Image by: NickNguyen
By John Barban
Recently I was having a discussion with someone about weight loss, but the conversation quickly turned into nutritionism speak and the merits of various functional foods for ‘health’ and ‘metabolic’ effects. The person I was talking to kept asking about various ‘phytonutrients’ and the importance of items like blueberries for their ‘antioxidant’ effect and other items that have similar health claims associated with them.
This was becoming a somewhat difficult conversation for me to follow because I couldn’t understand what this person was really after. At first we were discussing weight loss and how much weight they could realistically lose over the next 6 weeks or so. Then the conversation ended up on things like phytonutrients, antioxidants, phytosterols, fiber, the glycemic index and on and on.
It became clear to me that they really had no clue where to even start as far as losing weight and tracking how the hell they were even going to go about doing it. Withing 10 mins of chatting both of our heads were spinning.
I had to stop them and refocus them on the topic at hand, which was supposed to be weight loss.
It Comes Down a Caloric Reduction
This story is typical of the type of questions and conversations I end up in with people who want to lose weight but don’t really know what is the driving force behind it (a caloric reduction).
Of course there are limitless ways you can choose to eat, and from a purely weight loss stand point I think it makes little difference. Many of our competitors in the Adonis and Venus contests have lost a great deal of weight doing all manner of diets (low carb, high carb, low and high protein, and all fat levels). There was no consistency to the type of diet, the only consistent thing across the board was a consistent caloric reduction.
Maybe…Maybe at the lower bodyfat levels (sub 10%) it might help to limit certain food choices that contain sugar and saturated fats to help the process. But this might be more of a water retention thing than a true fat burning thing. This isn’t to suggest that reducing the water you carry is irrelevant because it certainly matters. Being bloated with water could easily be the difference between a visible 6-pack or a smooth midsection. So even once the fat is low enough there is still an effect your food choices can have on your look…this is why bodybuilders are so meticulous about their diet and preparation in the final 4-5 days before a show.
For the most part almost everyone can get to a visible 6-pack without really worrying about the exact food choices as long as the total calories are less than you’re burning.
Getting a handle on your calories is the first and biggest hurdle…once you’ve got this taken care of then and only then can you start worrying about what specific foods to eat for their claimed benefit.
[Ed. Note: John Barban is a former Strength & Conditioning coach and author of the Adonis Index workout for men, the Venus Index Workout or women, and the Anything Goes Diet weight loss program. He has also spent 10 years developing and consulting in the sports supplement industry bringing dozens of muscle building a fat loss supplements to market. With the Adonis Index, John has enabled men to generate instant attraction from women by obtaining the perfect body measurements. To learn more about the Adonis Effect click here now.]