Friday, 21 June 2013

15 Facts about Food and Fitness: please debunk/ troll me and we all might learn something

1. There is no essential daily carbohydrate level.
2. There is an essential fat level.
3. There is an essential protein level.

4. Your brain uses 25% of daily carbs and so if you need to use your brain you actually now have a certain amount of carbohydrates needed. 25% of 50 grams is 12.5 g sugar and so you probably need more if you want to do any sort of intellectual exercises in your day. 

5. Never drop carbohydrates below 10 % of calories or your body will just convert amino acids to sugars to burn and that is a waste of money. Furthermore ketosis and peeing on keto-sticks is un-neccesary to benefit from low carb diets.

6. All carbs break down into simple sugars and this is why fat free oatmeal and lucky charms are basically the same in your system. Its just that oatmeal has some more fibre and may fill you up longer and lucky charms has weird colours and artificial flavours that may have negative health effects.

7. Drinking tons of water will not help you burn calories but it will keep you hydrated which will make you less hungry (through mistaking thirst for hunger).
8. There is a major difference between a diet that will make you 'peak' and be in great shape for contest day and a diet that will help you be in 'good shape' all year around. 

9. Most popular historical based diets are silly (ie Paleo diet) -no one really knows how people ate around the globe 50-250 million years ago- we can assume they ate other animals when they could, perhaps other humans, and lots of leafy plants, bugs, worms and whatever they could get their hands on. They did not eat buffalo steaks with pineapple and goji berry salsa with a side of coconut water- modern paleos can only eat such a diverse geographic range of foods due to transportation and gas guzzling machines 'serving' the first world desires. 

10. Agriculture is about 10,000 years old, humans ate lots of wheat in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, rice has kept Asia flourishing for like 7,000 years (at least) and so YES humans can 'naturally' eat lots of carbs and 'man made' foods like bread, butter, wine, sausage, olive oil and spice it all up to make it tasty. Hence why Marco-Polo even went on his trip. 
11. Strength athletes have historically eaten more meat then non-atheltes, hence why Aristotle says that moderation in portions of daily meat for a weightlifter is different then moderation for an average non- weightlifter.
12. When Socrates was condemned to death in Ancient Athens, when asked what his punishment should be he said-"Free meals for life". Which was the custom reward for an Olympic champion. 

13. Some people have unique health conditions that can make weight loss/gain virtually impossible unless medically treated. Ex: low thyroid, low testosterone, diabetes, allergies (real ones), and even some of my research points to the idea that having an ADD type personality actually makes it almost impossible to 'stay consistent' on a plan- and consistency is the true secret to any good diet, It takes time and we need to program in habits so we can live on a desired auto-pilot.

14. Eating food is more then just calories, it is a HUGE human social behaviour such as 'family dinners', 'lunch with friends', the school meal hall or cafeteria where all kinds of socializing takes place, as a religious custom of feasting and fasting, and so we cannot expect to enjoy life if we say no to every event and person that does not fit into our chicken breast and broccoli diet or does not want to agree on the merits of veganism or whatever-  just eat together!

15. The ethical philosopher Peter Singer will say that you are a privileged human being if you drank anything beyond tap water in the last week AND also had access to clean tap water. Since you are reading this on the internet, then count your self lucky and very privileged and realize that people are actually starving to death while we throw out egg yolks for our fat free omelettes and turn down perfectly good  bread. Something to think about. 
P.S. -while eating meat is a biologically and historically sound practice, there are many good ethical arguments against eating meat. Whether it is based on the assumption that animals have rights or instead based on the simple idea that animals suffer pain (furthermore they suffer the inability to satisfy their natural life preferences) when we treat the solely as food and not as fellow animals here on earth. SO if you ask is eating meat bad? Ask yourself, would I want to live a short live just to be food for Martians?

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Jock and the Nerd: Part 3: The rise of Skepticism

The spread of cheap and fast global internet access, web2.0 free blogs, the proliferation of very smart phones and the wacky world of social media have had a great impact of the world of fitness. Some good, some bad and ALOT of confusion, paralysis through analysis and minutia arguing.  I have previously blogged about the blurring of the nerd and the jock- or that of the intellectual and that of the physically dominant, and how dumb jocks have synthesized with 'science nerds' to create a new breed of internet fitness peeps. 

However in reality, for most of history, people have stayed fit without any special methods that derive from contemporary molecular biology and so perhaps the jocks were all that were needed? In fact Aristotle mocked the 'ascetic' lifestyle and specific dietary demands of Herodicus who was the 'original' exercise scientist or kinesologist like 2500 years ago!  

BUT in a age of internet photo shops, 'supplements' and 'expert and specialized programming', the role of science is to wear glasses and a white lab coat and stand behind some spray tanned bodybuilder and 'verify' his claim that MegaPump42 will pack on LBM faster then any steroid and reverse aging, and raise i.q. enough to count over 12 reps, etc. Seriously go pick up a muscle rag and look at the 'advertorials' and you will see the bodybuilder with a scientist standing somewhere or at least a molecule symbol of something to give it 'lab cred'. So let me reiterate. The role of science (the nerds) in fitness is to give some sense of authority to the ad copy since anyone who knows how this science stuff really works will tell you a single study doesn't mean much and bad studies or really old studies being used to verify claims are just dishonest. Such is the fascinating interconnections of academia and business. Furthermore, since PUBMED is full of papers- one can easily cherry pick studies to back up just about any claim, and we  see that happen all the time. For example, studies showed Boron increased testosterone in pregnant females temporarily in the 60's or something like that-TRANSLATE TO AD COPY- scientists discover 'chemical' that increases human muscle growth and fat loss 500%! SO what role does science play in fitness? Well a long term role is to verify and invent ideas that can help people, but it is a painfully long and slow process that is under constant revision and there is no real sense of absolute stability in any of the findings. 

SO we now come to an age old practice and school of philosophy- Skepticism- from the ancients through Hume and what it means today in relation to 'sports science.' While scientists should be skeptical, skepticism finds its roots in the philosophical questioning of everything. Hell science is actually philosophy but that is another story but for now please enjoy this 3 minute cartoon on the life of David Hume.