Is it true that carbohydrates will make me fat or is it a nutritional myth?

Yes and no. Well, you didn’t expect a straight answer, did you?!

All carbohydrates are not created equal (it is a nutritional myth to think otherwise) and if you overdo the bad ones (the simple sugary carbohydrates found in sweets and junk food) then they will make you fatter than if you were to eat the equivalent calories of protein or god fats (think avocados, nuts and oily fish).

We believe that the most effective way to manage body fat levels is through dietary manipulation of insulin levels, and this is done by regulating carbohydrate intake. 

Should I avoid eating fat at all costs?

Absolutely not, this is a very old, and very wrong nutritional myth. In nutrition we have such macronutrients as essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids (fats of course!), but we don’t have essential carbohydrates. I leave it up to you to decide which of the three macronutrients should be cut first.

However, please heed one warning. Just as in the first answer we said that all carbohydrates are not created equal, so too are not all fats the same. Avoid like the plague any saturated and hydrogenated fats and instead go for those fats found in what for want of a better word we call “natural” foods such as red meat, eggs, nuts, oily fish and avocados.

Will late night snacking result in weight gain?

You don’t expect a yes or no answer to this supposed nutritional myth do you? If you eat junk at night, then of course it will make you fat, but that’s the same as if you eat junk at breakfast. The issue most people have with late night snacking is that they tend to go astray from their healthy eating habits once they are curled up on the sofa at home and watching their favourite soap opera or midweek movie.

There is no such thing as an enzyme with a timer on it that after dark preferentially stores nutrients as fat. All of us have a certain number of calories we can consume without gaining weight. If you happen to change your eating schedule and end up consuming a final meal or later in the evening without changing your calories or macro nutrient profile, you are in no danger of accumulating body fat as a result of that minor alteration. However, you should always spread your allotted number of calories throughout the day to prevent hunger and wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can sap your energy levels and lead to weight gain through binge eating and increased insulin resistance(or you may think of it as carbohydrate intolerance caused by irregular blood sugar levels).

You talk about insulin a lot. Please tell me a bit more about what it does.

For an in-depth discussion of insulin and how to manipulate it to help you lose fat and build muscle, please contact us. We aim to dispell a few nutritional myths for you and help you transform your body!

In brief, when we consume carbohydrates they are predominantly converted into glucose and then used as energy. However, this glucose is only used as energy if it goes inside the muscle cell. When glucose levels rise in the bloodstream following the consumption of carbohydrates, the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin then binds to receptors in the cell membranes which in turn send signals inside the cell to bring the glucose into the cell itself. Where this can all go wrong is when glucose stays outside the cell and is then converted to fat for storage.

Things can go awry in this way when the insulin receptor themselves fail to function optimally. Unfortunately, this is an increasingly common prevalence and has a significant role to play in today’s obesity epidemic. Poor diet and lifestyle choices cause the receptors to be shut down-simplistically they go into panic mode and cause both blood glucose (blood sugar) and insulin levels to stay elevated.

This spells metabolic disaster as insulin is a storage hormone. It’s perfectly acceptable, and sometimes highly productive for athletic/body composition purposes to elevate insulin if the muscle cells will take up glucose, but if that’s not possible, then the glucose will be converted to fat and be stored in adipose tissue. In short, screw up your insulin system and you will get fat. This is why so many of you can diet like crazy on the old macronutrient standard of high carbohydrates and low fat and that jelly belly never budges an inch!

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. With the right amount of educated effort it is possible to modulate the sensitivity of your insulin receptors and improve your body’s tolerance to carbohydrates. 

Is it true that anyone attempting to lose fat and/or gain lean body mass should eat a high-protein diet or is this a nutritional myth?

Yes.

If you are aiming to lose fat, you don’t need extra protein to directly assist the fat burning process, but you must do everything you can to save precious muscle tissue as you restrict calories. Too many dieters starve away their muscles and then hit a brick wall of frustration and yo-yo dieting. If I was tell you that 1lb of muscle tissue equates to an extra 50 calories a day onto your metabolism perhaps you will appreciate the imperative to maintain existing muscle mass, even if you are a middle aged housewife looking to lose 15lbs for your summer vacation.

As for those seeking to gain muscle mass, although many dietiticians will tell you that you only need 1gram of protein per 2 lbs of bodyweight, our experience simply tells us that is pure unadulterated rubbish! Bear in mind that we have helped put muscle on professional sportsmen across disciplines such as bodybuilding, American football, rugby, and athletics so we feel that we are eminently well qualified to hold forth on this subject. In fact, we follow the line of all the world’s top strength coaches, and recommend that hard training individuals seeking to maximise muscular gains should consume up to 2 (and in some special cases 3) grams of protein per 1lb of bodyweight! Done in the correct way and with the appropriate programme this can yield positively spectacular results. Some of our clients see quality weight gains of over 30lbs in 6 months!

Do protein drinks build muscle or is this a nutritional myth?

No, appropriate exercise and adequate nutrition build muscle. Protein drinks do make it a hell of a lot easier to consume a serious amount of protein though. We highly recommend them to all our clients whether their goals are fat loss or muscle building.

Should I try to cut all fat out of my diet?

No, never. This is a nutritional myth that not only stalls fat loss but is also bad for your health.

Dietary fat calories should never dip below 15 percent of total caloric intake. Dietary fat carries our necessary fat soluble vitamins & essential fatty acids.

Is dietary fat bad for you?

Some fats are extremely good for you and promote a myriad of healthful physiological and even psychological benefits! Look for Omega 3, 5 and 6, and never skimp on the minimum of 3 servings a week of oily fish.

Do high-fat diets assist in weight loss or is this a nutritional myth?

They can be of great assistance in fat loss for some individuals. A portion of the population appears to feel and function better on a higher-fat diet (above 30%) while pursuing weight loss. This is due to bio-individuality and the satiating power of fats for this group. Most people would not benefit from an excessively high-fat diet.

Do carbohydrates make you fat?

Of course not, this is a nutritional myth. Eating more than need makes you fat. However, the wrong carbohydrate and lifestyle choices can severely desensitise your body’s response to insulin and that means that a significant number of people do not tolerate carbohydrates well at all. See our Metabolic Rejuvenation Plan for ways to address this problem.

Does pasta make you fat?

No. Pasta is a carbohydrate. Excess calories make one fat. Unless you are insulin resistant.. (see above).

Is it true that eating carbohydrates, or any food at night, causes weight gain?

No this is another nutritional myth. If the daily caloric intake allows for fat loss or maintenance and is spread throughout a 24-hour period you should not gain weight. Excess calories make you fat.

However, not all calories are created equal and weight loss and high carbohydrate intake are not common bedfellows.

Explain why switching from a high-protein diet to a high-carbohydrate diet might cause me to feel bloated initially.

Each part of stored glucose (as glycogen) contains 2.7 parts water. With a high-protein diet, glycogen stores are consistently low and therefore water content is low, which decreases the cells’ efficiency. The bloated feeling will eventually normalize when the body recovers to a properly hydrated state. The gain is water in the muscle cells (good), not fat.