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Your diet has almost nothing to do with the way you look.

THE FOOD FALLACY Get ready for a shock... Your diet has almost nothing to do with the way you look. Yes, it's true. Trying to alter your appearance through diet is the most misinterpreted and misguided procedure toward obtaining a better body. Naturally, I'm not advocating that a meal plan of donuts and potato chips is just as good as any other. But you don't really need another book to tell you to eat wholesome foods, do you? The simplest dismissal of the overestimation of food would be to look at men in prison who lift weights. Some of them are ripped! Yet, they eat slop. How can that be? Genetics, genetics, genetics. Read this next line carefully: "A bulldog doesn't get to look like a greyhound by eating like one." Remember that. Keep in mind, the following information is geared toward bodybuilders interested in altering their bodyshape, not the average housewife who thinks fat-free ice cream is a healthy treat. In all fairness, there are a lot of people who just don't know where to start when it comes to managing their food intake. If you're one of them or know someone who is, there are plenty of good books available (with varying themes) for getting on track with sensible eating, but for those of you who are advanced bodybuilders and have tried dozens of "muscle building/fat burning" diets to no avail, read on. I could never understand why every diet I ever tried failed to make a lick of difference in how much muscle I had. Now I know why. It can be summed up best by something Jack LaLanne said to me; "You train a champion race horse by working it -- not feeding it well." Over the course of the years, I've written very few articles on nutrition, due mainly to the fact that I believe nutrition to be the most overcomplicated aspect of building a better body. If diet is responsible for 50% of one's bodybuilding results, then people who ate a pristine diet and didn't work out would have good bodies, and that just isn't so. There's a weird sense of martyrdom among hardcore bodybuilders. They sincerely think that if they suffer enough they'll be rewarded, and that suffering so often comes in the maniacal adherence to a strict diet. It's also a way of getting attention (Look at me! I'm a fanatic! Look at me!) I have to admit, I was once one of those "experts" who obsessed about ratios and glycemic indexes and insulin sensitivity and food combinations and so on. Oh, how I loved to impose my knowledge onto others. But I'm all grown up now, and I've 47 learned to accept and humbly admit that the farty old dietician who taught home economics in grade school was correct all along. When it comes to losing weight... it's calories that count. You cannot lose weight until you are in a calorie deficit -- no ifs, ands, buts, maybe's or wait a minutes. There is no other way. It can't be done. It is impossible. What about losing fat and not muscle? Hate to tell you this, but that too is genetically determined. We're all born with a certain amount of muscle cells and a certain amount of fat cells. (There is a theory that the ratio can be altered slightly during adolescence but once bone growth is complete, it's over) You will only be able to grow so much muscle (technically "enlarge" existing muscle fibers) and lose so much fat (or more accurately, keep the fat cells only so small) throughout your life. Until scientists can find a way to re-code DNA, that's the way it will be. I know people that eat textbook diets and still have a roll around the middle. Genetics my friends. Genetics and youth. They have the last word -- every time. What about food itself? What's with this fanaticism that's become so fashionable when it comes to what we eat? It's gotten to the point in the United States where we've developed a collective neurosis for "eating right." We're constantly told to avoid cholesterol, yet cholesterol levels are, once again, determined by genetics. Besides, it's been shown that most people who die from heart attacks have cholesterol levels within the "acceptable" range. They are however, overweight. That's the real problem. For bodybuilders, cholesterol is good! It's necessary for every living cell (such as muscle cells) and hormones, including out favorite, testosterone. So why aren't we eating like men??? Instead, this nation is obsessed with sissy food, and it isn't any healthier than "normal" food. One of the most popular fake "heath foods" is juice. Nowhere in nature does it exist. Fruit is meant to be a whole food and when its juice is extracted, what you wind up with is essentially a processed product. (There's nothing more ironic than some imperious health honcho babble on about how he never eats processed food while he's drinking a glass of juice.) The sugar in fruit is fructose which is used as a sweetener in many health foods, yet fructose is arguably worse than simple table sugar. (Sucrose) Fructose has been shown to increase triglycerides. (The real culprit in heart disease.) You want the Beta Carotene found in a carrot? Eat a carrot. Drinking juice isn't very different than taking a beta carotene tablet with a glass of soda. Here's some more stuff masquerading as "healthy." Yogurt: Despite the dubious benefits, most of yogurt's cultures are deactivated once they're pasteurized and placed on the supermarket shelves. What you wind up with is an expensive glass of sour milk with six teaspoons of sugar. Granola: Cheerios with fractionated palm oil. Lettuce: Most lettuce is nothing more than a small amount of fiber and water. Iceberg lettuce contains almost no fiber. It isn't bad for you. It's just an overstatement to claim it's so good for you. Pasta: Can somebody please explain the difference between pasta and white bread? 48 Wheat Grass: This stuff tastes exactly like it sounds. Food for Specific Blood Types: Pure nonsense. Margarine: Comparable to a salted candlestick. Sea Salt. Salt is salt. Soy Milk: Soy is not a mammal. It doesn't provide milk. I don't even know what this stuff is. Extracted oil from soybeans mixed with water and guar gum? Blech! Wheat Bread: Unless the package says "100% Whole Wheat", it's usually just white flour bread with some caramel coloring. Bee Pollen: Granulated honey. Royal Jelly: Liquid sugar. Tofu: Soy in its raw state contains phyto-estrogens which impart estrogenic effects on the body -- great if you're a menopausal women, but disastrous to the bodybuilder. Spirulina: This is an algae that has a high protein content. But it's like, algae. Malto-Dextrin: This is a common ingredient used in MRP's as a sweetener. It's essentially sugar, in that's it's 4 empty calories per gram but because it's less sweet than sucrose, you need more of it to obtain a similar level of sweetness. Sushi: A viral infection waiting to happen. All raw meat, especially fish, contains parasites and although the digestive system can usually fight them off, sometimes it loses. And when it does, it loses big time. Botulism, tape worms, hepatitis, various infections and even liver failure are possible from this form of food poisoning. Steak can be slightly rare in the center because the germs congregate mostly on the outside, which is cooked. Hamburger, on the other hand, is chopped and therefore exposed to bacteria and should be cooked thoroughly. Eating uncooked fish is playing Russian Roulette with your health. Rice Cakes: How rice got a reputation as some sort of miracle food, I'll never know. It's a simple starch with little nutritional value. Brown rice is just plain rice with the fiber intact. It contains no more nutrition than white rice. Rice cakes are the worst. They turn to sugar moments after they hit the stomach. Low Fat Anything. Just say no. It's amazing that there have been so many diet plans. There aren't thousands of macronutrients. There aren't hundreds. There's only three --protein, carbohydrates and fats. We need all of them. How tough is that to figure out? This is a good time for a word on "timing and nutrient partitioning." Baloney. That's the word. 49 If you were to plan every meal according to these absurd recommendations it's doubtful you'll look any different than if you simply ate whenever you wanted. Do you seriously think otherwise? Besides, the body doesn't know if you're on the stationary bike or if you're walking home, so when does the demand for nutrients "after a workout" begin? You have nutrients in your system for days after ingestion. Thinking you're feeding your muscle "faster" by eating immediately after a workout is, in the least, "stretching it". Besides, if it matters, hunger releases growth hormone. (Now watch, some jackass will write an article about how raising GH postworkout is the best thing to do and everyone will follow suit.) Time for that bottom line again. Eat when you're hungry -- don't, if you're not. And if you happen to eat a cookie -- enjoy it. 

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