There are a lot of stupid diet ideas floating around out there.
We’ve got cookie diets, peanut butter diets, liquid diets, starvation diets, yoyo diets… I could go on.
This list is not the 10 dumbest or most popular misconceptions about diet and nutrition, but instead the ones that I find most interesting.
This myth has helped sell a lot of books, and not necessarily good books either. Many believe that eating six small meals a day keeps your metabolic furnace revved up because it's in a continuous state of digestion, or something.
Well, last summer I wrote a piece for AskMen that used actual scientific research to rip the crap out of this concept. Low meal frequency can lead to obesity, but if you dig three squares a day and it helps you keep your calories in check, go that route. Some may argue that six small meals enhances nutrient absorption, and it may do that, a little, but this is what I call trying to separate fly sh*t from pepper. It's not worth worrying about.
Calories in vs. calories out is based on the first law of thermodynamics. It's not a hypothesis or a theory, but a physical law, like gravity. You can't deny it any more than you can deny that if you jump out of a high-flying aircraft without a parachute gravity will not be your friend.
And it's been proven via research many times that it doesn't matter what you eat: If calories are negative, weight is lost. Remember the guy who lost weight eating Twinkies? Or how about this latest research? Or this?
This is true, but also irrelevant. If you exercise in the morning before eating, your body will metabolize fat stores for fuel during the exercise, but in the grander scheme of the 24-hour energy balance, this means nothing.
If you take in fewer calories during the day than you consume, those same fat stores are going to be burned regardless if it was during your morning fasted run or even while you were sleeping. When you run out of easily accessible energy stores, your body metabolizes fat, no matter what you happen to be doing at the time.
Also, food is good for enhancing performance, so please, eat something.
As this science-based review of the research by renowned sceptic Dr. Steven Novella points out, there is no evidence that organic food is either more nutritious or safer than non-organic.
There is also the concern that organic farming increases the risk of E. coli poisoning.
I once knew a woman training to compete as an Olympic rower. She trained hard close to 30 hours each week, and to prevent herself from wasting away, ate a pint of Haagen Dazs almost every day. She'd reached her fill of healthy food, and ice cream was the only way to keep her calories balanced.
But that's 30 freaking hours a week. Last summer on a three-week vacation I ran almost 40 miles a week and spent another eight hours a week in a sea kayak. I swam a bit, too. Also, because I was on vacation, I ate and drank like the apocalypse was imminent, so I gained fat.
In the vast majority of cases, lots of exercise cannot outpace gluttony. Remember that.
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