Any yo-yo dieters in the house? What haven’t you tried?
No carbs before vacation. More protein in your routine.
Butter coffee and avocados, juice detoxes, zero belly fat challenges, apple cider vinegar every morning, empty stomach (don’t get me started on the acid reflux it gives) and extreme celeb-endorsed fads.
Whether your goal is to bulk up or slim down, diet and workout have played the lead roles in your life. If your direction skills are in place, you can get some amazing results with this pair.
But if you’re stuck in a loop of result-less diets, it’s probably because of some popular myths that we’re about to debunk.
Myth 1: Eat More Often To Boost Your Metabolism
When we eat we do in fact increase our metabolism through the thermic effect of food (TEF). Now, what is TEF? It’s the energy used to digest the food. Whatever energy we consume in the form of nutrients, around 10% of it is used for digestion.
So by eating more often, we stimulate more TEF. But it also means that there’s a good risk of eating more food. This is where the argument fails.
When two or more people consume the same diet, studies have shown that the amount of TEF burnt remains the same regardless of the number of meals.
When you look at the bigger picture, how many times you eat becomes less important and what you eat takes the centre seat.
Here’s something to get you started—fewer calories, more energy.
Myth 2: Skipping Breakfast Can Lead To Fat Gain
Skipping breakfast doesn’t kickstart your metabolism, which is why you burn fewer calories and gain fat. That’s a popular opinion.
However, intermittent fasting—in which you go through periods of 16 hours without eating and only eat within an 8-hour window—has challenged this belief to some extent.
Our metabolism doesn’t operate on one meal. Your weight loss results depend more on your daily calorie intake and less on one meal or number of meals.
Although, not having breakfast can affect your ability to focus and make you feel grumpy. So we would encourage you to start your day with a healthy breakfast.
Myth 3: Frequent Meals Help Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
The claim seems very logical—keep eating constantly to stabilise energy levels. By eating more frequently, you can avoid feeling hungry too. Makes sense on the surface but let’s dig a little deeper.
Our bodies are perfectly capable of regulating blood sugar levels, thanks to homeostasis. It’s the capacity of the body to maintain the stability of internal variables, such as temperature, body fat, blood sugar levels and acidity.
If you’re perfectly healthy, it is unlikely that your blood sugar levels fluctuate. In fact, recent studies have shown that subjects who ate 3 meals have greater blood sugar control as opposed to ones who took 6 meals per day.
Myth 4: You Go Catabolic Without Frequent Protein Intakes
Protein is the key to maintaining and promoting muscle growth. But if you don’t consume protein for a few hours, will your body start eating away your muscles? Not really.
The more you eat, the longer it takes for your body to digest. A typical meal takes 5-6 hours to get digested. So while you’re preparing to eat lunch at 2:00 p.m., your body is still digesting the heavy breakfast you had at 9 a.m. Your muscles are not starving.
Focus on the overall intake of protein, based on your body weight. The only time a ‘starvation response’ kicks in is after 3-4 days of very low calories.
Myth 5: Your Body Can Digest A Limited Amount of Protein
Many people believe that our bodies can only digest certain grams of protein at once, the rest gets wasted. But this isn’t true.
One of the best ways to understand this is by looking at our ancestors who went through times of feast and famine. They didn’t face any issues while eating large amounts of meat or other forms of protein at once.
Protein takes longer to digest and it gets used with time. Even if you have consumed “extra” protein, your body will continue to release amino acids into the bloodstream and it will get absorbed by your muscles.
Our body is used to breaking down and storing nutrients in a consistent cycle, on a day-to-day basis. The timing of your meal has relatively little effect on your overall metabolism. So a healthy bedtime snack is okay as long as it fits in your daily calorie budget.
Dispel myths that can block your progress and continue to invest in physical activities for better results.