In this article I whip up the myth that you need to "eat clean" in order to lose fat and for health, again with the help of science. Stay tuned to learn more.
- There is no real definition of clean eating
- Eating clean can be even dangerous
- What actually increases fat loss – calories in, calories out (CICO)
- This 1 friend who eats a truck …
- Context is still king
The "clean eating" trend has been prevalent in the gym community for decades and, to this day, many training parties still believe that "eating clean" is a prerequisite for losing fat and getting healthy. The idea of clean eating was probably conceived in the 1980s, when the fitness landscape began to take off, and then, over the years, different definitions of "clean" would emerge. With the fact that bodybuilders (many people are looking for) avoid certain types of food during the preparation of the meeting, it's no wonder that people began to accept it as true.
But in science, we can't establish a causal relationship just because anecdotes reveal certain patterns associated with certain variables, like the famous words of Scott C. Ratzan, Health Communication: International Perspectives,
"The plural of anecdote is not evidence" – Scott C. Ratzan
Therefore, in order to get to the root of it, we must first find out what is the main cause of fat loss and also discuss whether "dirty" food is less healthy. But before I get into it, let's first look at what is the most common term for "pure food".
The reason I wrote "clean" in parentheses is simple because it has no objective definition. Different groups of people (eg bodybuilders, paleo, vegans, etc.) all have different views on what is pure.
But in recent years, people have come up with certain criteria for qualifying food as pure, with the top two being 1) when food is minimally processed and 2) when the food is "nutrient rich". While these 2 features look promising on paper, they still remain inadequate for a number of reasons.
(a) in minimally processed foods
First, let's look at the first statement, that is, "minimally processed". Foods such as meat (for example, chicken, beef, etc.), vegetables, and fruits are minimally processed as they are eaten in their natural state. Processed foods include, for example, canned food, breakfast cereals, meat products such as sausages, ham, salami, etc. Whey protein is one of the most widely used supplements in the fitness world, but whey is actually considered as a processed food. Therein lies the irony; bodybuilders promote clean eating but consume whey to satisfy their protein needs.
An article published in 2004 by Hoffman and colleagues showed that whey protein outperformed several other sources of protein quality (1). The quality of proteins is worrying as they offer the most nutritional benefits and should therefore be consumed (1). Whey consumption (along with calorie restriction) has also been shown to improve body composition in overweight people (2,3). There is also new evidence that whey is beneficial to health (4).
If eating "clean food" is really the only way to lose fat and get healthy, why do we see these other assumptions about the alleged "dirty" food? In fact, there are numerous studies showing that meal replacements are better than whole foods for improving weight loss and / or nutrition.
b) A nutritious diet
Another criterion for "clean food" is that it is nutrient-rich or nutrient-rich. There are also some problems with this. First, there is no scientific definition of what constitutes 'nutritious food' in the 2009 paper by Miller and colleagues, and therefore the concept of 'nutrient-rich' is subjective and controversial (4). The Nutrient Rich Index (NRFI) tried to measure the nutritional value of a food, and although they were able to successfully evaluate nutrients instead of limiting certain nutrients, NRFIs are still leaning toward less fatty foods. , whole grains and low sugar sugars (6).
Therefore, a little common sense is fine; the cheesecake you are about to eat does not have the same nutrient content in the apple. You can still eat foods that are considered junk or empty calories if you get most of your calories from nutrient-dense foods. In fact, dilution of micronutrients has not been associated with increased sugar intake (14), where over 20% of total calories in sugar should have been consumed to see marginal micronutrient deficiency (15). I'm pretty sure people who are serious about their health are unlikely to reach that threshold. To quote a study on sugar intake and micronutrient dilution,
'If there is a nutrient displacement effect, the high intake of added sugar does not necessarily adversely affect the overall intake of micronutrients, and likewise less intake of added sugars does not ensure optimization of micronutrient intake.'
The CDC further complements this statement, as their second national report on biochemical indicators of the US population and diet concludes that more than 80% of Americans were not at risk of any of the vitamins (A, B-6) studied. , B-12, C, D, E and folate) (16).
In recent years, a new so-called clean eating disorder has been identified. It bears the label "Orthorexia Nervosa". It was first defined by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1997 as "the pathological fixation of the consumption of healthy food to prevent health and disease" (11). This is a problem because obsession with "healthy food" can lead to malnutrition and, in some cases, to social isolation (12). Now, I am not saying that this disorder affects everyone who likes to eat healthy, but it is certainly an interesting point to keep in mind.
If that is the case, using a more flexible diet is better than a rigid diet, as this study also showed (13), which has no women who have not been associated with BMI, body image problems, mood disorders or eating. disorder symptoms. Although these are relationships, not causal relationships, it is again very interesting to note.
Weight loss or weight gain is governed by the CICO concept, ie calories in, calories out. Changes in body composition depend on whether you have excess calories or low calorie intake. If this is the first, there will be weight gain and, last, weight loss. While the CICO model is actually a simplification of the human body's function, as many of the factors in the equation are influenced by many factors, both inbound and outbound, this does not make it wrong. This is the position of the International Sports Nutrition Association in its 2017 issue of positions. To quote it,
"Diets that focus primarily on fat loss (and weight loss after the initial loss of body water) work according to the basic mechanism of sustained caloric deficit (7)."
A study by the metabolism department * on obese people, which looked at the effects of a different carbohydrate and fat-but-low-energy diet, found that weight loss was similar to a high-carbohydrate or low-carbohydrate diet, concluding that energy consumption non-nutrient composition was a major determinant of subjects' weight loss (8). However, it should be noted that this only applies if the protein is equated between two diets. Kevin Hall in his 2017 Review Paper on the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity,
"There have never been any steady-state controlled feeding studies examining the effects of isocaloric diets of equal protein, which have shown a significant increase in energy expenditure or greater loss of body fat from a lower carbohydrate diet."
Thus, it is quite clear from the evidence presented that energy balance is the main reason why body composition is influenced by humans.
Some of you may be thinking, “But Lutfi, I have a friend who eats a lot and is still skinny. This proves that the CICO model is not true! ". What would I say to keep your horses; it doesn't prove or disprove anything, maybe I would like to bring you back to Dr.Ratzan's quote above. If anything, it shows that you don't have to eat clean to lose weight or lose weight, you can't do it both ways (but I'm not going to make such a comprehensive statement). I claim that the CICO model still applies to your friend there and can be explained by one of two explanations.
The first explanation is any amount of food you saw that 1 friend consumed, just a snapshot of your current calorie intake. What you didn't see is how much he ate 1) all day 2) all week. Calories must be counted holistically. It may be possible that it may actually be low for the remainder of the week, and periods of underdevelopment will offset the amount of overtraining you see, resulting in an overall caloric deficit.
Another explanation can be attributed to so-called spontaneous physical activity (SPA). SPA is an activity that is performed subconsciously, usually as a biological response to over-function (17). Such adaptation to changes in food intake is commonly known in the literature as adaptive thermogenesis (17). SPA includes activities such as fidging, walking, limb movement, etc. A 1986 study by Ravussin and colleagues found that a spa can burn 138 to 685 calories a day (18). The same study also hypothesized that SPAs are hereditary because SPAs are highly variable between individuals (18). So back to that "1 friend" scenario; that a friend could be one of the genetically gifted people who are naturally motivated to exercise more with calorie intake, thus burning more calories, leading to net weight loss. Once again, this shows that the CICO model is still an explanation of changes in the composition of the human body. Pretty cool, right?
So it is? Is there no "pure food" for me anymore? No, that's not the point of this article. I'm not trying to control someone's diet or eating habits, but rather to inform the reality of things. The more aware you are, the less ignorant you become and the more able you are to make rational decisions in your life. If you enjoy getting most of your calories from healthy, minimally processed foods then enjoy it, then I won't stop me.
It might even be little the advantage of losing fat (just a tiny bit) to do it. In a 2010 study by Barr & Wright, they found that the degree to which food is refined can influence their thermal performance **. Lower refinement has a higher thermal effect than higher. However, there are a few points to note: 1) comparable foods were NORTH CHEESE sandwiches, 1 of which are simply more mechanically specified 2) Even if less processed foods produce a greater thermal effect, the CICO model still holds.
For certain medical conditions that may be aggravated by a particular food category, it is better to exclude that food category. For example, a celiac patient could avoid eating gluten (20). But outside of medical conditions, there is no reason to avoid any particular food group.
Moderation is key here; Alan Aragon (who is a key figure in nutrition research) recommends 80:20, where 20% consists of the food you like. The rule is based on his personal observations of working with clients as well as on scientific data (see this part of the article on sugar consumption).
So you have it, if you liked this article, keep in mind to order on the right sidebar for great articles, like sharing with your friends on social media and commenting for more questions or insights. And remember, Deadlift is medicine!
* The metabolic ward test is a study conducted under strict conditions, usually in hospitals, which accurately measure food intake and closely monitor the condition of the subjects.
