Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Moderation with food...a lesson from Frank Zane

Frank Zane, one of the world's top bodybuilders, and rival to Arnold Schwarznegger.

So what is the BEST diet? As a Banting Buddies coach you'd think I would have a definitive answer. Well, unfortunately I don't. There is NO definitive answer! The reason is because we all have different hormonal mixes going on inside our bodies. I know this just from seeing the results of some of my client's blood tests. The ranges of fasting insulin alone is incredible and variable. Our Vit D levels all vary. Our exercise levels vary. Our ages are different. Etc. 

So I wish I had one diet plan that would fit everyone, but I don't. There is no such thing. It's a unicorn folks. Also, between men and women, the hormonal differences are so vast. 

The last consideration is: what are YOUR goals? Do you want to get shredded like Frank Zane? Do you want to build muscle? Do you want to run faster? Do you simply want to be healthier and slimmer? All this requires different tweaks in your eating. 

Getting shredded certainly requires calorie and fat and carb restriction. No doubt about it. I have seen it in myself and in competing athletes and I have read plenty of bodybuilder's guides. These guys KNOW how to lose body fat. Is it easy? No. Do they get hungry? You bet!!! 

That is why they have a "bulking" phase. They cannot be shredded and build muscle at the same time. That is why I say, there is not one dietary answer for everyone. 

Also advice changes depending on the era. In Frank Zane's time they were not as afraid of saturated fat. They even included some because they knew that cholesterol and saturated fat was good for testosterone production. 
But they still included carbs. They went low-ish, but not no-carb. Frank Zane would often eat  very balanced diet of 33% fat, 33%carbs, 33% protein. I read that in his magazine which is available still on Amazon. He trained and ate seasonally. Meaning he changed up his training and eating depending on the seasons, and I am guessing, depending on whether he was competing, but he never left out a macro-nutrient. And LOOK at him! And he maintained a great physique even as he got older. 

So that leads me to conclude that it's not only low-carb that works. Moderate carb can work too, with moderate fat. But then I am guessing you need the willpower, as Frank Zane had, to keep your calories within a certain range. He clearly never overate. And he trained. Hard. 

For a sedentary, older person, like my mom, low carb is brilliant. It's working like a charm for her. But she doesn't exercise. She doesn't even go for walks. Grocery shopping is her most strenuous activity. She doesn't need full glycogen stores every day like I do, as she will not be hill-sprinting ever. 

For diabetics the game changes completely too. Carbs for them are like sweet poison. The reason is because their liver NEVER stops making it's own glucose. So when a load of glucose from food enters their bloodstreams, it just raises their total blood sugar to dangerously high levels. So it's different for them as compared to someone with a normal insulin response. In people like that (me) my body shuts off gluconeogenesis until my blood sugar levels have fallen low enough again. 

So the conclusion is that we all need to become experts of our OWN bodies and our own health. We must not be afraid to do that. We MUST experiment on ourselves and find what works for our own unique mix of hormones and age/gender. 

Carb restriction can work but so can other ways of eating.