Part two of our myth-busting mission is here for you to learn more ways to nail your nutrition. In case you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
Onward to more fat loss myths!
#4: Eating fat or carbohydrates will make you fat.
No siree Bob! Those macros are delicious and are not the cause of gaining fat (as long as you don’t overeat them). Yet again, calories are what are going to matter at the end of the day.
However it does make sense to keep an eye on how much fat you’re consuming since gram for gram, fat is more calorie dense. Per gram of fat there are 9 calories compared to protein and carbs which each only contain 4 calories per gram.
It's even more important to note that while fat is higher in calories by volume, healthy fats are SUPER DE DUPER important for many biological processes and going low-fat or no-fat isn't a healthy approach to long term health.
NOTE: A good approach is to consume adequate protein and then fill the rest of your daily caloric budget between carbohydrate and fat calories.
But low carb, keto, paleo, etc…. You might be thinking, "Well, my sister's friend's cousin’s husband did that Atkins diet and lost a ton of weight...but you're saying carbs aren't bad?"
Short answer: NO! What she did was cut out calories from her diet by eliminating a whole macronutrient (carbohydrate) and by default consumed less calories over time to lose weight. Yes, it works, but not the way you think.
The reality is that some people thrive on carbs and others seem to do very poorly so you'll have to explore what works best for you. And while 'heavy' carbs don't inherently make you fat, they're easier to cut out of your diet to lower calories (most of us eat WAY to much of these), they typically don't hold much nutritional value, and they're often hard to measure.
Struggling with your fitness and nutrition goals and want a little help? Let our coaches help you stress less and get better results for your effort!
5. You must eat 'clean' to lose fat.
This may surprise you but that's also a negative ghost rider.
Eating healthfully doesn't quite translate to fat loss and on the flip side, fat loss doesn't translate to health. Mind blown?
It's a common misconception that you can eat all the healthy food you want and not gain weight. If your healthy organic, all-natural free-range chicken salad is 1,000+ calories and puts you over your daily budget (even though you've eaten healthy things all day) you're going to gain weight.
Conversely, you can eat 1,500 calories of Twinkies and wine each day and lose weight...however your health may suffer. In fact a Kansas State professor set out to prove just that.
In 2010, Professor Mark Haub, set up an experiment to show his students that fat loss is, in fact, the result of a caloric deficit rather than limiting certain foods/macros.
In this experiment, he consumed 1,800 calories per day in the form of the moist white creme filled snack cakes along with other junk food like Oreos, Doritos and other processed sugary delights.
In ten weeks, he lost 27lbs and lowered his cholesterol.
I’m NOT saying this is a great approach for long term health and sustainable habits but his N=1 experiment does hold water when proving that ultimately, calories are are what matter most for fat loss.
Disclaimer: I 100% do recommend consuming a healthy diet full of Whole Foods and limiting sugary and processed junk food. I mean, what’s the point of looking great if you’re unhealthy on the inside?
#6: Consuming more fat will ultimately help you lose more fat
I don’t know where to begin withs this one. Oh wait, yes I do… NOPE.
Whether it’s consuming massive amounts of bacon, using copious amounts of coconut oil, or putting a stick of butter in your coffee more fat or additional calories of any kind will not lead to greater fat loss.
However, if you’re consuming less carbs and adequate protein and veggies, this approach could work well for some people who have a preference for fattier foods mostly because they will feel less deprived.
Buuuuuut just as in the other cases, this does’t work quite in the way you think. It’s likely because you’ve decreased your overall caloric intake. Again, no magic.
The big takeaway for today…
When it comes to fat loss, macros and food type aren’t as important as you think, generally speaking. Overall caloric consumption is what matters most.
Don’t forget to check out Part 3!
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Steve is co-founder and head coach of AMP Fitness, downtown Boston's most inclusive personal training studio. His background is in posture, performance, injury prevention and strength development and packaging fitness in a way that is accessible to everyone. He's a brand new father, an avid reader and enjoys nerding out to science fiction movies.