Today's Daily Quota comes from a reader.
This week we've discussed the very tip of the iceberg that is health and diet academia.
Sometimes the best advice isn't found in medical journals, but rather gained from your own experience, or that of others.
In the end, different regimes, diets and supplements work different on everyone - it's about trial, error, patience and dedication. Stephanos recounts his experience with training, dieting and supplements over the past four years. Here's his story;
Before I rant about health, you should ask yourself; what are the writer's credentials? (Sobriety is sufficient here - Editor). Me personally, I am studying to be a doctor at university so I have done a lot of research on the actual medical journals behind the science of health; I have trained at the gym for 4 years so I can tell you what worked and didn’t work for me; and most of all I have personally put on and lost weight in the form of fat and muscle - so I have actually tested and tried what I will discuss, rather than just be an armchair critic.
Just briefly, as of 2007 I had not touched the gym. I was 21 then, and at 2009 I was my first year in but I always ate junk food, by 2010 I cleaned up my act and spent the next two years putting on lean muscle mass.
Most common things you hear about diet are false. Fats saturated or unsaturated are NOT bad for you. The only fats you should concern yourself with are trans-fats (which are artificially made to help increase shelf life of the oil). The misconception about saturated fats increasing your cholesterol was spawned in some early studies where the subjects tested were indeed eating high fats, but also high refined carbohydrates - so it's not scientifically valid to claim one variable (saturated fats) is the cause when there are multiple variables could be causing the high cholesterol (saturated fats, refined carbs, lifestyle etc).
Refined carbohydrates, keep well away from. This includes your white rice/bread/sugar/flour. Also, a lot of processed foods falls under the 'refined carbohydrates' umbrella like canned fruit and chocolate bars.
Substitute them for whole grains or consider brown/jasmine rice, brown bread, brown sugar and stevia for sweetener.
I personally commenced a ketogenic diet at the end of 2009. It is similar to the Atkins diet, but 5 out of the 7 days in a week is atkins diet, the other 2 out of 7 days I can eat carbohydrates.
In that 3 months I lost only 10 kg - but what was significant was that my waist shrank dramatically from 36” to 28”. The reason why only 10kg was lost but waist shrunk so much is because I was also weight training, so muscle was being added on, but a great indicator of fat loss is waist circumference as that’s where fat rather than muscle tends to accumulate.
Don’t focus too much on your weight. Remember your body is ~70% water. I did a blood test before and after this diet for curiosity's sake and my cholesterol actually dropped to 4.5, my good cholesterol went up and bad cholesterol went down - even though I was eating plenty of saturated fats in this diet but no refined carbohydrates even in those 2 days I was allowed to eat carbs. While one person's results with a diet doesn’t mean it is a proven fact, it does verify what new studies have shown about the common misconceptions behind saturated fats.
I can safely tell you to stay away from every single gym supplement out there except protein powders (and even then I’d be picky) and creatine (again, be picky about what type of creatine you pick). With creatine stick to monohydrate, with protein do not bother with ones that have “added aminos” or anything added, just isolate or concentrate whey is fine. Also, avoid artificial sweeteners if possible. Aminos are just a waste of money. Aminos are just the break-down of protein which your body can do just fine; it is not necessary to buy as a supplement or to be added to anything.
Pretty much every other supplement else out there is useless and does not work. The only other effective 'supplements' is anabolic steroids (testosterone) and human growth hormones. They work, but they also come with a nice avalanche of responsibility and discipline.
Steroids are not something to be taken lightly, while your body already makes testosterone increasing the levels too high can have dangerous side-effects.
Here are some sources I want you to read. Please do not read health magazines. Stick to reputable websites like university-based, or better yet, medical journals like the Harvard School of Public Health.
If you would like a more in-depth history of the fats myth, the following link is a great start.