1

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Retort for fitness instructor email nonsense?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 01, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Received the following email from my fitness instructor (who I get along very well with btw) this morning and a part of me cringed when I realised that the email most likely went out to all his clients. Up until now we've been respectfully disagreeing with each other wrt. nutrition, but I feel somehow compelled to respond to the following nonsense:

1 Minute Fat Burning Secrets

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented international obsession with thinness and the advertising pitches of diets and weight loss schemes are too often claims based on faulty premises. A major problem is that most people, including athletes, know very little about nutrition and even less about the processes of metabolism, which is the only explanation for why people continue to accept bizarre claims that are totally without scientific basis. Here are some of the most popular, and often dangerous, fat burning claims and the facts to negate their effectiveness.

Fiction: You will lose fat by severely reducing your carbohydrate intake.

Fact: This practice upsets the body's chemical balance in such a way that fluids are deleted from the muscle. While this gives the illusion of weight loss, fat is not lost, but instead muscle tissue is broken down, and water that makes up much of this tissue is excreted. All of this water weight will eventually be regained. In addition, carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, vegetables, grains, pasta) are the prime source of energy. Starches are not fattening - fat is fattening.

After some very quick Google "research" I found the following PDF: Burning Fat which is apparently authored by Dr Mark Occhipinti.

I'd love to come up with some simple counter arguments without proselytising, but I have a sneaking suspicion it'll fall on deaf ears (I leant him Robb Wolf's book which he has yet to read so go figure :-) Quoting research (or lack thereof) to back me up will always be taken with a grain of salt by someone who's had "official" training in nutrition and fitness.

Has anyone had any experience dealing with a similar situation and/or has any suggestions?

81eea89722d351d9ed1b763dd8bc73d6

(148)

on February 03, 2011
at 07:45 PM

Easy. Compare the numbers. He is so sure of the grain way to go, prove it. put a dollar value to it if one must, but at least it would hopefully make them think at least a little.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on February 03, 2011
at 01:47 PM

Perhaps I could have chosen a better example...

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9

(279)

on February 03, 2011
at 02:41 AM

How would this challenge prove anything? Serious question.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:11 PM

It's my go to for a shorter read when you know they won't read something more detailed. LOL. I have extra copies printed out and in my bag.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Drinking is bad for you? Its great for me. To me an alcoholic is just someone 1 drink ahead of me.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:38 PM

"lack of pudding" I love it! :)

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Love your comment. I just want to point out that it is the recent "science" that is false. Before 50 years ago they were saying cut bread, pasta, rice and corn etc. to lose weight (fat). Its only recent "science" that says fat makes you fat. Back to the past. I gotta get me one of those handles like "imanomnivore".

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:22 PM

You might also ask your trainer, as a sidebar, why he/she is plagiarizing someone else's words without citing a source! ;)

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:53 PM

When you reply be cautious. It's incredibly easy to accidentally hit "reply all." (-;

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:59 PM

@Eva: I don't think the trainer was saying that LC causes muscle tissue to be replaced by water. Rather, although there is a word missing, I think he means that excretion of the water in muscle tissue contributes to weight loss. Of course we know that this is true for the initial period of dieting. Then the fat loss really kicks in.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on February 02, 2011
at 05:09 AM

Thanks! Hadn't read the article before and have forwarded it on to my PT ... be interesting to see how he responds :)

B00fb3a3a8f29b381a0c3b606bcc4765

(270)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:55 AM

I think you should ask for your book back. He's never going to read it.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:36 AM

I've spent a lot of time composing responses to these, I'm talking pages long. Now, I just kinda laugh and say yep, you're right, why didn't I think of that?

154d799847153f5589f99496a9bdbb71

(992)

on February 01, 2011
at 11:31 PM

+1 for "what if it's all been a big fat lie." if someone is unwilling (and most are) to read GCBC, then that article is the best and most succint substitute.

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9 Answers

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7
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on February 01, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I don't think he's going to believe anything you tell him anyway.

I would probably reply to him though, because I can't usually help myself in situations like that.

I would tell him that you appreciate the attempt to help you out with nutrition, but you respectfully disagree with the information he is imparting.

I would state that carbs don't equal energy, but create fat instead by stimulating an insulin response. Most likely I would find the best paragraph answer possible in one of the Paleo books that I have on hand.

Robb's book was probably way too long for him. This article probably is too, but it's a good one and much shorter than a book.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=print

154d799847153f5589f99496a9bdbb71

(992)

on February 01, 2011
at 11:31 PM

+1 for "what if it's all been a big fat lie." if someone is unwilling (and most are) to read GCBC, then that article is the best and most succint substitute.

473ccf0938761e73a3017356291c6eda

(55)

on February 02, 2011
at 05:09 AM

Thanks! Hadn't read the article before and have forwarded it on to my PT ... be interesting to see how he responds :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:11 PM

It's my go to for a shorter read when you know they won't read something more detailed. LOL. I have extra copies printed out and in my bag.

