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How to lose fat, get and stay lean 365 days in a year : Diet Truths and Myths

Posted by nikh

How to lose fat, get and stay lean 365 days in a year : Diet Truths and Myths


I have taken quite a bit of time to write, in this blog and in my book, everything I learned about getting fit and lean. My own experience was a lifelong journey of missteps. I wished we had the internet when I was in the university, and had good advisers on this topic. Truth is, that much of the facts we know now about staying lean and getting really fit has only come to light over the last decade or so. For many of us who are now in our 40s and above, we can be happy that we can still get ourselves in really good shape… simply by gaining the right knowledge on the topic. The truth!

Some Diet Myths to Forget

Before we get to the truth, we should once and for all, FORGET these types of rules you find in many diet blogs we find today:

Myth 1 : diet soda makes you fat and splenda will kill you Truth is, that artificial sweeteners / splenda, due to it’s extreme sweetness, can only be added in minute quantities in products. These products have been rigorously toxicity tested. Even though many of us aren’t fans of artificial food chemicals, we also know that sometimes artificial sweetener can help us control intake of sugar. Unlike artificial sweeteners, sugar, which seems to be a “natural product” is actually a poison. Numerous studies over decades have shown that sugar makes us fat, diabetic, causes liver failure, aging and cardiovascular disease. Read also: The Skinny on Obesity – Videos by Dr Lustig explains how to lose weight, get lean and get healthy

Myth 2:  red meat / meat in general is bad for you Red meat is a natural human diet. We were evolved to eat anything ( not poisonous/venomous) that moves, and red meat is in that category.  In fact, if you were in the wild and only had animals to eat, you’d likely have less risk of poisoning, and most complete nutrition eating red meat. Propagators of veganism do us injustice when the mix ideology with biology. They put people on the wrong track by leading people to eliminate a perfectly healthy source of food. When we restrict ourselves from such food, we are in danger of eating the other things, like processed carbs, in its place. Meats provide nutrients for our body. Most human beings have a natural ability to regulate our intake, and not over-eat this kind of animal protein. There is no need to create aversion towards consuming meat. Responsible animal lovers who eat meat buy produce from good quality farms that take care of their livestock.

Myth 3:  dietary fat makes you fat This is the worst myth ever.  We have become a society of fat-phobes to our detriment. This myth is so vile, that it misleads us into avoiding good, essential nutrients like essential fatty acids, and fat soluble vitamins, and replacing them with “fillers”. These fillers are fat substitutes used in processed “low-fat” product. The substance used to substitute fat in processed foods are refined carbohydrates (or modified starches). When we eat nutrition empty refined carbs and are deficient in nutrient rich fats, in the long run we progress from getting fat, then weak, then sick.

Myth 4: you shouldn’t eat carbs after 6pm and you shouldn’t eat carbs at all Truth is that you should eat carbs,  but you SHOULD NOT eat any REFINED carbs.  Eat as much carbs as you need– and  at any time of the day — provided that it’s ONLY from whole vegetables, some fruit, nuts and seeds. Don’t know the difference? This myth is not as severe as the previous one. However the misunderstanding leads to extreme dieting, and/or cause us to be discouraged from being aware of our diet.

Myth 5:  “you shouldn’t eat” , or “you should eat fewer calories” or “or you should go on a low-calorie diet”

Well the truth is, if you restrict your calorie intake, you will eventually get fat. What’s the biochemical / physiological explanation for this? When you put yourself on a calorie-deficient diet, your body senses  a lack in energy. The brain senses this stress and all the cells in the body are given  a message to do nothing but conserve energy. Conserving energy is a necessary survival instinct. Our biological survival mechanism involves slowing down the metabolism, reducing the regeneration and rejuvenation process. This leads to weakness, fatigue, aging and fat accumulation. So what is the truth? Eat when you need to eat! Think quality of food and forget counting calories.

Myth 6: “you shouldn’t eat food containing cholesterol” or “eggs is bad” or “animal fats is bad” or “saturated fats are bad” Naturally occurring, unprocessed fats  are mostly good. Only trans fat and poly-unsaturated cooking fat is bad.  Foods like egg yolks, seafood, and meats containing cholesterol are nutritious food. Cholesterol in diet is a nutrient. All cells in the body is built on cholesterol. The myth that eating cholesterol causes cardiovascular heart disease or CVD is a mistake, because the cholesterol that clogs up arteries is actually the result of over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol.

These myths may seem harmless, but they actually deviate from the truth, they distract us from what is really getting lean.

Once again I am taking inspiration from my favorite online fitness blogger, Jeff Cavalier:

What You Need to Do Consistently to Stay Lean Forever

Arm yourself with relevant knowledge. Learn as much as you can about fitness and health. Observe the habits of people who are successful at staying lean and fit, especially those who are consistently fit. You may realize that most of them are conscious of what they eat. There is a saying that diet has 80% importance in staying lean, healthy, young and fit. Exercise and everything else share 20% importance. Is that is myth? NO. That is an understatement of the truth. I feel that diet affects the body 100%! Exercise to stay lean? There are lots of exercise ideas on this blog, and on Jeff’s youtube channel. Take inspiration from them and learn to enjoy moving your body. Exercise keeps you young, mobile and fit, but there is a limit: you cannot out-exercise a bad diet! Hence, work on getting your diet right first. How do we do that?… Read! There is a lot of material that can be found on this blog, and in the following books. Reading takes time, but it can save your life.

Here are some good diet books with reliable information:
For lighter read: