Baby Boomer’s Guide to Fitness
New Baby Boomer Magazine Series
Read This Before You Diet
This is the age of instant gratification and clients, or potential clients are looking for the quick fix to lose that ten or twenty pounds.
The answers are out there, they’ll tell you, Atkins, Zone and any other new diet to come down the turnpike.
These fad diets do work—for the most part, but for how long?
Can people live without carbohydrates for an extended time?
Will the affect be beneficial?
There is no answer to these questions, all people are different. Genetics can play a large role in how well a person can restrict carbs, protein or fat for an extended time.
The founders of these diets will make incredible claims about how quickly one can lose weight by eating, let’s say, a diet high in fat. They’ll come up with crazy statistics about how the Eskimos live on a high fat diet and are very healthy and thin. Most people aren’t Eskimos and have probably never tasted blubber.
There is a genetic connection there. Generations of Eskimos have been eating a high protein, high fat diet. Their bodies have made the adjustment; there was always little else to eat. If the average person tried to eat like an Eskimo, they would probably become very ill, much less be able to exercise for any length of time.
Carbohydrates are the body’s energy source. It is the breakdown of the three saccharides in carbs that allow the body to create and store the energy that fuels the brain, muscles and organs. If restricted, the body will produce ketones as an alternative fuel pushing the system away from homeostasis causing it to become more acidic putting a strain on the kidneys, and the diminishing ability to produce phosphates. Without carbohydrates the body struggles to burn fat for energy. Exercising under these conditions is difficult if not dangerous.
During load exercise, muscle is broken down, fibers eventually fail—they need rest and replenishment. Without proper amino acids, protein synthesis will not occur. Restricting proteins and the proper balance of amino acids will cause muscle catabolism.
The muscles will feed off each other and organ tissue to obtain the necessary protein. Without proper protein, the body cannot regenerate itself. The human body is protein: muscle, organs (including skin), hair, it needs protein to survive and regenerate tissue.
Similar issues can be said for fat restricted diets. Fat is essential for good health. The digestive system needs fat to break down fat soluble vitamins. These vitamins need fat to carry them to organs. Omentum (the layer of fat between the abdominal wall) helps protect the organs from injury. Without fat, skin will dry and hair can fall out, bald and wrinkled—not a pretty picture.
Probably the silliest part of fat restricted diets is that in many cases it causes people to actually gain weight. If the body doesn’t receive 26-28 percent fat (preferably all from unsaturated sources) it will find the fat it needs in carbohydrates that contain fat.
I have literally increased client’s fat intake and reduced their cardio workouts (when they spend far too much time on the treadmill) and had them lose 10 pounds almost immediately. Unsaturated fat is also needed to balance cholesterol promoting improved cardiovascular health.
In conclusion, most fad diets do not promote the best health factors. Intense exercise is hard enough without having the body screaming for more nutrition. Fatigue and the diminished ability to regenerate muscles are just two factors that can inhibit results from training. No diet will bring lasting results except for a balanced diet. The proper balance of all three foods mentioned in this article is the only way to good health and fueling work outs or events.
Robert Bresloff is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Therapist, Adaptive Fitness Specialist, a Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and Endurance Trainer with The International Sports Sciences Association. He owned and operated, Total Fitness Concepts Inc for 10 years. He has written for Masters Athlete Magazine, The Waukegan News Sun and trade e magazines and recently released his first fitness book, 'The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness"
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