Okay, so I am going to discuss some myths about diet and some questions that kind of are heard over and over again in the nutrition world and from our clients.
“What’s wrong with certain nutrients? When to eat? When not to eat?”
Just an overall general discussion…Kind of the things that get passed around a lot that are false.
The number one myth…
#1- You have to eat 6 meals a day to keep your metabolism up.
It’s not true. You don’t have to eat 6 meals. You don’t have to do 5. You don’t have to do 4. You don’t have to do 3. You could eat one a day and still burn the same amount of calories.
The idea is when you wake up, let’s say you do 6:00 am, you’re going to burn the same amount of calories from 6 am to 6 am. When you eat food you’re going to burn the same amount of calories whether you eat a bunch of food at once or smaller portioned meals.
I’ll give you another idea that you’ll hear…“you eat more you burn more.”
It’s just not true.
Whatever you eat, you’re going to burn the same amount of calories.
So six meals a day works great if you’re a person that has a lot of cravings, a lot of hunger issues. For example, it you’re hungry maybe you just pig out really fast. Well, if you’re eating six meals a day it’s going to tone down your cravings because you’re always going to be full.
So that’s one reason why six meals a day works for some people. It doesn’t have to work for everybody, There’s no magic to it. It’s just maybe you are hungry a lot and so by eating smaller portions it keeps you from being hungry all day long.
So, don’t really worry about the amount of meals you eat a day. It’s not a big deal. If three meals fits your lifestyle, then it fits your lifestyle. As long as the calories match you don’t have to worry about it. Really just think about that…don’t believe all the hype about it. If someone tells you that’s the only way to go, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about.
But if you’re a person that craves consistently all day long or seems hungry all day long, then six meals might be a better choice for you just because you’re a person that needs to be full a lot.
In comparison to a person like me where I don’t have to eat until 12:00 pm to really be hungry. I don’t get hungry until around 11:00 am or 12:00 pm, so I don’t need to have six meals a day because it doesn’t bother me not to have that much.
But again, don’t believe you have to have six meals a day. That’s not true. You don’t have to have 5. It’s all about calories in versus calories out. You’re going to burn the same amount of calories from 6:00 am to 6:00 am (24 hour time period) so just kind of do what fits your lifestyle.
The second myth I’m going to talk about is…
#2- Eating closer to bed time will make you store it all as fat.
Again, whether you eat all your food in the morning, middle, or night time you’re still going to burn the same amount of calories so no matter when you intake it you’re still going to burn those calories. It doesn’t really matter. So making sure that you’re eating before 6:00pm before you go to bed doesn’t really help out, okay?
It’s not going to help you lose weight by stopping your eating at 6:00 pm. That’s not the reason why you lose weight.
The reason why you lose weight is maybe if you stop at 6:00 pm you’re eating less calories because you used to have a midnight snack. Or you used to have a 10:00 pm snack, and that sets you over your calorie limit and so instead of burning more than you were eating..you’re eating more than you were burning.
Some people may think that because they stop eating at 6:00 pm that they just lost weight because of that. It’s not really that.
More than likely it’s the fact that you were eating 2,500 calories because you were having that late night snack, and then you cut it off at 6:00 pm and now you’re only having 1,900 calories. So now your weight loss is starting to happen, and you think it’s due to “stopping your eating by 6:00 pm.”
It’s not really that. So if your calories are within the amount that you need to lose weight you can eat those calories whenever.
You can have all your food at night. No matter what. I don’t care what anyone says. You can have two meals a day. You can have a meal at lunch. A meal at dinner. As long as your calories match you will lose weight. So the whole eating clean before night time or not eating any carbs, or just eating a lot less before you go to bed…don’t worry about that. It’s not true.
In fact, I feel like the majority of people are hungrier at night anyway, so if I was anybody that gets really hungry at night I would suggest eating the majority of their calories at night because if you’re busy during the day working you’re probably not going to be as hungry.
