Sunday, July 25, 2021

don't listen to the muscle guys

I've tried to keep an open mind about diet and exercise as I continue this weird journey I'm on. Among the people whose videos I've watched are the muscleheads—people like Greg Doucette (Canadian bodybuilder and shill for his own products and cookbooks) and Ryan Humiston (much the same, but funnier). And the tentative conclusion I've come to is that you shouldn't listen to these guys. They offer generally bad nutritional advice with overly simple explanations, and they don't seem to have the clearest notion of cause and effect. I just watched a Ryan Humiston video in which he peddled the thoroughly debunked myth that dietary fat relates to body fat. It does not. You get fat because of carbs. (Humiston's example was olive oil, beloved of the keto crowd.) Doucette is a huge advocate of the CICO model of weight loss, which as I've argued isn't entirely incorrect (remember my starvation example?), but by over-emphasizing CICO, Doucette fails to consider the merits of the CIM model (carbohydrate-insulin), which is what so many recent diets are based on.

Muscular people like Doucette and Humiston can afford to spout bullshit about dieting because they are exercising at such a ferocious, self-disciplined level that they could probably eat anything and still remain muscular. (We'll see how they're doing in twenty years, though.) These guys have veins, not brains. They may talk a good game (and Humiston is honestly a laugh riot), but in my humble opinion, they are not to be listened to when it comes to what to eat. Sure, feel free to take their advice on building muscle through resistance training, but keep in mind that they're not nutritionists.

So the solution is to listen to experts who actually have degrees and licenses related to nutrition and weight loss. Plenty exist on YouTube, and right now, the four experts I gravitate toward are Dr. Sten Ekberg (holistic medicine and nutrition), Autumn Bates (licensed nutritionist), Dr. Becky Gillaspy (wellness and nutrition), and Dr. Ken Berry (weight-loss specialist). Their channels are easy to find on YouTube. Note: these experts' advice can occasionally be contradictory, but on the whole, there's way more overlap than conflict, and when experts from very different backgrounds confirm each other regarding the larger themes of weight loss, that gives me the confidence to move forward with a certain program. I've learned a lot from these folks, whereas the muscleheads seem to be preaching a rather militaristic gospel of fitness that's largely outdated and possibly even dangerous. 

I'm no expert on any of this myself; these are only my opinions. You might watch a Doucette video, start following his advice, and lose a ton of weight. Who knows? Everyone's body is different. All I can say is that, with the experts I named above, so much of the advice dovetails that I suspect they're closer to the truth than the Doucettes and Humistons of the world—at least when it comes to nutrition. As always, do your own homework and caveat emptor.

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