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  • Writer's pictureBrad Cunningham

Are Your Food Rules Holding You Back?

🚫[3 food rules you need to break and forget]🤭🚫

It’s interesting the types of rules, or stories that people have around food.

These are often created from something a well meaning friend, guru or authority figure had told them

People then carry these around forever. (Even if there’s new research that proves it’s not as effective as we may have previously thought).

I want to break down a few rules around food that I commonly hear people talk about, and in many cases, effect their results negatively.

1. Don’t eat carbs after 6pm.

This kind of story is usually to do with something about your body not being able to digest the carbs while you’re sleeping so it will get stored as fat - Mostly a load of crap. In fact (particularly for males) eating a higher carb dinner can help promote human growth hormone (HGH) to help with muscle building. And if you’re a stress head and your cortisol levels are high at night (when they should be low) having carbs at dinner can help promote serotonin secretion and potentially help you sleep better. Now neither of the last two points are hard and fast rules for everyone, but i’m just backing my point up that having carbs after 6pm is a load of BS.

Your digestive system doesn’t set his alarm and fall sleep when you do. What matters from a fat loss perspective is your overall energy consumption. where you have your carbs won’t effect things that much if your energy balance is right. There is some research to suggest that consuming carbs before or after training can help improve performance and recovery. If you are a endo/mesomorph body type, you may want to consume most of your carbs around training to utilise them better. But other than that it aint gunna matter too much. With that said, I know for me if I was to have a big bowl of pasta at night, I wake up feeling a little sluggish. So if you know of some foods that leave you feeling a little bleh, or cause you to crave more stuff, like sweets after dinner, ty to moderate those a little.

2. Fruit will make you fat.

😵🔫 No. No it won’t. - Unless of course you’re over consuming food as a whole. Fruit is full of phytonutrients which are incredible for our bodies (not to mention the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). We still don’t know the full extent of how incredible phytonutrients are. But we do know they help us utilise vitamins and minerals in our bodies. So if you’re skipping on the apples and berries, you might be skipping on your health.

Yes fruit contains sugar, but it also contains fibre and unless you’re smashing down a couple of mars bars, 2 cups of rice/potato and some snakes alive at each meal, you’re going to be ok.

Where this misinformation comes from (I believe are where people have cherry picked (excuse the pun) information from studies. Like the one they did on fructose and glucose using a cherry flavoured syrup. Basically the initial results showed that the hypothalamus (controls metabolism and hormones) didn’t recognise the fructose thus didn’t secrete insulin to process the sugar and leptin was unchanged (hunger hormone). So yes the brain may not recognise fructose. However this was a syrup which did not contain fibre, nor were they chewing any food. Both of which have an effect on hormones and satiety. Fructose on its own doesn’t make you fat. Which is often the assumption - which may be based off studies like the above. But the benefits of fruit far outweigh these facts around fructose.

Many of the studies are done on high fructose corn syrup which being used more often in products as it’s a lot cheaper. HFCS is removed from its natural form making it highly processed and like the study proved above, effects the brains response when consumed, meaning we can over consume. I think it’s all a different story when you’re eating actual food which contains fructose.

So have some fruit to help meet your carbohydrate needs each day.

3. Protein shakes help you lose weight/put on muscle.

Losing weight as mentioned comes down to energy balance. being in a slight deficit (10-20%) consistently (weeks/months) will see you drop body fat.

Protein shakes are just… well, protein.. it’s a macronutrient which contains 4 calories per gram.

You could actually, in theory, gain body fat if you consumed more calories than you need in just protein shakes. It doesn’t make a difference to your fat loss goals if you’re consuming it daily.

Where this comes from is usually from people substituting meals for shakes (or hake based diets). This will drastically reduce your calorie intake. and yes you will lose weight initially. But it comes with a pretty big hit to your metabolism and stress on your body.

Eventually your body will compensate by slowing down the amount of energy you’re burning to keep you alive. You will stall in your results or possibly put weight on, in your bodies attempt to keep you functioning. Don’t do this.

The only time protein shakes come in handy is post training - purely from a digestive point of view. It’s easier to digest and absorb the nutrients from a shake than a solid meal if you’re in a stressed (fight/flight) state from training. You’re body doesn’t digest food as well if you’re stressed. Hence why so many people develop gut issues when they’re under stress for extended periods of time

On the other side of the coin, having protein shakes doesn’t directly cause you to gain muscle. Gaining muscle comes down from progressive overload (stress) from training and adequate recovery.

Consuming protein shakes just aids in that recovery but the results come from the training and diet. If you want to gain muscle you need to be in a surplus of calories for a period of time. Protein shakes can just aid in helping you get your overall calories up. But the muscle gaining comes from the combination of proper training programming and a consistent surplus of nutrition. I hope you enjoyed this article, be sure to share on FB with your friends.

- Coach Brad

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