Top 10 Fitness Articles of 2011 on Breaking Muscle: Nick Horton (me) at #1
6. What you eat is as important as how much you eat when you’re trying to lose weight.
Your overall health has a lot to do with the quality of the foods that you ingest. But, your overall level of fat does not. As I mentioned above, fat loss is about how many calories are going into and out of your body each day.
There is no getting around the basics of Thermodynamics. If you want to lose fat, you MUST eat fewer calories than you burn. Period. There is no other way unless the laws of physics don’t apply to you for some reason…in which case, you can eat whatever you want!
If the calories you eat are also healthy, then you may increase your progress some. You’ll certainly increase your health and sense of well-being. But, you can easily get fat eating too much healthy food.
Don’t believe me? Just ask a Sumo Wrestler. They eat very healthy food every day, avoid junk food like the plague, and yet are the poster children of obesity.
Calories in, calories out. Period.
This is also known as the “Calories in, Calories out” debate. So, while I was trying to debunk the myth that quality is more important than quantity when your #1 goal is fat loss, many commenters thought I was the one perpetuating a myth!
I ended up writing a formal response on my Iron Samurai blog arguing the point that when people believe that quality is more important than quantity, they are forgetting an important fact about how the body actually works: Quality affects Quantity.
The food you metabolize has an effect on the number of calories burned per day.
That means X affects Y!!
The quality of your food obviously has an effect on how you lose weight, but largely because it has the power to raise or lower your Y value … thus contributing to the calorie deficit. Quality affects Quantity.
The use of calorie cycling, and other types of macro nutrient manipulation work because they are a way of constantly keeping Y high. Your body is sneaky, it adapts! It want’s to lower Y. You can make your weight loss efforts work better if you do everything in your power to up your Y value.
But, none of that negates the basic equation.
In the above quote, X stands for calories in and Y stands for calories out.