3
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:43 AM

I wouldn't bother. I see it as being in the same vein as politics and religion. The only thing you change is your blood pressure.

2
81eea89722d351d9ed1b763dd8bc73d6

(148)

on February 01, 2011
at 11:59 PM

Challenge him like this: You eat only meat and fat for a month and he eats only grains i.e. rice, pasta, corn and bread for a month with NO cheating. At the end of the month compare blood tests and experiences.

034c678bff434ab3781e3f1771018af9

(279)

on February 03, 2011
at 02:41 AM

How would this challenge prove anything? Serious question.

81eea89722d351d9ed1b763dd8bc73d6

(148)

on February 03, 2011
at 07:45 PM

Easy. Compare the numbers. He is so sure of the grain way to go, prove it. put a dollar value to it if one must, but at least it would hopefully make them think at least a little.

1
531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

on February 02, 2011
at 03:24 PM

My response: Interesting. Many people find exactly the opposite.

And then I'd re-set my spam filter.

It's like getting in an argument with an alcoholic about whether drinking is bad for you.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Drinking is bad for you? Its great for me. To me an alcoholic is just someone 1 drink ahead of me.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on February 03, 2011
at 01:47 PM

Perhaps I could have chosen a better example...

1
Medium avatar

on February 01, 2011
at 11:32 PM

I've found a good rebuttal to be the following: "I'm certain that I consume more saturated fat and less carbohydrate than anyone you know. Am I fat?"

The proof is in the (perhaps lack of) pudding.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:38 PM

"lack of pudding" I love it! :)

1
154d799847153f5589f99496a9bdbb71

on February 01, 2011
at 11:29 PM

"Starches are not fattening - fat is fattening."

If we know nothing else, it's that fat is not fattening. It's satiating, it doesn't provoke an insulin response, it helps you absorb vitamins, and it's an essential macronutrient (as opposed to carbs).

You don't need to freak out about the rest of what was said. If anyone says "fat is fattening," they are using crap science from 50 years ago and you have the right to laugh in their face.

How to explain it to your instructor in a way he can understand? Most likely this person believes in CI=CO and they just said to you "In addition, carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, vegetables, grains, pasta) are the prime source of energy."

Energy = Calories. In other words, carbohydrates are the prime source of calories.

149af6e19a06675614dfbb6838a7d7c0

(3202)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Love your comment. I just want to point out that it is the recent "science" that is false. Before 50 years ago they were saying cut bread, pasta, rice and corn etc. to lose weight (fat). Its only recent "science" that says fat makes you fat. Back to the past. I gotta get me one of those handles like "imanomnivore".

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:23 AM

OK, the fat makes you fat theory is a commonly held assumption so I can see where he got that. But I have never heard that low carb causes muscle tissue to be broken down and replaced by water. Not only is there not a molecule of evidence for that but it sounds ridiculous. IMO, time to get a new trainer. If this guy is THAT clueless about nutrition, I would be suspicious of his other fitness knowledge as well. If this guy is involved with weight lifting, then I would be especially disappointed as, IME, most knowledgeable weight lifters understand at least the basic benefits that low carb has to offer. In fact, I first heard about ketosis some 15 years ago, low before lowcarb hit the media, and it was from a weightlifting friend explaining to me how he leaned out easily and felt great eating lowcarb and staying in ketosis. Alas but at that time I was still brainwashed by the media into thinking it sounded unhealthy. That plus the fact that protein powder made me feel ill, contributed to a sadly delayed dawning of realization that lowcarb could help me.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:59 PM

@Eva: I don't think the trainer was saying that LC causes muscle tissue to be replaced by water. Rather, although there is a word missing, I think he means that excretion of the water in muscle tissue contributes to weight loss. Of course we know that this is true for the initial period of dieting. Then the fat loss really kicks in.

0
E7be2ce38158357f5dacae07b43d1b29

on February 02, 2011
at 04:01 AM

It's hard for anyone to believe that conventional wisdom isn't true until they've actually tried something unconventional and lived it for a while. Carbs make me feel tired and lousy, and I've known this long before I knew I have celiac disease. I don't believe any one diet is right for every single person, but I've seen enough evidence that suggests that a diet high in starches is anything but optimal.

0
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on February 01, 2011
at 10:50 PM

I recently had a very similar conversation with a guy on my soccer team who runs a "Fitness Boot Camp" He adds all of the soccer team to his emails and he sends similar stuff out. It's obnoxious. I had a lengthy and heated discussion with him regarding nutrition. Sadly, it too fell on deaf ears. I wish you luck in trying to convince... but when people are not open to trying new things, afraid to question CW, afraid to self experiment, chances are it is a lost cause.

I do wish you luck, though.

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