By: Anthony Campo

There are many misconceptions that exist out there.  Most of which a heard is discussions around the gym or workplace.  Over the years, I have worked extremely hard to provide the right information to others.  Many people are willing to put in the effort in order to achieve their goals.  Unfortunately if they are misled,   their efforts might be misdirected, and they may never realize their goals.  In this article I will address one of the most common nutritional misconceptions that might have people struggling to hit their goals.

Quote: “My friend is trying that fad diet where you don’t eat any bread or pasta, they just eat meat and stuff, they are asking for a heat attack”.

I have been hearing variations of this quote since I began in the fitness industry. I am constantly hearing talk in the gym that the idea of limiting crappy carbs like breads, pastas, and sugars is somehow a “fad diet.”  First off the idea of being on a “diet” is completely blown out of proportion.  A “fad diet” implies that there is a plan that you are going to follow for a short period of time to obtain fast results.  Obviously this is an ineffective way to go about things long term because eventually you will fall back into the same habits you had before, thus going back to how you looked and felt before.  In turn if someone is on a “diet” people automatically assume that this person in trying to loose weight. In reality being on a “diet” actually means you have a plan or a rhyme or reason to what you are eating and when you are eating it.  Having a plan is extremely important to achieving a variety of goals.  In this respect everyone should be on a “diet”.  Whether you are trying to cut fat, put on muscle, or increase your performance at a sport, you should have a plan that has you eating the correct foods at the right times.

Now getting back to the idea that cutting crappy carbs is a “fad diet”; this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many gym goers do have a primary objective of cutting fat and getting leaner.  For this articles sake, let’s pretend that cutting fat and getting leaner is your primary objective.  Man made, processed starchy carbs like bread, pasta, and sugars are death to fat loss.  It seems as if through the years, foods like pasta and bread have been construed into being natural and healthy, where as in reality your body does not have any dietary need for them.  Your body does have a need for a diet high in healthy fat, quality protein, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and berries.  You could live for the rest of your life just eating healthy fats and proteins. In turn, if you were to just able to eat carbs, you would not last very long before your body began to break down.  Also in relation to this, over the years unhealthy “trans fats” have been incorrectly grouped with saturated fats and animal fats.  While Trans fats should be avoided, animal fats from healthy animals such as grass fed organic beef, wild salmon, and coconut oil are some of the healthiest things you can eat.  In terms of fat loss, if you eat these fats along with proteins, you will actually promote fat loss in the body because your body becomes more efficient at burning fat for energy.  Meanwhile the protein will keep your bodies metabolic rate high, is very thermo genic, and rebuilds and supports muscle mass.  However when you introduce simple carbs into the equation, your body will use that for energy and store the excess as fat.  This means that simple carbs are the enemy, not protein or fat.   Eating a high percentage of healthy fats and proteins will also increase your body’s insulin sensitivity and put you in to fat burning mode.  Eating healthy fats and proteins that are found in such sources as wild fresh fish and nuts, and complex carbohydrates found in vegetables like broccoli and spinach will help fight disease, keep you regulated, better your immune system, fight inflammation, help build muscle, balance your hormone, and increase your sex drive… need I say more?  Eating a diet high in starchy man-made carbs like sugar, bread, pasta, and cereals spike your insulin, puts you into fat storage mode and makes you susceptible to disease such as increased levels of bad cholesterol, and decreased levels of good cholesterol.  Eating a high percentage of these simple carbs also has your body using the carbs as energy instead of the stored fat on you that you want to burn off.  There are times in which to eat simple carbohydrates, but if you are overweight or obese and are trying to loose fat, things like sugars, breads, pastas ect… will quickly kill any success you may have.  The idea of just eating smaller portions of these simple carbs, is just as detrimental to fat loss.  If you are overweight your insulin sensitivity is most likely poor anyway.  Insulin is the fat storage hormone.  Eating just one piece of candy can spike your insulin and put you into fat storage mode.  Eating these simple carbs throughout the day keeps you on the insulin roller coaster making it nearly impossible to lose weight no matter how many calories you are eating.  Now, besides the whole weight loss thing, eating this way can also lead to a handful of diseases such as diabetes, heat disease, gastro-intestinal problems, elevated cortisol levels, and poor adrenal and thyroid function to just name a few.  So with all this being said, cutting these carbs out of your diet is not a “fad”, it is the way a lot more people should be eating, PERIOD.   Just maybe if we can start eating the way our bodies were designed to, we wouldn’t have such an increasing, out of control health and weight problem in the world.

Here are some other misconceptions that relate with this topic:

-One of the most ridiculous things I have heard is the idea that somehow regular soda is better for you than diet soda.  Despite what the fat lady in your office says, diet soda does not cause cancer, and “Pure cane sugar” is not better for you than regular sugar.  They both raise your blood sugar and will make you a ticking diabetes time bomb if you are not careful.  In fact if you are a male with a waist over the size of 40 inches, or a woman with a waist over 36 inches, there is a good chance you are already insulin resistant, which is just a small jump away from diabetes.  If you fall into this group, drinking that sugary drink is as close to poison for your health as you are going to get.

-Many people believe that if they switch from white bread and pasta, to whole wheat bread and pasta, this will be a strong enough change to affect there health.  This idea looks good on the surface, however will only lead to more failure. The correct part about this train of thought is that people should eat more complex carbohydrates and less simple carbohydrates.  Unfortunately 99 percent of the “whole wheat” or “grain” products out there are not that nutritionally different than its alternative.  Most of it is just the same crappy carbs, with a little wheat or grain thrown in.  This allows the companies to market it as “100% whole wheat.”  Really it is still just 100% percent garbage.  Learn to stop listening to the marketing on boxes, and start reading the nutritional labels for yourself!

– Marketing also has us believing that any low calorie foods (though loaded with simple carbs) are good for you.  Many people purchase products based on the low calorie, low fat labels.  As discussed above fat is actually good for you.  Fat yields more calories, but if you are eating and training correctly, those calories will do more good for you than anything else.  In addition to all the benefits of fats mentioned above, it also provides you with slow burning energy that does not spike your blood sugar, keeps you full longer, and also keeps your body in fat burning mode.  Now these “low calorie” foods are usually loaded with sugar or simple carbs because carbohydrates only yield 4 calories per gram and give you a quick sense of satisfaction.  However, in the long run, these calories will actually do more to contribute to fat storage.  A perfect example of this is the “100 calorie pack” items of cookies and such.  Just because it is only 100 calories, this does not mean it is good for you.  Crappy foods are still crappy foods no matter what the quantity is.