Why low carb, vegan and shake diets work
The world is confused about nutrition. I teach around the world, I teach online, and I talk to A LOT of people every day, and everyone is confused when it comes to nutrition.
I did a webinar the other week titled ‘Where nutrition science fails and application wins’, and before I started the webinar I asked everyone “what is the one area of nutrition science that you struggle with”, and 50% of the audience said, “nutrition, it’s all so contradictory, one person says one thing, one another, I don’t know what to believe”.
So, I’m here to help.
Firstly, if you would like to watch that webinar, you can, simply set aside 50 minutes, click here, and enjoy:-
Free knowledge, you're welcome!
Back to my blog. I do also have a problem with where nutrition is heading for some people, in that they are losing interest, and I don’t want you to lose interest because of the supposed confusion. Nutrition is an incredibly powerful life skill, that’s why I teach it. I used to be obese, unhealthy, unhappy, and now, quite frankly, I’m fricking AWESOME. And its nutrition that’s empowered me, I know what to eat, why to eat it, what I feel best fuelled on, what reacts with me, what choice supplements to take, and how to mix up the variables depending on how my goals change month to month.
It’s my in-depth knowledge that has given me what I see as life skills. I won’t need to change what I know more than 10%, things will evolve and come and go when it comes to nutrition, but the fundamentals, the 90%, are what they are, and aren’t going to change dramatically.
Eat real food, move, stay well hydrated, sleep well and enough, eat enough protein, don’t stress where possible, don’t overdo it, eat LOADS of veggies, and smile and laugh lots.
One thing that still evades most people though is that if you eat too much, you’ll get fat. Yet people are still concerned with whether a particular pill works for fat loss, or how low carb to go, or whether to do HIIT or cardio, ignoring the fact that people are not paying enough attention to their diet to lose fat, and the simple fact of….
You MUST eat less than you burn to successfully lose body fat.
Now you might have followed a particular diet in the past, i.e. a low carb diet, and lost weight, but you still created a calorie deficit inadvertently, so while you weren’t purposely on a calorie controlled diet but on on a low carb diet, you were still on a calorie controlled diet.
And this is where people become zealots of systems of thinking, they do something, it seems like the answer even though it was operating on the very simple premise of creating a calorie deficit.
How do I know this? Because I was that person.
When I lost 5.5 stone I became an advocate of low carb eating, so much so that most of the client I ended up working with ended up on a low carb diet, it worked for me, why won’t it work for them?
Well it did, for the ones that stuck to it. But it was working on a broken principal. The ones that had success with it either enjoyed it, had good will power, worked well off low carbs, created a calorie deficit due to the diet set up, or trained their ass of alongside the diet. It wasn’t any magic of the low carb diet, but the inadvertent environment it put them into.
I was creating a calorie deficit through my low carb diets, it wasn’t the low carbs, but the lack of calories the diet created.
But now I know better, I know about nutritional science, and I know how to apply it into the many real world examples I come across as a coach (watch the webinar if you’re interested in this, I talk a lot about this).
"You MUST eat less than you burn to successfully lose body fat".
To draw a different example, vegan nutrition is currently very popular. Yet what people are comparing it to is normal eating (for the average person in the street, not the fitness community), where an awful lot of people are not eating anywhere near enough fruit or vegetables to be optimal, or feel healthy. Thus, people are switching to a vegan diet and hailing it for its health promoting benefits. Yet there is nothing wrong with a normal, omnivorous diet. The key problem is that no-one eats enough vegetables or fruit in their current normal diet, so why not take a normal omnivorous diet and max out on fruit and vegetables, eating 6-10 portions a day where possible?
That’s going to make you really healthy, in fact seriously healthy, without shifting to the extreme of being vegan.
That’s not me discrediting vegan eating, that’s me merely stating that vegan eating isn’t a magical answer, sure do it if you have an ethical or moral aversion to meat eating, but don’t see it as a special diet, because it isn’t, it just has some real cool benefits because it has such a focus on nutrient density from fruits, vegetables and pulses.
Like anything, as a teacher, it’s my job to take the best of things, distil them, discard the not so beneficial bits, and use them to create a more complete picture when it comes to health and performance. But are you doing the same? Is your guard up, and are you thinking critically? That doesn’t mean don’t be open minded, it means exercise some common sense with all the things we see being promoted around the internet.
Do shake diets work? Yes, because they create an extreme calorie deficit.
Does cardio work? Yes, because it often creates a calorie deficit beyond someone’s normal dietary intake (as additional calorie burn to what they would usually burn compared to their dietary intake)
Does going low carb work? Yes, because it often creates a calorie deficit by removing a major food group from your diet, omitting lots of calories you would have normally eaten.
Does veganism make you super healthy? Yes, because it pours tonnes of nutritious food into your body, not via magic, but by good food (and often helps you lose weight as you cut out a lot of high calorie foods you would have normally eaten).
Does fasted training work? Often for many, yes, most do this as an extra training session to the day, or actually find it easier to fit training into their day this way without having to worry about breakfast beforehand, thus they end up creating a calorie deficit.
In nutrition many things work, but not often for the proposed reason you believe in or is spouted online.
So when that article crops up online, or another nutrition thread breaks out on Facebook, or you read an educators post you follow, exercise some common sense and say to yourself “why and how could this work, and is it actually for the proposed reason, or is it acting on a basic principal of nutritional science, like creating a calorie deficit?”. This is where the money is, and this is where you won’t lose faith in nutritional truth anymore, because you have your own guiding star, the science of nutrition.
I can help you more with this.
My podcast, which is free, addresses this kind of stuff weekly (every Thursday), there are also many books in our BTN shop that I’ve written, our blog always looks to expose nutritional truths, and, if you want to really get stuck in and become a nutrition ninja, enrol on the BTN Practical Academy, our online nutrition course that starts April 10th. But be warned, we only have 150 places every 6 months, and places are being snapped up fast.
p.s. don’t lose faith, nutrition is a beautiful and empowering life skill, embrace it.