Myths galore abound in training, but that’s nothing compared to the fallacies that get strewn about on the topic of bodybuilding nutrition, specifically as it pertains to fat burning. One self-appointed diet guru will tell you that carbs act a certain way in the body; however, he’s contradicted by the next guy with the same job title.
At some point, you just have to set the record straight and debunk all the nutritional myths floating around out there. But here’s the catch: some of those so-called myths are actually true! But which ones? To help you make sense of all the confusing rhetoric going back and forth, we’ve compiled 10 of the most common fat-burning quandaries and sought to apply one of two simple labels to each: fact or fiction.
1) HIGH-FAT DIETS MAKE YOU FAT
When you compare carbohydrates, protein and dietary fat gram for gram, fat is more “fattening” because dietary fat is more calorie dense. One gram of protein or carbs provides four calories, but the same amount of fat provides nine calories — more than double. This can add up to a ton of calories . . . if you’re eating butter with every meal!
But the bottom line is that a calorie is not necessarily a calorie. When you eat a diet that is moderate in fat (20%-30% of total calories), you are not adding that many extra calories. Not to mention, when you eat primarily healthy fats, they are more readily used for energy than saturated and trans fats. And the omega-3 variety of healthy fats actually encourage fat burning.
2) YOU CAN’T GET LEAN EATING CARBS
In fact, adequate carbohydrate intake prevents thyroid hormone levels from dropping. (Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland and are extremely important in governing fat burning.) If carbs plummet too drastically, thyroid levels are likely to take a dive too, which will put a damper on your fatburning efforts. So keeping your carbohydrate intake adequate — enough to train hard and keep hormones in check — is the smart way to go.
When on a get-lean diet, you can keep your carbs to about one gram per pound of bodyweight. However, since low-carb diets are effective for getting super lean, when going below 1 gram, add a higher carb day (about 2 or more grams per pound) once a week.
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