Health and fitness is a weird field. Everyone is an expert. Because we’re talking about our own health, people feel qualified to dole out information and recommendations that are ass backwards from what science recommends. Coupled with the fact that delayed gratification is no longer something that people practice, the quick fix has become something everyone seems to be looking for.
There’s a world of social media geniuses with thousands of followers out there who have gotten lots of people in shape through crazy restrictive diets. This kind of shit works for anyone. If you eat nothing but fish and vegetables every single meal and exercise 3 hours a day, you’ll get ripped. Will you enjoy your life though? Hell to the no. That’s become the big challenge for many coaches and trainers out there. How do we get clients to hit their goals, while still allowing them to enjoy their lives? Here are the top 4 nutrition lies that screw people up.
1. Low carb diets are what you need for fat loss
I was a low carb dieter for a while. I read a few different books, mostly centered on paleo, and thought low carb was the way to go. I really didn’t know much better at the time, and the basics of what they preached really scared me. Could carbs really be responsible for dementia, diabetes, cancer, autism and premature ejaculation? Luckily now I’m not so much of a gullible idiot. Carbs aren’t to blame for all the world’s problems, it’s our inability to handle the amount of carbs we take in, and where they come from. Add the fact that when you go low carb almost all of the weight lost is water weight, and low carb doesn’t seem so illustrious.
It’s no secret that the Standard American Diet is rich in processed carbs that hold little to no nutritional value. Couple that with their convenience, and out of this world taste and there’s a recipe for a carb conundrum. Carbs themselves aren’t the enemy though. A fit individual who lifts weights, does cardio, doesn’t carry a ton of excess body fat, and eats their vegetables will generally have a much greater tolerance for carbs than an obese individual.
2. Low fat diets will save your heart
Heart disease runs in my family. It also apparently runs in every single American’s family. It kills more of us per year than anything else out there. We knew this was a problem way back in the day (which is a Wednesday in case you didn’t know. Anytime someone references the day, they’re talking about Wednesday – thanks for that Dane Cook.) So we tried to solve it by doling out dietary guidelines to the public. These included low fat guidelines thanks to a scientist by the name of Ancel Keys.
I’m not sure if Keys actually had an agenda, didn’t interpret research properly or what. But his recommendations were pretty damn terrible. They led to fat phobia, which led to more sugar being added to foods to increase taste, and more health issues. Nowadays the general public is starting to come around on fat, which is a good thing. But this needs to be sped up. Butter isn’t the enemy. It won’t immediately go to all of your blood vessels and dam them up. Animal fats are actually healthy sources of fat. Vegetable oils and other oils made in a lab on the other hand? We get plenty of those already thanks to all the fast food and processed food we eat. So substitute with some olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.
3. Detoxes clean out your pipes, help you lose weight, and make you awesome
This one has been going for quite some time now. The idea that you need to detox before you start a weight loss program. I even used that idea to sell more detox kits at GNC. It worked. But here’s the deal. You don’t need a detox. Your liver and kidneys do plenty of detoxing for you. In fact, they’re pretty damn awesome at it.
You don’t need to go spend $50 on some detox kit. It’s basically fiber, antioxidants, and maybe some herbs like dandelion root to help you drop water weight. You’ll feel better during it. Know how I know? Because you don’t want to screw up the detox. You’ll eat more vegetables, exercise, and drink more water. Next time instead of doing that when you spend money on a detox kit, just try doing that every single day and see how you feel.
4. Gluten free, or grain free, or dairy free, are the key to weight loss
This has gained quite a bit of popularity here recently. The paleo diet can likely be thanked for that. There’s plenty of people in this world who have certain sensitivities to foods like gluten, grains, and dairy. There’s no doubt about that. Those people should eliminate these things, and it seems like there’s more people who have sensitivities to these foods than we originally thought. But that’s not everyone. Not by a long shot.
Eliminating these things from your diet won’t bring huge weight loss results if you don’t have a sensitivity to these foods. Even if you do have sensitivity, it might not lead to a huge amount of weight loss. There’s also plenty of health benefits from eating whole grains or dairy, despite what paleo zealots may tell you. Obviously a variety of vegetables is better than anything else. But people can get plenty of B vitamins, fiber, calcium, and vitamin D from these foods. There’s simply no reason to eliminate them if you don’t have to.