Diet Questions? I’ve Got Your Answers

What foods should I be eating?

The foods you enjoy.

What diet should I go on?

The one that fits your preferences.

Should I do a sugar detox?

Hell no. Although, abstaining from sugar can be an effective pick up tactic.

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Do carbs make me fat?

No, provided you stay within your caloric requirements

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Does protein damage my kidneys?

No, assuming you don’t have  pre-existing kidney issues.

Are whole grains destroying my brain?

No. Neurodegeneration is complex (obviously), so it cannot be narrowed down to one main cause.

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Is sugar as addictive as cocaine?

No. Anyone who says otherwise has clearly never known a drug addict (or has never read the research).

Can I eat ice cream?

Yes. In fact, I’ll be pissed if you don’t. Unless of course you don’t like ice cream. But everyone likes ice cream.

Fruit has a lot of sugar. Will it hurt my fat loss progress?

No, provided you stay within your caloric requirements. 

Should I go low carb?

If you enjoy eating a low carb diet, then yes.

Should I go high carb?

If you enjoy eating a high carb diet, then yes.

Should I do intermittent fasting?

If you enjoy intermittent fasting, then yes.

Should I do Paleo?

If you enjoy eating Paleo-ey, then yes.

Do I have to eat kale?

No. It doesn’t have magical powers. Broccoli, however, undoubtedly does.

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Can I eat potatoes and tomatoes? I heard they’re bad for you ‘cus they’re nightshades.

Yes, eat them if you like them.

Can I eat bread?

Yes, if you like bread.

Which fad diet book should I read next?

None of them. 

Is moderation just an excuse to eat junk food? 

No, it’s an excuse for charlatans to display their own orthorexic tendencies when writing about moderation.

Should I count calories?

If it helps you, yes. If it doesn’t, you don’t have to. But understand the difference between “counting calories” and knowing that “calories count”. There is research showing that those who have maintained weight loss over a long period of time track their food intake in some way (food diary, tracking calories, etc.), so it can be effective as a long-term strategy, despite popular belief.

Can I lose body fat without an energy deficit?

No.

Whose nutrition advice should I believe?

No one’s. It’s okay to trust people, but always make your own decisions and come to your own conclusions. This is your life, do what’s best for you.

Do you see where I’m going with this? We spend so much time asking and answering age-old questions; but what the hell is the point?

Eat foods because you enjoy them, not because some self-proclaimed expert says you should. Suit your diet to meet your needs, your goals, and your preferences. It’s your diet, stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.

And just to be clear: I’m not poo-pooing on the importance of delving deep into the nutrition research to answer questions pertaining to severe issues such as obesity and diabetes, but we tend to unnecessarily over-complicate by default.

We want fat loss to be more complex than: Eat in a caloric deficit, consume adequate protein, and fit food choices, fat to carbohydrate ratios, and exercise type to your preference. But that’s it. The rest is often distracting minutia, as shown by many of the example questions above.

You don’t need to detox from sugar (you cannot detox from something that isn’t a toxin), you don’t need to avoid grains if you enjoy them (unless of course you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance), and you don’t need to follow some cult-like dietary protocol in order to achieve your goals.

One more thing before I wrap this up:  I want you to pay special attention to the last example question. “Whose nutrition advice should I believe?”

There’s a reason I used the word believe. You shouldn’t believe anyone, as that would entail putting blind faith in that person’s ability to interpret the research and relay it in a honest fashion. Sadly, this is ability is lost among many of today’s mainstream “authorities”. They seem to prefer the act of selectively citing research, only to rely on assumptions and personal anecdotes to form the base of their one-size-fits-all claims.

There’s also a word that typically accompanies the word believe; and it is convincing. Many use the argument that so-and-so’s argument is convincing, therefore it must be correct. Sorry, that is the polar opposite of critical thinking.

With adequate writing skills, a feel for effective marketing ploys, and a bit of zeal, anyone can make their argument convincing. Many claims appear convincing, seem to make sense, and have some cherry-picked evidence to hide behind, yet upon further examination are clearly false.

Don’t blindly follow anyone’s claims because they’re convincing or believable.

Answer your own questions and be your own guinea pig. You don’t need anyone else to tell you what to eat or how to exercise or live. Find what works best for you and stick to it. However, you also must understand the difference between something working for you and that something being scientifically proven to be effective. Basically, don’t tout your experience as evidence, but use it as a guide in your own life.

I realize I’m never gonna to get a six figure book deal for championing the above advice, but I don’t care. It’s the only advice you need.

*Credit goes to Elliott Hulse for the title of this post, as it is based on his “You’ve Got Strength Questions?” Youtube videos.


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Comments

  1. verim says

    Funny and well writen, thanks. But most people enjoy “secrets”, diets, and guru advices without even thinking that maybe it is not for them 🙁 If you say some simple common sense advice, like you just wrote, they do not believe.

    • Jake Johnson says

      Hey Verim,

      I appreciate the kind words, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You’re absolutely spot-on. We have a tendency to search for that “next big thing” and to latch onto what everyone else is doing rather than concentrating on ourselves and the steps we need to take to better our own situations.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Jake

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