So smaller meals would be okay. And then when you get home after working all day or home from working out you’re going to be hungry. You’re probably hungrier at this point in the evening than you were in the morning when you first ran out the door. You’re probably hungrier in the morning than when you were at lunch and you were having to run around thinking about what you were doing and coming back to work etc…
Again, in my opinion, people are way hungrier at night than they are in the morning so you can actually eat more calories at night and not have to worry about it.
If you’re a person that gets really hungry at night or maybe you have a late night hunger pain, and at 9:00 pm you’re always starving no matter what. Move your calories to closer to 9:00 pm. Move your dinner closer to 9:00 pm. Make it so that you’re eating closer to the time that you’re hungry.
That way you feel more fulfilled before you go to bed and you won’t want to snack and have those sweets and all the other bad stuff at night right before you go to bed. Again, it’s really important to think about your calories in versus calories out before you think about something like meal timing and things like that.
Eat the majority of your calories when you’re most hungry. Think about that.
Question from one of you guys…
“Is it true that it’s better to eat carbs at night so that you don’t crave them all day?”
It’s not necessarily true. I eat the majority of my carbs at night because during the day I’m not as hungry. That’s my preference. If you’re a person that likes carbs at night and you can get away with not eating them during the day…go ahead and do that. Again, adjust your lifestyle.
If you’ve got 100 carbs saved up for the night and you have your rice and your brownie and you’re still within your limits, then that’s good for you because you’ll get that craving taken care of. You’re still going to stay within your limit so again, it’s more of a lifestyle choice.
If you’re a person who doesn’t eat a lot of carbs at night or you don’t crave carbs at night, then you don’t need to have them all at night. But again, if you’re a person that does crave a little more carbs at night maybe it’s better for you to help satisfy that craving by eating quite a few carbs and not having to limit so much because you’ve had much more during the day.
I would just say some people might actually do by better by having more carbs at night and keeping away breakfast and lunch carbs just because they usually are hungrier at night than they are at breakfast and lunch.
Carbs have kind of been the devil and usually people say, “Oh, I’m doing so great on the Paleo diet. Oh my gosh I lost so much weight.”
Well, yeah you lost so much weight.
But here’s the kicker: for every gram of carbs there’s 3-4 grams of water that come with it. So if you cut out 50 grams of carbs you’re cutting out 150-200 grams of water.
Well, you’re gonna lose weight because the water goes away from having lower carbs.
So that is exactly the reason why a lot of people lose a lot of weight.
Also, interestingly, I just read this and found this out. It takes 3,500 calories of fat to lose a pound. It takes only 400 calories of carbs to lose a pound because of the fact that there’s so much water with carbs. So if you cut out carbs you’re going to lose weight because you’re going to lose a lot of water weight.
And then when you add carbs back in and you’re saying, “oh my gosh I’m gaining all this weight…it’s the terrible carbs.”
It’s because you gained the water weight back that you lost just from cutting the carbs. Carbs themselves weigh. Macro-nutrients actually take a little bit of weight. You’re eating a certain amount a day. A pound and a half of protein a day. If you eat that much. Or a pound of protein a day. That’s still weight.
So the same thing with carbs. How many pounds of carbs do you have in a day? You take those out, and well that’s the weight you’re losing.
So that first initial 2-3 weeks a lot of times it’s not fat that you’re losing. You’re just losing water weight and some macro-nutrient weight and it’s not a full amount of fat.
So again, 3,500 calories burns 1 lb of fat, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that when you’re lowering your calories that it’s all going to be fat.
Some of it is going to water weight, some of it’s going to be weight from carbs, just eating less calories in general. So think about that when you’re losing weight. That’s the reason why a lot of people lose a lot of weight in the beginning…they restrict those calories.
They lose some water weight; they lose some weight from actual calorie restriction. They’re eating less food. So that’s a little bit of the weight they’re losing, and it just adds up over time.
Over the first one to two weeks they’re really not losing a ton of weight. It’s just that in the beginning is a lot of manipulation and non-body fat weight that you start to lose.
So don’t believe the hype on that. I’m not saying Paleo doesn’t work. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for some people.
