The Greatest Fallacies in American Nutrition and Fitness History

By Daryl Conant, M.ED CSCS.
  1. Red meat is bad for you. And we should all be eating chicken instead. or beans and rice.
  2. Eggs are going to kill you.
  3. Cholesterol is bad for you and we should all have the same cholesterol level.
  4. Processed foods are good for you.
  5. Drinking wine, coffee, eating dark chocolate are healthy for you and everyone should consume these three items.
  6. “Weight loss” works.
  7. Treadmills and other cardiovascular training machines are best for fat burning.
  8. Weight training for women will make them muscle bound like a man.
  9. Exercising more than 45 minutes is beneficial and makes a person more fit.
  10. Calories is an accurate way of determining if the food should be consumed or not.
  11. Banana’s are a great source of potassium. And all people wanting to lose weight should eat bananas.

Here are my answers to these ridiculous fallacies.

Red meat is bad for you.

I know the vegetarians and cardiologists that read this blog are going to become enraged when I say this, but I stand firm in my belief. TRUE ORGANIC RED MEAT is the second best source of protein that humans can consume.  Our own muscle tissue is red meat.  We must replenish our muscle tissue with a protein that is as close to our own makeup  as possible. Red meat is the best assimilated protein for building muscle.  There are a tremendous amount of nutrients in red meat.  Red meat is a hormone precursor food.

Poultry (chicken, turkey, foul) is considered to be the healthy meat.  Millions of Americans consume chicken every day.  Poultry is a terrible protein for building muscle.  It is a low hormone precursing food.  Just because it is chicken doesn’t mean that it is better for you than red meat.  Real organic red meat is the best form of meat to eat.

Beans and rice are complimentary proteins that provide the correct ratio of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  However, beans digest very slowly and are encased with a lot of fiber. By the time the protein is broken down, much of the value has been degraded.  Due to the slow uptake beans are not a hormone precursing food.  In addition beans are hard to digest for many people, which can result in digestive distress (gas, bloating).  But beans and rice every once and a while is sufficient. Bean protein is good for the cardiovascular system more so than building skeletal muscle. Red meat is still the king for building muscle tissue.

Eggs are going to kill you.

Anyone who knows me knows how ridiculous this idea is.  Intelligent humans know that eating eggs won’t kill you.  Nor does eating eggs increase a persons bad cholesterol levels. This is physiology 101.  In fact, eggs can help lower cholesterol levels.  And eggs are considered the perfect food. Eggs are the best protein source available. Eggs are the best hormone precursing foods to consume.

The cholesterol in eggs helps to ignite the master hormone Pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is a derivative of cholesterol. This hormone can be synthesized into various hormones; progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, adlosterone, cortisol, Lutenizing hormone, etc.  To help increase the production of pregnenolone, hormone precursing foods need to be established into the body.

When a person cuts out their cholesterol intake they are at risk of producing inadequate amounts of pregnenolone, therefore, resulting in dysfunction of the systems.  Weight  gain, depression, anxiety, muscle loss, psychological imbalances can all result from insufficient amounts of hormone precursing foods. Another great advantage of pregnenolone is its ability to boost the immune system reducing the inflammation factors within the body.

Eggs are EGG-CELLENT!!! Get cracking.

Note: Avoid eating eggs that are hard boiled, or over cooked. Never cook eggs in a microwave.

Cholesterol is bad for you and we should all have the same cholesterol level.

As mentioned in #2, cholesterol is essential in the production of many hormones in the body.  Doctors love to manipulate blood cholesterol levels with medications.  Everyone who gets a physical has their blood cholesterol levels tested.  Some people have high cholesterol levels while other might have low.  If the cholesterol level is considered too high then the doctor will administer a statin type drug to block the production of cholesterol in the liver.  But I feel that this doesn’t solve the problem nor is it always the best approach.  If I were to get my cholesterol tested it would most likely be high.  This is because I bodybuild and am constantly tearing down muscle tissue.  Naturally my cholesterol levels would be high to help in the repair of the tissue.  Cholesterol is not the bad guy. In fact, cholesterol helps increase the anabolic properties necessary to increase lean body mass.  However, I would probably be told by the doctor that I would have to take a drug to block the production of cholesterol. This would be disastrous for me because it would be going against what my body is capable of producing to help support my physiological make up.  To say that all humans should have exactly the same blood cholesterol level seems strange to me.

Cholesterol is necessary for healthy functioning of the human body.  If you really want to get nit picky then I would say stop eating refine, processed sugar. Sugar is the problem for blocking the coronary arteries– not cholesterol.  Sugar scratches the interior lining of the arteries, cholesterol is released to help patch up the scratches. The more sugar that is consumed the more cholesterol is produced, until eventually there is so much damage to the artery wall that the cholesterol builds up and occludes the artery.  So when the surgeon opens up the person and sees that the artery is blocked by cholesterol they assume that the person’s heart attack is a direct result of cholesterol, when in fact it was a result of eating too much sugar.  The cholesterol was only trying to help repair the artery wall, but the person kept eating sugar causing damage to the artery. Cholesterol is not the bad guy, over consuming sugar is.

Processed foods are good for you.

The number one contributor to obesity, cancer, and other ailments  of the body is from the use of chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, anti-biotics, excocitoxins, nitrates, carcinogens, synthetic steroids, cement, food coloring. Processed food is what is destroying the health of humans.  Our food supply is so tainted with cancer producing agents that I get angry thinking about it.  The reason why we have processed food is because it is a cheap way of making food last, and helps satisfy population control.

