By Nick Pineault
There's no better way to say this…
The IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) approach to building muscle sucks, and for 2 critical reasons.
#1: This principle gives the illusion to some people that all calories have the same effect on your body - the biggest nonsense of this century.
#2: People on this approach often conclude that "moderation is key" (I'll explain below).
Let's address #1 first.
I still hear people from all backgrounds, all ages and all countries telling me that calories are created equal. I call BS.
Of course, some folks will tell me that a calorie is a calorie because it's just a unit of energy. They're right, but that's not my point.
My point is that everyone reading this already knows that calories from carbs don't have the same effect on your body as calories from protein. If not, take a "Nutrition 101" class before you read on.
But what a lot of people have a hard time accepting is that different kinds of foods will also have a different effect on your body because of specific micro-nutrients or contaminants.
Let me drop some science here…
- Excess fructose (from sugary carbs) disrupt your leptin hormone and ultimately impact testosterone production
- GMO foods (virtually everywhere), chlorine and fluoride in tap water and pesticides are all shown to weaken your gut flora - contributing to excess inflammation in your body, slower recovery and smaller muscle gains
- Food, personal care products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plastics, water and soil are all sources of endocrine disrupters (BPA, dioxins, etc.), which compound to disrupt estrogen, androgen, thyroid function and metabolism to some degree
(I'm sure you understand that for the sake of simplicity, I didn't include the dozens of sources of this data)
To this point, I think it's pretty safe to assume that your food and lifestyle choices will all affect your hormones and gains..
This leads us to #2 - "moderation is key".
I almost completely agree with that statement.
Eating natural, unprocessed, whole foods 90% of the time will give you 90% of the results, and is arguably healthier for your mind than 100% restriction from any form of treat or "bad" food.
The problem is - most of the foods in your fridge and pantry are what I call "fat storing" foods and you probably don't even know it.
Let me give you examples:
1) Grass-fed Beef
Grass-fed beef is packed with the natural fat burner CLA, and contains a ton more omega-3, vitamins and minerals than the cheap supermarket kind.
But did you know that the term "grass-fed" is not even regulated by the FDA?
That means that there's a possibility your expensive beef has been fed grains in its last 3-4 months before ending up in your plate - nullifying any effect the grass diet had in the first place and leaving you with a meat that contains inflammatory omega-6 that slow down your recovery further.
2) Brown Rice
Everyone tells you that brown rice is healthier than white rice…
What they forgot to tell you is that rice - especially brown rice - contains dangerous levels of arsenic. Yes, the most popular poison used in the Middle Age.
Don't worry. No one puts arsenic in your food on purpose. Rice naturally absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants, and stores it in its grains.
And since 1960, about 800,000 tons of inorganic arsenic has been used in agriculture and industries.
Wait, it gets worse. The EPA estimates that rice contributes to only 17% of your exposure to arsenic, which means you probably affected by a toxic load that promotes fat storage and sickness
To reduce arsenic content, rinse your rice thoroughly and choose imported rice over the one grown in the US.
3) Coconut Oil
This one is NOT a fat-storing food, obviously… coconut oil is incredibly healthy and one of the best you can use to cook, but it gets expensive very fast.
But the thing is - manufacturers sell "raw" coconut oil for the big price, when in fact raw coconut oil doesn't exist. Shipping containers used to ship the coconut oil to the US by sea from the tropics reach temperatures of over 130°F.
The bottom line: If you're paying more for raw coconut oil, you're getting scammed.
A lot of bodybuilders recommend fish as a staple muscle-building food, and for a lot of reasons. It's generally low in calories, very easy to digest and contains a ton of essential omega-3.
But not all fish is created equal.
Farmed fish you'll find in most supermarkets contain high levels of PCBs, dioxins, antibiotics and pesticides - that all take a toll on your gut health and disrupt your testosterone.
It also contains at least 3 times less omega-3 than its wild-caught counterpart - making it actually a very poor source of essential fatty acid.
The obvious choice is to stick with wild-caught fish. The revolting problem is - a recent study by the University of Washington Tacoma showed that 40% of fish sold as "wild-caught" is in fact… farm-raised.
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