So the new year is upon us, and with it comes renewed enthusiasm towards living a healthier lifestyle. First off, let’s remember that if you’re reading this it is because you are already apart of the CrossFit Stealth community. That means you are already committed to training regularly towards a healthier life! But as the saying goes, you can’t out train a bad diet. So today I’d like to take a few moments to review some of the myths, truths, and practical applications of common health and weight loss diets.
What is it?
Macro, or macronutrient counting, is the practice of weighing and measuring your food to keep track of exactly how much carbohydrate, fat, and protein you’re consuming each day.
Some research has shown that just by tracking what you eat, you are usually inclined to eat less and eat better, improving your health. Keeping track/calculating all your macros every day can also be time consuming and restrictive (can you imagine trying to calculate the macros every time you go out for dinner?!). It usually requires either extra time geared towards meal prepping or purchasing pre-made meals from services like KBK.
What is it?
The ketogenic or “Keto” diet is a high fat, very low carb, and low to moderate protein diet. This causes the body to get better at burning fat for energy and producing ketones for the brain to use for fuel.
There is a great deal of research showing some benefits of this diet for various health conditions but other than that it’s a VERY restrictive way of eating. Some higher level athletes have been promoting it, but the only athletes who actually benefit from this sort of diet are ultra-endurance runners that don’t need to work at high intensities. When participating in intense training like Crossfit, you need carbohydrates in order to perform.
What is it?
The “low-fat” diet is based on restricting fat intake above all else. This diet is what many people growing up in the 60s, 70s and 80s might be accustomed to.
The idea that foods like eggs and butter are bad while “low fat” snacks are inherently healthy are products of flawed research. These dietary habits generally lead to an over-consumption of carbohydrates, leading to an opposite effect on health.
No, just…. No
Dietary changes need to be implemented with a goal of long-term success. The slower your body composition changes, the more likely the changes will stay. No diet is perfect for everyone so be sure to try out different changes in your diet to see what works best for you. Personally, I find it beneficial to spend a few weeks to a month following the macro tracking diet to teach yourself about proper portion sizes and how to build balanced meals so that even when you’re not tracking, you have an idea of what to eat and how much but also have the freedom to treat yourself with typically “less than healthy” snacks. In general, I find a focus on adequate protein intake while balancing out the rest of your calories with carbs and fats is the smartest overall plan. I love talking about nutrition so please ask me any questions you have and for more on protein intake see my previous post here: https://www.crossfitstealth.fit/single-post/2018/08/02/Protein-The-Real-Superfood