9 Big Nutrition Myths Ninjas Should Avoid | Mark Fisher Fitness 9 Big Nutrition Myths Ninjas Should Avoid | Mark Fisher Fitness

9 Big Nutrition Myths Ninjas Should Avoid

When it comes to nutrition, people have a tendency to make things far more complicated than necessary.

Changing your nutrition habits can be difficult enough as is without feeling like you have to follow a bunch of restrictive rules that don’t accelerate your health and hotness.

The number of useless nutrition myths out there only adds to the confusing and frustrating realm of nutrition.

Today, we’re going to look at why NOT following these common nutrition myths will allow you to enjoy your diet and get better results.

Myth # 1: There’s One Perfect Diet For Fat Loss

Anyone from a specific diet camp, whether it’s keto, vegan, or paleo, would like you to believe that they alone have the magic bullet for your fat loss goals.

In reality, any diet can work for fat loss if it helps you to burn more calories than you eat on a consistent basis.

To help you stay consistent, it’s important to choose a dietary approach that includes foods you enjoy eating, works with your lifestyle, and helps you achieve your goals.

What very few diet gurus will admit to is any diet can help you lose body fat by restricting certain foods, and eating fewer calories.

Let’s take a quick look at how some of the common diets restrict certain foods and reduce calories:

  • Vegan Diet: Removes animal products – Eating fewer calories
  • Paleo Diet: Removes processed foods – Eating fewer calories
  • Ketogenic Diet: Removes denser carbohydrates – Eating fewer calories
  • Flexible Dieting: Calorie & macro tracking – Eating fewer calories

At the end of the day, if you’re losing fat on a diet, it’s because you’re burning more calories than you’re eating regardless of the dietary approach.

Diets aren’t magical unicorns, but you are! So, pick the diet you enjoy that works with your lifestyle to help you achieve your goals.

Myth # 2: Carbs Or Fats Make You Gain Body Fat

Gaining body fat is the result of eating too many calories, not the amount of carbs or fats you eat.

If you eat more calories than you burn, and those calories come from carbs or fats you can absolutely gain fat, but it’s due to the calorie surplus.

If the body doesn’t have excess calories then the idea that you can gain body fat goes against basic scientific laws.

I understand you’ve been through a lifetime of fear mongering around carbs and fats but I can assure you carbs and fats are not to blame for gaining body fat.

To help explain what I mean let’s take a look at “The Twinkie Study”:

Mark Haub, a professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, wanted to prove to his students that overall fat loss comes down to calorie intake, not specific diets, carbs or fats.

His experiment was to eat 1,800 calories a day for 10 weeks. He ate almost exclusively Twinkies, Doritos, Hostess cakes, Oreos, sugary cereals, nutty bars, and muffins.

These are all supposed to be very fattening foods, rich in processed sugars, fat and carbohydrates.

The result at the end of the 10-week experiment was that Mark Haub lost 27 lbs., and lowered his cholesterol.

Does that mean you should eat like the Twinkie Study on your next diet ? No, that was an experiment done to a prove a point to his students.

The reality is both calories and food quality matter when it comes to health and fat loss. Food quality will be a main driver of health and disease prevention, while calories are the main driver of your fat loss.

Neither carbs or fats are inherently fattening, but when you eat them along with too many calories they can be.

Myth # 3: Your Metabolism Slows Down As You Age

As you age, you will lose some muscle mass which makes you burn fewer calories. But this loss of muscle is due to a lack of daily activity and strength training more than age.

While muscle does burn some extra calories, the amount of muscle lost wouldn’t be significant enough to account for any kind of fat gain.

Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

There is, however, a significant decrease in your daily activity levels as you age, and this makes gaining body fat much easier.

A highly overlooked portion of the calories you burn every day is through your daily activity that takes place outside formal exercise named Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).

NEAT includes typing at your computer, fidgeting, going from standing to sitting, walking, doing the dishes, dancing, yard work, or playing with your dog.

