Debunking Diet Myths!

Do Carbohydrates Make Me Fat?

NO! An excess intake of any nutrient carbs, fats, and protein over your daily caloric needs will cause weight gain. Carbohydrates are a necessary nutrient that provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, space muscle proteins, and provide essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating carbohydrates that are moderate- to low-glycemic index can help with satiety (the feeling of being full), regulating blood sugar, and balance energy levels. Eating an abundance of high-glycemic index foods (sugar, refined processed carbs) can lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy, and increased appetite.

Does Eating at Night Make Me Fat?

Depends on how many calories you have left at the end of the day. Gaining weight is not about WHEN you eat, but about HOW MUCH you eat. If you do not go over your caloric needs for the day, you can eat as late as you want. If you would like to have your biggest meal as dinner, you certainly can if you stay within you appropriate caloric needs. Timing of meals is not something I will address here, but you can time your meals to optimize your performance, energy, and mood throughout the day.

Is a Low-Fat/High-Carb or High-Protein/Low-Carb Diet Better for Weight Loss?

Neither! Weight loss is achieved when you are consistently below your caloric needs for the day. These restrictive diets are cause for high dropout rates, find an eating style that you can stick with! Some studies show that you can lose weight faster on a low-carb diet in the first couple months, but after ~12 months the total weight loss is similar. Weight loss is not a sprint it’s a marathon. It is not a fad, it needs to be a lifestyle change. The primary goal of weight loss is to improve health by lowering body fat while maintaining your FFM (Fat Free Mass) and muscle tissue.

Can I Eat Whatever I Want as Long as I Exercise?

No! Your body needs to be supplied with the essential vitamins and minerals its needs to function. Also the majority of your burned calories throughout the day does not actually come from exercise. Average calories burned ranges from 200-500 during a typical exercise session. So doing a workout, and then “treating” yourself because you earned it with some junk food will most likely put you back over your caloric need for the day. Be mindful of your choices!

Is a High-Protein Diet Superior for Muscle Gain?

Depends what you consider high. The body does need the correct amount of protein to grow, maintain, and repair itself. Amino acids, which are what proteins are made up of, are the building materials for the body. An active individual does need more protein due to an increased need for body repair from exercise. Science bases protein intake at minimum of ~0.7 grams of protein per pound of body mass. I myself am currently consuming ~1.1 g/lb. Now this is specific to each individual, so this exact number may not match your needs. I would recommend working with a dietitian or nutritionist to determine your body’s protein needs. 

Staying Hydrated for Your Health

Your body is approximately 60% water. Water is ESSENTIAL! One can only survive a few days without water. According to NASM, sedentary (or non-active) men should drink 3.0 Liters (~13 cups) and sedentary (or non-active) women should consume 2.2 Liters (~9 cups) of water per day. If you are exercising or have an active job, you should definitely increase your water intake to over these recommendations.

I consume about 1.25-1.5 gallons (4.7-5.7 Liters or 20-24 cups) of water each day, with a minimum of 1 gallon at the very least. A tip that I do to track my water intake is to take it from a gallon jug of H2O. That way I know how much water I have left a day to drink, at a minimum. I aim to finish 1 gallon by the end of the workday at 5:00pm. I start drinking water as soon as I wake up at 4:30am, so it gives me 12 hours to drink one gallon.

Here are some of the benefits of staying adequately hydrated:

·         Endocrine gland function improves

·         Fluid retention is alleviated (If you are continually hydrated, your body will be better at regulating its water and you will not “hold” excess water as much)

·         Liver functions improve, increasing the percentage of fat used for energy

·         Natural thirst returns (A lot of people think they are hungry, but they are just not adequately hydrated. If so, those false food cravings may go away)

·         Metabolic functions improve

·         Nutrients are distributed throughout the body

·         Body-temperature regulation improves

·         Blood volume is maintained

Here are some of the effects of dehydration:

·         Decreased blood volume

·         Decreased performance (adversely affects circulatory functions)

·         Decreased blood pressure

·         Increased core temperature

·         Water retention

·         Increased heart rate

·         Sodium retention

·         Decreased cardiac output

·         Decreased blood flow to the skin

·         Increased perceived exertion (you think you are working harder than you actually are)

·         Increased use of muscle glycogen


The S.M.A.R.T. Trick to Accomplishing Your Goals

Setting good goals is essential for improvement and progress tracking. But what makes a goal a “good” goal? Some people have unrealistic and immediately out-of-reach goals. The S.M.A.R.T. trick to setting and accomplishing goals can help you break up your larger unrealistic goal into smaller goals which will make that unrealistic goal realistic!

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific – you need to be precise in what your goal is.

Measureable – how are you going to determine if you’ve reached the goal or not? You need a way to measure your progress.

Attainable – It needs to be something that is within reach.

Realistic – It cannot be a crazy goal, it needs to be achievable.

Timely – It should be given a date for completion that is relatively short in duration.


If you goal is to run a marathon, that’s great! Let’s look at an example of a S.M.A.R.T. marathon goal: “I want to run a marathon through Walt Disney World on January 11th and I will train for 16-weeks to build up my running endurance to complete the marathon without walking. Each week I will run 4 days a week slowly building up my distances traveled and I will aim to improve by at least a few seconds upon my time of previous runs.”

A non-S.M.A.R.T. goal would be “I want to run a marathon in under 4 hours next month, but I have never ran more than 6 miles.”

The Secret to Managing Your Weight (The Law of Thermodynamics)

Gaining, losing, or maintaining your weight is scientifically decided by the Law of Thermodynamics. The first Law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system. Simply this means that your body is the isolated system and that it cannot create or destroy energy. How do you get or lose energy then you may wonder. Energy is just transferred between different states like movement, known as kinetic energy, or others such as light energy, heat energy, gravitational energy, electrical energy, sound energy, and chemical energy.

So what does this have to do with managing your weight? Its primary foundation is on the amount of energy, or calories, that you consume during the day compared to how much energy, or calories, you burn throughout the day. If you eat fewer calories than you burn during the day, or burn more than you consume, you will lose weight. Just the opposite goes for gaining weight, you must consume more calories than you burn during the day, or burn less than you consume. To maintain weight then is to obviously equal the calories consumed with the calories burned.

This is the foundation for overall weight loss. Now if you are looking to burn fat and not muscle, you will need to pay more attention to what type of calories you are consuming. Specifically making sure you are getting enough to protein in your diet to allow your muscles to sufficiently recover as well as enough protein for your body to efficiently operate its normal processes. If you have an insufficient amount of protein in your caloric intake, your body will need to get its protein from your muscles and that is where the muscle breakdown and loss can occur. 

The amount of calories and protein to consume is specific to each individual and can change among the individual depending on their goals. If you want to join the Fitnaut Crew to get more information about your specific calories and protein, Click Here.

Nutrition Terms 101

Let’s establish some nutrition lingo definitions for you. I remember when I was starting out and hearing all this terms and phrases that I wasn’t quite sure what they meant. I ended up googling a lot of what I heard to research find out what people were talking about. So here is a list of general nutrition terms that should help you out!

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