This is the continuation from the IIFYM vs Clean Eating For Weight Loss post of a couple days ago.
As promised, in this entry I’ll run through a couple of the reasons braniacs on the internet dispute the efficacy of the IIFYM or Flexible Dieting strategy, and I’ll show that all you need is a shred of common sense to see the absence of logic in their… logic.
Now, as I’ve said in the past, I’ve got not problem with people adopting whatever diet they want (so long as it is healthy enough), and no problem with people recommending whatever diet they want so long as the reasons they give as to why people should follow that approach are true and accurate. So, for example the concept of the so called “paleo” diet does not stand up to scrutiny in either the claims that “this is what our primitive ancestor ate” (cos it isn’t) or the ludicrous implication that no one ever lost weight or was normal size through any other method other than paleo style dieting, because all these other foods spell instant doom.
That’s a load of nonsense, but if people where to say something like “here’s a diet that’s built on more nutritious, natural foods that will allow you to eat more, feel full, and get an appropriate balance of macro and micronutrients to meet your goal” then fine. And if people read about it and go “you know what, I can do that… I mostly eat all those foods anyway”, then good. It is only when unscrupulous marketers LIE to people who already have a poor relationship with food, and already doubt their ability to be successful in weight loss that this becomes a major problem.
So with that being said, on to the top 3 lies that lying liars use to make people think this is all a really complicated and difficult thing to get right, and only they have the answers. Inspired mostly by Vince DelMonte’s facebook page. What a guy he is. Wow.
1. Calories In Calories Out is a flawed model.
This is the usual first claim that comes up, that bodyweight is NOT determined by overall calorie intake. Now to back this up, you’ll usually be given an extreme example of what happens when people excessively restrict their intake of calories. Well… I’ve written a million words on the subject already. It’s true that when you over restrict, survival mechanisms kick in producing a hormonal response that allows the body to conserve and store energy to maintain a weight that is NOT proportionate to calorie intake.
What’s our system called again though? It’s If It FITS Your Macros, not “if you restrict to a completely inappropriate amount”.
2. You get fat when you eat carbs, because carbs drive insulin and insulin drives fat storage. Total calories is irrelevant.
This line of nonsense was made up by Gary Taubes who for the record is not a nutritionist, dietician, trainer or athlete. In the body building world it is pushed by morons like Vince DelMonte amongst others. Now… you can ask these guys to explain how this works and they’ll tell you “because excess carbs are stored as fat, it’s not due to surplus calories”. Now… correct me if I’m wrong but don’t “excess” and “surplus” mean the same thing? And if you dialled in a plan based on appropriate total calories and an appropriate amount of those calories coming from carbohydrates, would there actually be ANY surplus to be stored as fat?
This is the sort of junk science that has otherwise intelligent people restricting FRUIT of all things because they’re scared the fructose will make them fat via an insulin spike. It is MADNESS.
3. Total calories and over eating is not the issue, it is choices of foods. If you eat grains you get fat.
Hell, I just read that if you eat meat from a cow that has eaten grains in the last 3 months of it’s life, you’re screwed too. Where do these idiots come up with this stuff? This “caveman diet” nonsense has already been debunked by enough archaeologists, anthropologists and historians a dozen times. We’ve been eating grains and bread for tens of thousands of years. This notion that grains are to blame for the obesity epidemic as if no one ever ate them before the 1980s is completely ridiculous.
So… it goes on and on and depending on who’s nonsense you are reading you need to be concerned with everything from inflammation, to glycemic index, micronutrient content, how those micronutrients effect uptake of other micronutrients, lord knows what else. It’s all absolute garbage, and for an average person to be at all concerned with these things is actually classified as an eating disorder, known as orthorexia nervosa.
Throughout history there have been countless millions of people who were not overweight or obese despite never giving a thought to any of this. They simply ate “about the right amount” most of the time. Still today, there are countless people who have been overweight or obese and have gotten into shape just by consuming an appropriate amount more often than not.
Now, whether you can win a body building contest on a Flexible Dieting plan is for other people to argue about, but I can tell you without any doubt that you CAN use this approach in conjunction with a good training plan, and get into better shape than 90% of the human population.