Your day-to-day NEAT activities end up burning far more calories than you’d assume. People don’t give too much conscious thought to their day to day activity and, as a result, don’t consider the impact it has on fat loss.

Sedentary Social Events

As you age, social events become more sedentary, and revolve around tasty, calorie-dense food and alcohol.

Things like happy hour, BBQs, or meeting for lunch or coffee take the place of day hikes or playing some kind of recreational sport with friends on a nice day.

Your metabolism doesn’t spontaneously slow down when you get older; you move less and engage in more sedentary activities while eating the same amount or more than you used to which leads to fat gain.

To combat this, make sure you’re strength training 3-5 times per week with professionals who can guide you through fun workouts like the ones at the MFF Clubhouse.

Get up and move around throughout the day, too. Focus on trying to get at least 10,000 steps a day, and use an activity tracker or your iPhone to track your steps and gamify the 10,000 step mark.

Myth #4: Smaller, More Frequent Meals Boosts Your Metabolism For Fat Loss

Eating in general actually boosts your metabolism because your body has to burn calories to digest and break down food every time you eat. This is known as the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).

The amount of calories and macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) you eat each day  determines how many calories your body has to burn to digest your food.

At the end of a 24-hour period, as long as you’ve eaten the exact same amount of calories with the same amount of protein, fats, and carbs, it doesn’t matter how many meals it’s split into.

Your body still has to break down the exact same amount of food and burn the same amount of calories through TEF regardless of how many meals you’ve eaten.

As an example, if you were to eat 1,800 calories with the exact same amount of food, then it wouldn’t matter if that food were split into:

  • 2 x 900 calorie meals = 1,800 calories
  • 3 x 600 calorie meals = 1,800 calories
  • 6 x 300 calorie meals = 1,800 calories

The most important factor when it comes to how many meals you eat is what works best for you as an individual and suits your lifestyle and helps you to manage hunger.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic meal number that melts body fat off any quicker!

Myth #5: If You Eat More Fat, You’ll Burn More Fat

This is a really popular statement in the low carb and ketogenic diet communities, and they are partially right. When you eat more fat and fewer carbs you’ll burn more fat, but it’s dietary fat, not body fat.

However you can easily eat too much dietary fat and stall out weight loss or even gain weight if you’re not aware.

Low carb diets can be effective when done correctly though, and if you’re eating more vegetables and protein those foods are going to keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce your appetite.

You may have a preference for fattier foods and can stick to a lower carb, high fat diet because you enjoy eating that way and feel less deprived.

A low carb diet might work for you because you have clear guidelines of what to eat, and what to avoid which makes it easier for you to stay on plan.

In the end, low carb diets can be an effective strategy, but they don’t make you lose more body fat than other diets.

Myth #6: Supplements Will Make You Burn Fat, Build Muscle, or Detox

If we believed everything on the bottle of supplements you’d wonder, “Is there anything they can’t do?”

Unfortunately, few supplements use ingredients that are backed by high quality studies showing them to be effective.

Even when an ingredient is shown to be effective, most companies won’t use that ingredient at a high enough dose to get the desired result.

There’s a lot of tomfoolery with supplements, because they’re so loosely regulated by the FDA. As a result of these loose regulations, supplement companies can get away with dishonest and downright factually false marketing.

When it comes to supplements, that could be a blog on its own, but the two most worthless are fat burners and detox supplements.

Often, fat burners are jam packed with stimulants to make you feel wired and sweat a ton. However, they don’t really help you to burn any more body fat.

A much better approach is to eat in a calorie deficit on a consistent basis, which is totally free, and highly effective for fat loss.

When it comes to detox supplements, think about the fact that your liver and kidneys are detoxifying your body 24 hours a day. If your liver and kidneys aren’t functioning properly, you need to see a doctor, not buy a detox supplement.

This doesn’t mean that all supplements are useless; many vitamins and minerals are backed by science. Just steer clear of the ones that make outrageous claims that sound too good to be true.

