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Go Back   Anabolic Steroids Discussion and Bodybuilding Forum > Diet, Nutrition & Supps Section > Diet, Nutrition & Supplements Discussion

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09-29-2003, 08:20 PM

11 Nutrition Myths:
Much of the nutrition information offered as fact in gyms all over the world has been miscommunicated or misunderstood. These “urban legends” of bodybuilding proliferate and some eventually assume the dubious status of myth. Yet few people recognize these half-truths as fiction, and if they try to assimilate them into a diet strategy, they won’t see concrete results. Let’s set the record straight on some of the most common misconceptions that plague those individuals wanting to build a lean, hard body. Poor information doesn’t pay off, so avoid these 11 fallacies. You’ll save time and energy and experience greater rewards in your quest for a great physique.


Myth #1: Don't eat fat & you won't get fat
If you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll stimulate bodyfat storage even if your dietary fat intake is low. Excess carbohydrates can be stored as bodyfat once liver- and muscle-glycogen levels are saturated, and protein that isn’t used for tissue synthesis can similarly be stored as bodyfat. So, unfortunately, you can gain bodyfat in more than one way.

Avoiding excess dietary fat is important, however, because at 9 calories per gram, fat yields more than twice the calories of an equivalent amount of protein or carbohydrate. To encourage bodyfat loss, follow a diet that derives no more than 15%–20% of your total daily calories from fat, and consume slightly fewer calories than you burn each day.

Myth #2: All fat is bad
Your body requires certain types of fat, such as the essential fatty acids (EFAs) generally found in vegetable oils, that your body can’t manufacture on its own. EFAs are the building material for hormones and are essential to support normal fat metabolism — that’s right, you need fat to burn fat.

Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and omega-3 fatty acids (found in many types of cold-water fish) are important types of fat that can improve glucose tolerance and support immune function by sparing glutamine. A diet too low in fat can rob you of these vital nutrients.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in many typse of cold-water fish.


Myth #3: Carbs build muscle
Only protein actually becomes part of new muscle tissue. Yet carbohydrates do provide the fuel for most of the body’s various systems and are essential if you’re going to train with enough intensity to stimulate muscle growth.

A rule of thumb is to consume roughly 2–3 grams of carbohydrate daily for each pound of lean body mass. This should be sufficient to restore muscle glycogen depleted during training and to supply the energy you need on a daily basis.

Myth #4: You don’t have to eat much protein if you just want to “tone”
First of all, there’s no such thing as toning. Muscle cells either grow (hypertrophy) or break down (catabolize), and bodyfat deposits either grow or shrink — those are the only adjustments you can make. Toning is usually understood to mean adding a minimal amount of muscle, increasing muscle tonus (degree of firmness) and reducing bodyfat.

To create an environment favorable for building even a little bit of muscle, consume about 1 gram of protein daily per pound of lean body mass. When your protein intake is too low, the body can cannibalize its own tissue to obtain the amino acids it needs to support various biological functions. This results in a higher bodyfat-to-muscle ratio — exactly what you don’t want.

To create an environment favorable for building even a little bit of muscle, consume about 1 gram of protein daily per pound of lean body mass.

Myth #5: Three square meals provide all the nutrients you need to build muscle & be healthy Not likely. Getting all the micronutrients you need in three feedings is very difficult, and requires those meals to be rather large. This creates two problems: Larger meals are harder to absorb, and large, infrequent meals can stimulate fat storage.

Three “squares” is a custom, the result of social norms and work schedules. An improved strategy for better health, energy levels and absorption of nutrients, however, is to eat 5–6 smaller meals each day.

Myth #6: Fad diets don't work
Some do work, in that they promote temporary weight loss. Yet your real goal should be a favorable change in body composition (more muscle and less bodyfat). Fad diets typically cause a loss of both fat and muscle tissue — with the loss of muscle further compounding the difficulties of reducing bodyfat.

Bodyfat reduction requires a sound nutritional program combined with resistance training to increase metabolism and moderate aerobic work to help shed bodyfat.

Myth #7: You can make up for eating too much one day by eating a lot less the next
Consuming too many calories in one day will stimulate fat storage. Trying to make up for a “bad eating day” by severely lowering your caloric intake the following day will always fail. Low-calorie dieting — even for a day — can slow your metabolism (so you’ll burn even fewer calories) and drain your body of energy, making it difficult to exercise at full capacity.

When you have a bad day and overeat, don’t punish yourself! Get right back to your normal eating plan the next day.

Myth #8: Skipping breakfast will help control your appetite
Missing breakfast can often lead to bingeing late at night — which is exactly when you don’t want to take in major calories if you’re trying to get lean.

An old adage says, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” Well, besides knowing that you should eat more than three times per day, this concept is right on the money. Your metabolism is highest in the morning and progressively tapers down throughout the day. Your calorie consumption should mirror this pattern.

Breakfast is the most important meal. It should provide carbohydrates to replenish muscle-glycogen levels and to supply fuel for the brain, and protein to support muscle recovery. This is crucial in the morning since your body has been without these vital nutrients for a period of eight hours or so.

Myth #9: Red meat is high in fat
Not all red meat contains a lot of fat. Eye of round, round and flank are good red-meat choices. The eye of round is nearly as lean as skinless chicken breast and is much higher in iron and B vitamins.

Try grilling or broiling lean red meat with herbs and lemon juice, or even watermelon juice, rather than using marinades or sauces that may contain oils.

Myth #10: You should avoid starchy carbohydrates if you want to lose fat
This leaves you with fruit, vegetables and milk products as your only sources of carbohydrate, an approach that will make it very difficult to consume an adequate amount of calories, which in turn can lead to a slower metabolism and low blood-sugar levels. Low blood-sugar levels can initiate the breakdown of muscle tissue.

In the long haul, the result of losing muscle is a slower metabolism and fat gain. Excellent choices of starchy complex carbs include yams, whole-grain pastas, brown rice and oatmeal. Remember, 2–3 grams of carbohydrate daily per pound of lean body mass should do the trick.

Myth #11: Fruit juices are a good replacement for soft drinks
While fruit juices may provide more vitamins, they’re an extremely concentrated source of calories. A tall glass of grape or apple juice yields approximately 200 calories — about the same as two large apples and more than a medium potato. The juice takes up little room in your stomach and is very easy to absorb, while the fruit and potato take longer to digest, occupy more room and leave you feeling more satisfied.

Since fruit juice is digested rapidly, blood-sugar levels can increase quickly, resulting in a large output of the body’s energy-storage hormone called insulin. This insulin response may cause increased fat storage, and can increase your appetite as the spiked blood-sugar levels drop quickly.





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