The Only Three Things Everybody Agrees on When It Comes to Nutrition

There’s not much agreement about nutrition. On many topics—fat, salt, and carbs to name a few—government guidelines will say one thing, but fans of paleo or vegan or fad diets will insist that the opposite is true. Pretty soon you just don’t know what to think about eggs or white bread or low-fat salad dressing.

But there’s at least a little good news. Most people agree on three basic things: sugar, trans fat, and vegetables. From stodgy mainstream government guidelines, to sometimes-controversial movements like Paleo, to decidedly non-scientific folks like the Food Babe, these are the things almost everyone’s on board with. While I’m sure there is somebody out there who will disagree (and they will probably show up in the comments of this post), these three statements are as close to consensus as you can hope to get.

Source: The Only Three Things Everybody Agrees on When It Comes to Nutrition

How to Count Macronutrients Instead of Calories for Better Diet Success

If you’ve ever read a fitness blog, forum, or even Instagram, you’ve probably heard the term macros thrown around. Short for “macronutrients,” it refers to carbs, fats, and proteins—the three basic components of every diet. If you get their proportions right, it makes dieting a lot more effective when simple calorie restriction fails.

Source: How to Count Macronutrients Instead of Calories for Better Diet Success

The Difference Between Sugar and Sugar Alcohols

For many decades, sugar alcohols have been popular alternatives to sugar.  They look and taste like sugar, but have fewer calories and fewer negative health effects.  In fact, many studies show that sugar alcohols can actually lead to health improvements.  This article takes a detailed look at sugar alcohols and their health effects.

Source: Sugar Alcohols: Good or Bad?

The article didn’t mention that most of them, with the exception of erythritol, have a laxative effect.  Lest we forget the gummy bears of doom

Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

I’m a huge fan of tracking calories in order to lose weight. This process is quite powerful…with one exception. Here’s an eerie case where merely thinking about calories may nullify your progress.

Source: Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

Very interesting read – the article goes into various studies to present why exercise does not mean weight loss.

[maniacal laugh]

You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

When it comes to weight loss, people often think that you need to spend countless hours in the gym, pounding away at the treadmill while you watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Not only do you not need much time in the gym, it might be optimal to spend it elsewhere. Here’s why.

Source: You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

But if it makes you happy, you can do it. The only exercise plan that’s right for you is the one you can stick to where you do something.

If you’re struggling with exercise, try to keep that in mind. If you despise your workout, then you need to find something else. Clinical studies aside, anything you’ll actually do consistently is going to be more effective than anything you don’t.

Top 10 Simple Weight Loss Hacks You Can Implement Right Now

Weight loss isn’t easy (if it were, we wouldn’t have a billion different diet plans and products to waste our money on). But even the smallest weight loss tricks or mind hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan. Here are 10 such tricks you can easily incorporate today.

Source: Top 10 Simple Weight Loss Hacks You Can Implement Right Now

Drink more water?  There are some things to consider about what some would suggest is the proper amount of water to be drinking.  But substituting water for other beverages would be a good idea, and likely cheaper…

The plating idea is interesting, but I fear most will think they have to buy new stuff to make it work.

Alcohol is empty calories.  Lots are very surprised how much weight they drop when they minimize how much beer/etc they consume.

As always, figure out what works for you.

Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

After a strenuous workout, top athletes and everyday exercisers regularly reach for energy bars, protein powders, or recovery drinks, thinking that these dietary supplements provide boosts that normal foods do not.

A new study, however, finds that — when it comes to exercise recovery — supplements are no better than fast food.

The multi-billion-dollar sports supplement industry is a true behemoth. With catchy taglines and sparkling testimonials from top athletes, they’ve convinced millions of people to use their products. University of Montana graduate student Michael Cramer decided to find out if their claims of superiority stood the test of science, so he pit some of the most oft-used supplements, including Gatorade, PowerBar, and Cytomax “energy” powder, against a few of McDonald’s most vaunted contenders: hotcakes, hash browns, hamburgers, and fries.

…Though the research was solidly controlled, the findings are limited by the small number of subjects. Moreover, the results may not apply to less-trained individuals.

