Shut up. So I happened upon this link today in a fashion that many other people likely happened upon it.
It was a featured little blurb on the MSN homepage- and like many other people in the world – I was intrigued at the promise of tips to reduce belly fat.
However, I was intrigued for a different set of reasons. In a semi-masochistic fashion – I read these things ultimately to see how pissed off it will make me. Yeah I get it. I’m a sick person, and I need help.
I get upset by these because 9 times out of 10 something titled in this fashion WOULD NOT be penned by a RD. This case is no exception – the “sources” are a group fitness manager and a “master trainer”.
The main issue I find these (like so many others) problematic, is because they are
1) Poorly researched
2) written by people who are not qualified to give nutrition advice
3) they involve taking small morsels of fact, and whipping them into an over-sensationalized frenzy- of fact and fiction
4) Their advice is vague
By # 4 I mean you have to understand that when a lot of people read that dark chocolate contains zinc and zinc increases leptin (etc). People read that and say “great, dark chocolate is my new free food”. No. And guess what- protein like beef, chicken, oysters, and lobster are AWESOME sources of zinc. Not chocolate.
Or how about the point to load up on greens. That is fantastic advice, but again vague. If you try to eat just a lightly dressed spinach salad for lunch- good luck curbing carb craving in the afternoon. Green vegetables are wonderful and amazing – but should be eaten as a part of a balanced meal with lean protein, and some healthy carbohydrate.
Nix that before bed snack? Fantastic advice. Until you’re hungry before bed. Here is some real life advice- you will sometimes be hungry before bed. The best way to prevent late snacking is a balanced dinner that contains plenty of veggies, lean protein, and some healthy carb. If you are prone to late night snacking have a light protein/carb combo snack or veggie/protein snack about 2 hours after dinner (greek yogurt, carrots and hummus, celery and almond butter).
Your body does not typically use fat as a fuel source, it uses glucose or glycogen (stored glucose) – which come from carbs. THIS DOES NOT MEAN EAT MORE CARBS. But your body does not magically burn fat. And if you’re using fat as your body’s fuel source it means you’re sick, not healthy.
So here is some sound advice:
1) Weight loss happens over time. However long it took to gain the amount you want to lose- should help give you a realistic window.
2) YOU CANNOT BURN FAT…or zap it, zip it, or fry it. You can shrink it, and build muscle, and make healthy food choices to lose weight and tone up. And let me repeat myself- fat is NOT a fuel source.
3) In terms of carbs, fat, and protein they all provide certain things for our body- carbs energy, protein-repair and growth, fat is needed for absorption of certain vitamins, and plays a role in many energy producing reactions in our body. Restrict any of these too much and you will throw yourself out of balance in terms of your metabolism or otherwise (iron, or vitamin/mineral deficiency).
Remember you wouldn’t take legal advice from me, (or you shouldn’t), becuase I’m not a lawyer. So don’t take your nutrition advice from just anyone. I do harp on this point a lot because I went to school for 5 1/2 years for nutrition and wellness. Lawyers go to school for an additional 3 years to learn law, doctors go to school for at least an additional 4-6 years to learn medicine. So your best source of nutrition advice would be from someone who specializes in that area: A Dietitian.