What I am saying is most people will get away with eating carbs. That’s the simple fact. The majority of people don’t have issues with eating carbs. The majority of people just think they do because they’ve been on low carbs and then they add carbs and they gain weight… and they freak out and say “oh my gosh, I’m gaining weight!”
Well, yeah, you’re eating carbs again but you’re gaining the water weight you lost. Don’t listen to that hype. That’s one of the bull crap things that I now understand and won’t allow anyone to tell me different.
If you’re a person that works a laborious job all day, like a farmer, you don’t do any high intensity work, Paleo might work for you. A little higher fat and lower carbs. You’re not doing a ton of high intensity work, but it’s not going to hurt. I can tell you right now, the main reason people have issues is because they don’t move.
I mean I can meet tons of people who are overweight and exercise and have phenomenal numbers across the board, live a long life, and they’re technically overweight but it’s because they move.
So don’t think because you’re eating well, everything is going to be great. Moving is a big part of it. The more you sit the more you don’t do anything the worse your health will be. End of story. You can eat a lot and move a lot and be just fine.
Okay, sorry that kind of went off on a rampage. I didn’t mean to do that.
Back to carbs…
It takes fat 30-40% longer to switch over to energy than it does for carbs to switch over to energy. That’s why your body goes for carbs after the ATP and the creatine phosphate. So after the ATP and the creatine phosphate your body goes for carbs for a reason. It’s because it utilizes it very well. Especially in high intensity work.
So when we’re talking about exercise, carbs are the number one source for energy and they’re great, awesome, and phenomenal. You want to have carbs in your body when you’re doing high intensity exercise. Anybody tells you different is wrong. You’re not going to be optimal with doing Paleo (lower carb). You just won’t be optimal.
And who wants to feel like crap during a workout? I’d rather feel great. I’d rather feel like I can run an extra 5 miles after my workout than feeling like crap half-way through.
It’s like a gas tank on a super charge V8: you take some carbs into your body. You fill it up, and you continue to keep it going. A full amount of carbs in your body. Guess what? Your exercise is going to be phenomenal. You’re going to get through your workout.
You take a gallon of gas that would normally get you from point A to point B. You take half that gallon away and now you’ve only got half a gallon of gas. Put it in a super charge V8 and it’s going to go half the distance and probably you’ll have a little momentum…chuga, chuga…until you get to point B.
But it’s not going to get you there full-on performance-wise, fast, and high intensity. So it is needed. The better you fuel your body, the better your performance will be, and the better your performance…Guess what? You’re probably going to burn more calories.
So if you’re looking to burn that extra little bit of calories, why not fuel your body right so it can actually get through the workout at a higher intensity instead of half-assing it where you’re only getting part of the way through??
Huge, huge, huge.
You see it all the time. People are in there dragging butts because they didn’t eat enough that day. Dragging butt because they only had chicken or some peanut butter. You know…just a little bit but not enough to fuel your body in your workout. And then they don’t eat well afterwards so people are so low on their calories because they think “don’t eat.”
“If I don’t eat I’ll lose weight. “
That’ll happen for a little bit, but eventually you’re going to plateau. And when you plateau you know what are you going to do then? Are you going to cut calories even more? That only brings your energy levels down again. And then it’ll drop again, and it’ll continue dropping.
Another question from one of our clients…
“What’s the maximum amount of sodium a person should consume?”
So the maximum amount of sodium really depends on the athlete. How hard do you work out? If you’re working out, sweating like crazy, doing two to three workouts a day. You can have quite a bit of sodium actually, because that’s what your muscles use is sodium.
The limit that they set on the FDA is because people are so sedentary. If you sweat a lot, you sweat a lot of sodium out. If you move a lot, you use a lot of sodium with your muscles. Your muscles use calcium, potassium, and sodium.
So you need it!
But it really depends on how active you are and how much you have. I can’t say a specific number because I’m not fully informed on that. I would say you can have more than you think and definitely more than My Fitness Pal says. Again, sodium isn’t something I would be too concerned about unless you’re having 10,000 grams, or like 8,000 grams.
Okay, so I’ll be back with another post to answer more of your questions!