Source: Need to Recover from a Workout? Fast Food Is Just as Effective as Supplements

This isn’t all that surprising, as it’s a short-term study (1 pre and post-recovery workout for each diet) focusing on exercise recovery and glycogen recovery. Any high-glycemic carbohydrates will restore glycogen levels quickly following exercise so what form you take them in isn’t that important – when you just look at glycogen levels and short-term recovery.  Long-term may be a different story though – the fast food diet may not enable you to maximize adaptations to exercise. Having said that you will still get the some (likely a lot) of the benefits of exercise.  People who exercise do not suffer as much of the bad effects of a 1 week high-fat meal (source 1, source 2).

In terms of “as macronutrient content is the same then there shouldn’t be a difference”?  Not necessarily, not all protein is equal (whey protein having the maximal increase on protein synthesis both at rest and following exercise). So 25 grams of whey protein should cause a bigger increase in protein synthesis than 25 grams of protein from a burger. It’s likely there’ll be differences in fat type (i.e. saturated vs unsaturated) as well.

This is what I think is most disheartening about the diet craze. Any effort placed on exercise and eating better has tremendous gains. Pop culture has instilled this idea that there’s a rigorous plan required to lose weight and stay in shape. Eating better doesn’t necessarily mean going vegan. It could be as simple as eating whatever you want but in smaller portions. Incorporating more fruits/veggies. Something, anything. Any exercise is better than no exercise. Even if it means going to the gym twice a week, that can be significant.

Four Lessons Role Playing Games Can Teach You About Fitness

In most people’s minds, gamers are the furthest thing from the muscular, toned athletes they aspire to be…possibly because video games are often blamed for breeding a generation of couch potatoes. But In fact, there are many fit gamers out there, and many of them will cite parallels with the RPGs they know and love when talking about how they got fit.

At first glance, this topic read like “what cigarettes can teach you about good habits,” so let’s dispel some myths. Video games don’t make people fat. Sure, playing too much might take away from the amount of time you have to exercise, but it’s the overconsumption of calories—not the lack of exercise—that’s to blame for the current obesity crisis.

Source: Four Lessons Role Playing Games Can Teach You About Fitness

They forgot about “grinding”: You’ll level up by just doing the obvious things that are the most fun, but when you pretty much exhaust that around level 15 and notice all the other people at level 25, you’ll realize that if you really want to max your character, you’re gonna have to do a whole lot of little tasks and just focus on the most efficient way to rep XP.

I do identify with the class aspect.  It’s very common in triathlon to have a specialty, and for the majority it’s running.  Likewise, I know lots who will not attempt triathlon because of their swimming ability.  For those who are good in cycling and running – I’ve encountered lots to date who are incredible swimmers but not as strong in the other aspects.  The cycling portion is the easiest spot to make up time.  My swimming gameplan is not to be the first out of the water – I want to draft that person/those people, as drafting in the swim is allowed and recommended.  So I can save some energy and then attack when most can’t.  If drafting in cycling is legal, I’d do it too.  Not everyone can do that – you have to figure out what works for you.

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

Everyone who loses weight successfully overcomes a set of similar challenges. But let us be honest: successful weight loss is relatively uncommon, making many of these challenges unheard of. Consequently, when they arise, you might think you’re doing things wrong. But you’re not, and here’s why.

Source: Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

If people are really, truly concerned about you – take a step back and re-examine what you’re doing and why. I ask for this pause for self-reflection because that could be life with an eating disorder.  It’s a fine line we walk when we’re talking about weight loss. I just want to be sure we remember the other side of the coin, and why losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way is so important.

Personally, I haven’t dealt with a lot of #3.  Rather the opposite – they would not comment on my progress.  I’ve overheard chatter about me, but few will say something to me.

Regarding #4, I never thought of the journey being over.  I had ideas for what thought I’d look like, but watched over time to see the weight loss seemed to favour one side over the other.  It was top down at the start, but more recently has gone between left and right sides.  But it was a while back that I considered my goals were quite likely due to photoshop, and I was quite happy with my progress.  Part of that came from being more focused on eating for proper nutrition and fueling, so I was distracted.  I’m still working out what’s best for the diet, and surprisingly I’m still seeing weight loss results but I am getting concerned about fueling/energy/ketosis.