In this article you will learn what the top 10 bodybuilding dieting myths are and how falling for one of these can sabbotage your dieting and training success.
1. You have to starve yourself to see results.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Doing this only leads to muscle loss, which kills your body shape and cripples your metabolism.
2. Carbs are bad and need to be eliminated.
The wrong types of carbs need to be eliminated like sugars, pastries, fruit juices, etc. The body works best on a balanced diet that consists roughly of 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% good fats. Please refer to my article on Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics.
3. Too much protein can damage your kidneys.
There is no study that has been performed that has reached this conclusion. However, we do know that on people with kidney problems, too much protein is contraindicated. Otherwise, in healthy humans, a medium to high protein diet (not more than 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight) is not damaging to the kidneys. Do ensure that sufficient water is consumed in order to help the kidneys process the protein.
4. The best way to lose weight is to eat once or twice a day.
Refer to item #1. In addition, eating this little will cause sugar highs and lows which result in low energy levels and lethargy.
5. Eliminating all fats is necessary to lose weight.
Horrible advice. The body needs essential fatty acids like the Omega 3’s in order to function. The body cannot produce these so we need to consume them. Therefore, a tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day or a serving of salmon will cover this need for most women while a couple of tablespoons will cover the need for most males.
6. High carb/low fat diets produce the best results.
Too many carbs are a problem (unless you are an endurance athlete such as a marathon runner or a tri-athlete), as carbs are fuel that if not used gets stored as body fat. As far as the low fat part of the equation, if 20% of your calories do not come from fat, it will be hard for you to lose body fat.
7. A protein shake based diet is the best way to lose fat.
Wrong again. Protein shakes are a useful tool to allow for the consumption of a meal when you are on the go. On a diet that requires five to six meals, you can have two to three protein shakes respectively at the most. Do not let anyone fool you into thinking that a protein product is better than any real food meal as this is never the case. Bodybuilders emphasize the intake of real food for faster results.
8. Too much water makes you gain water weight.
The opposite is true. The more water you drink, the more you will eliminate, thus making water retention a non-issue. Make sure you drink your bodyweight in pounds times 0.66. This gives you the approximate amount in ounces of water that you need to consume per day.
9. On low carb diets you can eat all you want and still lose weight.
Not a true statement. While you can consume slightly more calories on a low carb diet without putting on additional weight, due to the thermogenic (increase in body heat) effect of protein, there is still a limit to the amount of calories that you can take in. Once you go over that, you will store fat.
10. Low carb diets allow you to lose body fat faster than medium carb diets.
Recent long-term studies indicate this is not the case. On the long term both diets work equally well. However, from personal experience as well as from that of my clients, a low carb diet is a hard diet to stay on, and when most subjects get off from it, they gain all of the weight back and then some. Follow a 40% carb, 40% protein, 20% fats program that you can live with and you will achieve lasting results.