Not every food is as it seems.
We have gone over and over about how important nutrition is to a bodybuilding lifestyle. It’s a tight balance of all the nutritional elements into one perfect diet for maximum muscle gain. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to bodybuilding nutrition – but when such black and white statements are made – something gets lost in the middle. Like most things in life, there are never absolutes with anything. This goes for nutrition as well.
We’ve decided to look at some major staple foods of bodybuilding diets and figure out what is fact and what is myth.
Eggs and Cholesterol
Let’s start with an easy one. Eggs have and might always be an important part of bodybuilding nutrition. It’s an excellent source of protein, natural, and delicious. But eggs sometimes get a bad rap for bringing up your cholesterol levels. Is this true? Well not really.
Yes, there is cholesterol in eggs – but the dietary cholesterol that you find in them is very different when we are talking about cholesterol in terms of an individual’s health. In truth, the same word “cholesterol” is used to describe two different things: dietary cholesterol (fatty molecules in things like eggs) and body cholesterol (that stuff circulating in your blood that can cause heart problems).
Saturated and trans fats are the true contributors to high cholesterol – whereas the cholesterol you find in eggs does not actually attribute a whole lot towards pumping up that bad stuff in your bloodstream. That isn’t to say you should ignore the cholesterol content in eggs completely – we’re just saying that maybe you shouldn’t be as worried as everyone else is.
Here’s some more info if you’d like to learn more.
Milk Does Your Body Good… Or Does It?
We’ve been told ever since we were little kids that milk is the best thing for your bones. Calcium, calcium, calcium. The C-word that makes for tough bones and happy parents. But what happens when you get older? Should we still be drinking all that milk to keep our bones strong?
Sorry to all the milk lovers out there – but milk is missing one vital nutrient that helps promote bone health: vitamin K. Once our bones stop growing, vitamin K helps keep the bones strong and prevents bone loss.
So where’s a good resource for vitamin K? Dark leafy greens are best. Stuff like kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and scallions all have ample amounts of vitamin K to keep those bones nice and sturdy.
Are Salty Treats Really That Salty?
Always be mindful of sodium – all that salt will do terrible things to our bodies. But you’d be surprised at how much sodium is actually found in stereotypically salty snacks. Things like pretzels or potato chips. We aren’t saying that these are particularly healthy options – but there are far saltier foods that are packed with sodium that you may not expect.
Baked goods. Yes, they don’t taste salty but they are jam packed with processed sodium to make them taste good – even if they don’t taste super salty. So while you are out avoiding all those salty snacks; make sure to double check processed baked goods you eat too. You might be taking in more sodium than you thought.
Meat & Protein
So we all already know that bodybuilders need to take in a lot of protein. For most, this means a lot of meat – beef, chicken, salmon, etc. Many people believe that this is the only way to get the mass amounts of protein required to build muscle mass. But as we have been pointing out, it’s not always so black and white.
Vegetarians often get a bad wrap but the truth is you can find a decent amount of protein in non-animal products. A diet chock full of nuts, legumes, whole grains, and vegetables can include a sufficient amount of protein. Oatmeal mixed in with some hemp seeds can actually range somewhere between 20 and 25 grams of protein. This can actually end up with more protein than some (but not all) meat based products you throw into your meal.
And if you really want to add some protein and delicious taste to your oatmeal – you can add the next item on our list…
Peanut Butter can be a Secret Weapon for Bodybuilders
Peanut Butter is actually a great source of protein – but is often dismissed because of its high calorie content. While it is true that peanut butter has a ton of calories – if you weight out each serving and take careful care of how you balance your diet – peanut butter can provide a ton of great nutrients – and make your protein meals a whole lot tastier.
Some key things: it’s best to get all-natural peanut butter to prevent getting all of that greasy oil you find in commercial peanut butter. It is also can contribute some fiber into your diet – not a lot, but still an added benefit with the protein. On top of that, peanut butter can help reduce risk of heart disease and provide a reasonable source of vitamins and minerals. You can read all about it right here to get the details.
One other word of caution. Peanut butter is not a good source for carbs – which are also important muscle fuel. Like we said, peanut butter could be a great secret weapon to supplement your nutrition – but that doesn’t mean it’s the magic food you can scarf down in mass.
So those are just a few nutrient stereotypes that we decided to look into. There are probably a ton other foods that aren’t as bad or good as the public makes them seem. If you have any important ones you think we missed – let us know in the comments section below. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook to become a part of the GI Nation!