** The thermal effect is the energy burned from the food you eat due to processing and storage in your body.
- Hoffman, J. R., and Falvo, M. J. (2004). Protein – What's The Best? Journal of sports science and medicine, 3(3), 118.
- Baer, D. J., Stote, K. S., Paul, D. R., Harris, G. K., Rumpler, W. V., & Clevidence, B. A. (2011). The addition of whey protein, but not soy protein, alters the weight and composition of free – living obese and obese adults,. Nutrition magazine, 141(8), 1489-1494.
- Mojtahedi, M. C., Thorpe, M. P., Karampinos, D. C., Johnson, C. L., Layman, D. K., Georgiadis, J. G., & Evans, E. M. (2011). Effect of increased protein intake during energy restriction on changes in body composition and physical function in older women. Gerontology Series A Journals: Biomedical and Medical Sciences, 66(11), 1218-1225.
- Krissansen, G. W. (2007). Established health properties of whey proteins and their clinical effects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26th(6), 713S-723S.
- Miller, G. D., Drewnowski, A., Fulgoni, V., Heaney, R. P., King, J., & Kennedy, E. (2009). It is time for a positive approach to dietary guidelines, using nutrient density as a guiding principle. Nutrition magazine, 139(6), 1198-1202.
- Fulgoni III, V. L., Keast, D. R., & Drewnowski, A. (2009). Development and Validation of Nutrient Rich Foods: A tool for measuring the nutritional value of foods. Nutrition magazine, 139(8), 1549-1554.
- Aragon, A. A., Schoenfeld, B. J., Wildman, R., Kleiner, S., VanDusseldorp, T., Taylor, L.,… & Stout, J. R. (2017). International position in sports nutrition: nutrition and body composition. Journal of the International Sports Nutrition Society, 14th(1), 16.
- Golay, A., Allaz, A. F., Morel, Y., de Tonnac, N., Tankova, S., & Reaven, G. (1996). Similar weight loss with a low or high carbohydrate diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 63(2), 174-178.
- Hall, K. D. (2017). Overview of the carbohydrate-insulin model for obesity. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(3), 323.
- Perry, P. J., Lund, B. C., Deninger, M. J., Kutscher, E. C., & Schneider, J. (2005). Use of Anabolic Steroids for Weight Gainers and Bodybuilders: An Internet Survey on Drug Abuse. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 15th(5), 326-330.
- Bratman S. Original Essay on Orthorexia. 1997. Retrieved March 9, 2015 fromhttp: //www.orthorexia.com/original-orthorexia-essay/
- Brytek-Matera, A. (2012). Orthorexia nervosa – an eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorder. Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 1(1), 55-60.
- Stewart, T. M., Williamson, D. A., & White, M. A. (2002). Rigid vs. Flexible Diet: A Link to Eating Disorder Symptoms in Nourishing Women. Appetite, 38(1), 39-44.
- Livingstone, M. B. E., and Rennie, K. L. (2009). Added sugars and micronutrient dilution. Obesity Reviews, 10th(s1), 34-40.
- Gibson, S. A. (2007). Dietary sugar intake and micronutrient adequacy: a systematic review of the evidence. Nutrition survey reviews, 20th(2), 121-131.
- Pfeiffer, C. M., Sternberg, M. R., Schleicher, R. L., Haynes, B. M., Rybak, M. E., & Pirkle, J. L. (2013). The CDC's Second National Report on Biochemistry of Nutrition and Nutrition in the US Population is a Valuable Tool for Scientists and Policy makers – 3. Nutrition magazine, 143(6), 938S-947S.
- Dulloo, A. G., Jacquet, J., Montani, J. P., & Schutz, Y. (2012). Adaptive thermogenesis in human body weight regulation: is it more a concept than a measurable unit? Obesity Reviews, 13th(S2), 105-121.
- Ravussin, E., Lillioja, S., Anderson, T. E., Christin, L., and Bogardus, C. (1986). Human 24-Hour Energy Consumers. Methods and results using a breathing chamber. Clinical Trials Journal, 78(6), 1568-1578.
- Barr, S., & Wright, J. (2010). Postprandial Energy Consumption of Full and Processed Food Meals: Impact on Daily Energy Consumption. Food and nutrition studies, 54(1), 5144.
- Rubio-Tapia, A., Hill, I. D., Kelly, C. P., Calderwood, A. H., and Murray, J. A. (2013). ACG Clinical Guidance: Diagnosis and Treatment of Celiac Disease. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 108(5), 656.
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