.
Make sure you are not falling for these, so you can get the best results possible from your training and nutrition efforts.
Myth 1. Eat smaller and more frequent meals to burn fat.
According to folk lore, eating more frequently raises your metabolic rate and you'll thus burn more calories from eating smaller and more frequent meals.
This makes sense at first, and if you try it, you'll probably notice you are more hungry when you do it. So it must be working right?
Wrong. The science clearly shows no difference in calories burned and a result of meal frequency. You can eat 1 meal a day or 10 meals a day, and it isn't going to change your metabolic rate.
Smaller more frequent meals can even be a detriment, as many people feel more hungry from doing so, which can lead to overeating.
Go with whatever meal frequency fits your life and preferences, and helps you feel the most full throughout the day. Typically between 3 and 5 meals per day works great for most people.
Myth 2. Don't eat after 6pm (or 8pm, or whenever)
The idea is that if you eat right before you go to sleep, your body won't burn the calories for fuel since you are sleeping, and it will just get stored as fat.
While this makes sense on the surface, your body is more complex than that and it doesn't end up working this way.
The science shows that if you eat the same amount of calories within a 24 hour time frame when you eat them will have no impact on the amount of fat burned.
Interestingly, the science also shows that some people get better fat loss results from eating more in the evening, while others do better eating more in the morning.
This is likely because one of the two strategies caused those people to eat less overall, resulting in better fat loss.
So what should you do then?
Don't listen to pseudoscientific nutrition dogma about when you should eat. Eat at times that allow you to feel full and satiated and work well for your schedule.
There is no reason to go way out of your way to try to keep from eating anything in the evening. Whatever meal schedule allows you to hit your nutrition goals most easily is probably the best one for you.
Myth 3. Carbs will keep you from burning fat.
The idea is that carbs spike insulin, and insulin makes you store fat. So if you reduce or remove carbs from your diet you will burn more fat.
This is a very simplistic view of how carbs and insulin effect fat burning. The fact is that insulin will go up after any meal and your body will store some fat. Then, in between meals it will fall and your body will burn fat. If you eat fewer calories than you consume, you'll end up burning more off than you store during these periods of storage and burning and you'll lose fat.
Studies on the topic show no difference in fat burning between low carb and low fat diets, with equal calories.
Unfortunately, I was unaware of this several years ago and had a beach trip coming up, so I decided to try a keto (very low carb) diet to get my body swimsuit ready.
While I did lose weight, I also lost a ton of strength and muscle, and not a whole lot of fat. Despite losing 25 lbs I still looked soft.
Later on, when competing in physique shows I left my carbs at a reasonable intake, and even included dextrose in my pre and post-workout shakes. I got much better results, maintained my strength, and felt great about how I looked at the beach and on stage.
As you can see, carbs are not the enemy, and do not need to be eliminated in order to lose fat.
With that said, I think it is important to note that low carb diets can be an effective and sustainable method to lose fat for some people. However, it is important to know that they are NOT a magic bullet nor a requirement for optimal fat loss and you can get great results from simply controlling caloric intake in a variety of other ways too.
The fitness industry is filled with pseudoscience, so be cautious of the dogma that is out there.
When looking for nutrition or exercise information, get it from sources that take an evidence based approach.
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