Myth #7: Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

You’ve likely heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it “kick starts” your metabolism, but this isn’t true.

Like we discussed in Myth #4, eating in general boosts your metabolism, and it’s a short-lived boost necessary to break down food.

From a fat loss perspective, the amount of calories you eat at breakfast will be greater than your calories burned to digest those foods, and fat loss requires you to be burning more calories than you eat.

Over the course of 24 hours, there is no meaningful difference in your metabolism from eating or skipping breakfast that leads to any greater fat loss.

If you skip breakfast your metabolism will not slow down, and you won’t go into “starve mode” like many people claim.

If you enjoy breakfast, then go ahead and eat it; if you’re not hungry in the morning, feel free to skip it.

If you do choose to skip breakfast, make sure it doesn’t cause you to overeat later in the day or cause uncontrolled eating late at night.

Myth #8: Don’t Eat Carbs At Night Or Past 6PM

The myth of avoiding carbs at a certain time of day is based on the idea that carbs are inherently fattening.

However, by this point in the blog you’ve learned that isn’t true. Carbs can make you gain body fat when consumed with a calorie surplus, but without excess calories fat gain won’t happen.

With calories being the biggest factor in fat loss or gain, there is no large significance when you eat those calories either.

There isn’t a time of day where the body switches into “fat storage mode” and puts all the food you eat into fat stores.

One thing to consider when it comes to people demonizing eating carbs late at night is people are generally eating out of boredom and in a more mindless fashion, without paying attention to their hunger signals.

Also, let’s be honest – you and I aren’t snacking on chicken and sweet potatoes at night. This is the time of night when people are going to overeat more calorie dense junk food.

Myth #9: No Diet Works For Me… Ever!

There are some people who seem to lose body fat at a slower rate than others, but keep in mind that slow progress is far better than no progress at all.

When you have slower progress, it causes you to be easily distracted by the next diet that promises quicker results.

If all you ever do is jump from one diet to the next at the first sign of a fat loss stall or plateau, then all you’re ever going to get good at is starting over instead of making small tweaks to keep progressing.

When you’ve tried a ton of diets without giving any of them areal chance to work, you begin to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and can engage in unconscious self sabotage behaviors.

A common mistake is under-reporting food you don’t remember eating. This includes the snacks at the office, late night snacking, samples at the grocery store, mindless eating in front of screens, or indulgent meals that turned into “cheat days”.

The weekday dieter also falls into this category of people who tend to unintentionally eat more than they think.

You eat in a calorie deficit all week, but when the weekend comes around, you loosen up and have a few too many beers and burgers for someone looking to lose body fat.

This is the equivalent of spending Monday through midday Friday digging a hole. Then Friday night through Sunday, you push all the dirt back in the hole and fill it up entirely, maybe even adding a little more on top. Then Monday you show up and start digging the exact same hole again, wondering how it got so full over the weekend.

No matter what diet you choose, you’ll need to be patient and realize fat loss is a process, not an overnight miracle. Stay the course and you’ll achieve the health and  hotness you desire.

So What’s The Secret?

Make sure your diet is mostly nutrient dense whole foods in the right amounts for your goals that suit your preferences and lifestyle.

You don’t need to fear carbs, fats, or fruit, and as you get older match your level of daily activity to your food intake to maintain your weight, eat a little less to lose body fat.

Few supplements will do much for you, and even fewer will do anything to help to lose fat or build muscle.

There are a lot of nutrition myths out there that can make reaching your health and hotness goals much more difficult than it needs to be.

There is no magic number of meals, time of day, or macronutrient that will make you lose or gain a significant amount of body fat. The real secret sauce is patience and persistence!


Wanna join community of ridiculous human who are serious about burning fat and putting their health and hotness first?

Schedule a Strategy Session at MFF.


Alex McMahon is the founder of Evolve Nutritional Therapy in Portland, Oregon and teaches his clients how to achieve optimal health and lose fat in a way that is sustainable and fits their lifestyle. If you want to read more from Alex, check out his blog.

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