There is always an argument taking place online. Everyone has an opinion and they don’t have any qualms about sharing and defending it strongly. While it’s great to strongly believe in things, it’s important to realize that you could also be completely wrong. Belief and fact are not the same thing.
But… this is the nature of the internet. It’s hard to find facts about some things. One argument I keep seeing defended from multiple points of view is that of nutrition, the role of carbohydrate, and the "If It Fits Your Macros" vs "Quality Matters" arguments.
Both sides usually provide little more than personal observations as support. I hear things like “a calorie is a calorie” or “a carb is a carb.” There is some truth to this but it’s not the entire truth. The truth is that nutrition is complicated. It’s not simple, it’s not something that can be discussed with over generalizations. The science behind this stuff is always growing. Science takes time. Many studies used to argue one side or another are just snapshots of a moment in time, they are not longitudinal studies that provide us with trend lines. It takes years to follow the effects of nutrition plans, and getting people to follow them exactly is next to impossible. Gradually we’re seeing the results of studies that provide us data we can use to make educated recommendations.
When it comes to things like this I tend to gather my knowledge from long form material rather than a 300 word blog post. These ideas are too complicated and nuanced to be fully explored and expressed in a short article. We need to look at a collection of work or a book, something where we can get a more exhaustive view of the subject.
Over the past few years there have been some interesting books published that go against the main stream understanding the American low-fat diet. While I could summarize there points here it wouldn’t give you a full understanding. So when people ask me nutrition related questions I point them to those doing the research, those on the front lines of the science.
My Nutrition Reading List
1. Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
If you’re not familiar with Taubes you should be. He’s a great journalist that has done some interesting research into different cultures and our western obesity epidemic.
2. Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter
A world renowned neurologist Perlmutter talks about the effects of grain on our brains, causing dementia, ADHD, chronic headaches, depression and more. This goes way beyond the argument about needing carbs to get big and strong. This is about overall health, longevity and quality of life.
3. Fat Chance by Dr. Robert H. Lustig
Dr. Lustig is on the front lines of treating obesity and metabolic syndrome. His research and thoughts on sugar are life changing and worth a read. He has also give a few talks of which the videos are available on youtube. I’ll be posting about them soon.
No Single Answer
Depending on your goals my recommendations on what you should eat will be different. Losing weight, gaining weight, endurance sports, strength sports, performance, or health. Depending on how your body deals with different kinds of foods I might recommend something different than I would for another person with the same goals.
If you’re really trying to reach your goals, then you need to take a detailed look at your situation and have a bespoke nutrition plan written for you. There is no one size fits all solution.
Now go live better.