Can You Really Lose Fat and Gain Muscle Through Food?
Hey guys, thanks for tuning in again, means a lot!
I’ve tried to keep this post as short and simple as possible, but it’s a pretty complex topic, and I’m excited about sharing it. For the sake of simplicity and to aid a core understanding, I’ve kept it basic.
I want to share some crucial knowledge that not a lot of people seem to know. It seems that either a lot of us lost this information or we’ve been made to forget. What does food actually do? Why are we told to eat meat, why are we told to eat rice?
I feel a bit special sharing this with you, but truth be told, there are people that know this stuff already. They’re called bodybuilders.
Bodybuilders are some of the few people that truly go out of their way to find out how food affects they’re bodies as they have understood its importance in building the body.
When I first started bodybuilding as a skinny kid, it makes me laugh now how little I prioritised food. I trained and trained but made slow progress. After university I learnt you have to eat a lot so I ate a lot of the wrong things (the guys at the office used to hate me as I ate most of the biscuits as soon as they were put out). And I got fat!
At the time I didn’t think I was fat though I thought I was muscular, but looking back now….
Long story short, I learnt the hard way that to lose fat and gain muscle you have to understand what food does. This allows you to then eat the foods that will help you achieve your goals. Let’s take a look!
What we eat or drink can be broken down into four major components:
Together with providing the body with energy that is measured via calories and kilojoules, they also have secondary functions. It is for these secondary functions that we may choose meat over rice and vice versa.
Carbs are what our body uses as its main source of fuel. The body breaks down carbs and turns it into glucose and glycogen to use as fuel. Carbs usually have 4 calories per gram.
Carbs that aren’t used by the body to refill glucose and glycogen stores are stored by the body in fat cells for later use.
Carbs are usually segmented into two categories:
- Low GI;
- High GI.
I’ll go into detail in a future post but GI or glycemic index is a scale of how fast a carb gets digested. Carbs with a lower GI take longer to be digested and released into the bloodstream. Examples include sweat potato and grain foods made with the whole grain like brown rice and oats.
Carbs with a higher GI are easier to digest and are released into the bloodstream faster. Examples include white potato, and processed grains like white rice and white bread.
People who are very active such as labourers, athletes and children need larger intakes of carbs than the normal sedentary person.
Fats are a high calorie source of energy and provide 9 calories per gram. They also play a crucial, almost ignored role of regulating hormone levels. Our bodies store our hormones in fat.
Eating fat actually helps our bodies maintain a proper hormonal balance, which in turn helps us build muscle whilst losing fat!
Fats also take a while to digest and slow down the digestion of anything else they are eaten with.
The reason fats get a bad name is because they are energy dense and provide a high number of calories per gram.
Therefore it is not necessary to eat fats in as high quantities as carbs or proteins. But they should definitely not be left out!
All those no fat diets you hear about are bullshit. Our bodies need fats to function properly.
Fats come in two types, and for simplicity let’s call them good fats and bad fats. Good fats do the things I mentioned above and include foods like avocado, nuts, olive oil, peanut butter, coconut butter, fish oil and flaxseed oil.
Bad fats do the opposite and make your body store fat. These include trans-fats, fried foods, processed food and so on.
Proteins are made up of amino acids that the body uses to repair itself. Protein is also a great source of energy providing 4 calories per gram.
Protein is the building block of the body and is essential to repair tissue and muscular damage done through exercise and general living.
Protein requires a large amount of energy to be broken down and as such is digested and absorbed slowly and keeps you feeling full for longer.
People who weight-lift and exercise lots are actually causing muscular damage and need higher amounts of protein for recovery. Otherwise your body will scavenge amino acids from its stores to repair the damage as best it can with limited materials.
Protein is found in almost anything but protein rich foods include meat, spinach, milk, cottage cheese, eggs and tofu.
I’ll be honest with you. Alcohol is pretty useless. It actually cause catabolism and forces the body’s cells to break down. Red wine is ok as it provides you with resveratrol but it still has alcohol.
Look at your pure alcoholics. Look how skinny they are! I’ll probably make a detailed topic about alcohol in the future as it seems to dominate a lot of our cultures.
So to recap, carbs are for energy, fats to regulate hormones, proteins for repair, and alcohol is useless unless you want to catabolise your body.
What you’ll find is that your body knows what type of energy it needs and will actually crave it based on your activities.
If you’re doing lots of cardio you will crave sweets and carbs. If you’re doing lots of strength work you’ll crave protein. And if your studying lots or are stressed you will crave fats for brain function and to regulate hormones.
I’ve gone on for a bit longer than I intended, but this stuff is important. Knowing what your fats, carbs, and proteins do is a crucial step in understanding how to use food to achieve your goals, be it lose fat, gain muscle, feel good, whatever.
What are your thoughts on this? Please let me know in the comments.