The Earth is becoming depleted of its natural food sources because the human population is increasing in astronomical proportions.  If we had to resort to only eating natural organic healthy farm raised food there wouldn’t be enough food to keep up the the human population.  This would cause disastrous results. So in order to satisfy the population processing food was developed. Now you can take a piece of corn and produce enough junk food to feed thousands of people.  You can homogenize and pasteurize milk to last for months, as opposed to a week with raw milk.  So you see that food processing, unfortunately, has become a necessary evil.  The goal is to try and feed billions of people without losing the entire natural food supply.  My guess is that the Earth’s natural food source will be completely depleted within the next 100 years.  Once this happens the only food supply will be from synthetic and processed foods.

Processed foods, over time will contribute to the death of the body.  Eating small amounts of toxins over years will eventually produce ill effects that the immune system cannot defend. I had an older women (80years old) tell me that she eats junk food everyday and has been for years and doesn’t have any health problems.  I asked her how many medications she takes per day and she told me that she takes between 8-12 pills per day, for high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, depression etc.  She was proud that she ate junk food but I told her that if it wasn’t for the drugs then she would have died years ago.

Drugs are the regulator of processed food now and for the future.  Drug companies are constantly making up new concoctions to combat the poisons that are in our food.  The interesting thing is, is that most food companies are owned by drug companies hmmmmmmmm, makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Drinking wine, coffee,  eating dark chocolate are healthy for you and everyone should consume these three items.

This is garbage. People are so gullible in believing that eating dark chocolate, drinking coffee, and drinking alcohol is healthy.  “But Daryl they are loaded with anti-oxidants and doctors recommend a little wine everyday.”  That is the argument I always get when I tell folks not to drink wine.  Let me clear this up for you.  There was a study in England a few years back that suggested a little red wine was good for reducing free radical production in the bloodstream.  After this study was done doctors all over the world agreed that red wine in small amounts consumed daily is beneficial.  Well there is truth to this, however, I don’t like it.  Yes! there is a small amount of anti-oxidants in the grapes that make up red wine.  And having a little will be alright.  But the amount of wine to be consumed is only a shot glass in size about 1 oz. of actual fluid.  Most people consume way more than this per drink. Drinking too much alcohol causes a person to become poisoned (buzzed, drunk), which taxes the liver.  Years of drinking will eventually cause more harm than good.  There are way more anti-oxidants in broccoli than red wine. Eat broccoli everyday for all of you anti-oxidants needs and forget about the wine. 

Another silly thing is eating dark chocolate to get your daily anti-oxidants. Dark chocolate, like wine, has some small amounts of anti-oxidants that are proven to help boost immunity.  However, the amount of dark chocolate necessary to receive this benefit is the equivalence of 1-hersey kiss.  Unfortunately, many people can’t eat just a small piece, they have to consume a handful or more.  Over consuming dark chocolate will cause digestion problems. And there is still sugar in the dark chocolate, so eating a ton will increase your blood sugar levels causing insulin to spike.

Coffee is considered to be a mood altering drink. It helps boost energy in those folks that are tired.  The caffeine helps stimulate the sympathetic nervous system giving rise to increased energy. Unfortunately, this effect only lasts for a short duration. Once the caffeine clears the blood system, blood glucose levels are low. The person then resorts to another cup of caffeine to boost their energy again. This type of habitual cycle will cause the adrenal glands to get fried.  Coffee also produces high levels of cortisol. Cortisol is directly linked to an increase in abdominal and visceral fat.  Once the adrenal glands get fried the chances of losing abdominal fat is greatly reduced.

Though these substances mentioned are not the most evil things to consume, if consumed only in moderation and in small amounts.  The problem is that most people over consume these addicting substances, and that is the problem.

“Weight loss” works.

Weight loss does not work.  It is incorrect to lose weight. The human body is not designed to lose weight. It is designed to burn fat. Losing weight is one of the biggest marketing schemes of all time.  People associate losing weight with being young and fit. This is bogus. When you lose weight you lose vital tissue that the body needs to sustain healthy functioning. The end result a regain of the weight lost, in addition to having a higher fat percentage.  The focus should be on fat loss not weight loss.

Treadmills and other cardiovascular training machines are best for fat burning.

Cardio machines are only good for increasing the heart rate and improving the cardiorespiratory system of the body. Machines are overrated for fat burning and too many people depend on them for expecting magical results.  It is better to do functional training exercises and circuit style weight training for improving cardiovascular system. 10-20 minutes of effective training is all you will need to improve your cardiovascular fitness.  I am always amazed at places that have a bunch of cardio machines lined up row after row.  You see all of these people running like gerbils on wheels for hours trying to get that super buff body. Their goal will never come true if they only use machines to burn fat.  The problem is that the body will adapt to the intensity after a couple of weeks. The person becomes more fit at the intensity. Their heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output improve reducing the stress on the heart and lung system. The muscles become more enduring and they burn less fat.  In addition to machines not being the most effective way to burn fat, they are rather boring.  I would much rather do fun circuit style training for improving cardiovascular function.

If I thought cardio machines were worth more for burning fat and increasing lean body mass I would have rows and rows of cardio machines in my gym.  Resistance training is the most effective fat burner– not cardio machines.

Weight training for women will make them muscle bound like a man.

This is virtually impossible for most women. In fact, more women should be lifting weights more than men.  Women, for the most part, have a lessor concentration of testosterone and growth hormone than men. These two anabolic hormones are essential for building lots of muscle.  Women have more estrogen than men. Estrogen gives the women their feminine qualities.  They tend to carry more natural body fat than men due to higher estrogen and progesterone levels.  The woman’s body is designed for child bearing. Their make up is much different than a males in terms of reproductive hormone regulation.  In order for a woman to have muscles like a man they would have to have a higher concentration of testosterone and growth hormone than the average woman. It is not impossible for a woman to be muscle bound, but chances are that most women will never attain that much muscle mass.  Age is also a factor. The older the woman gets and the closer to menopause they get it becomes much harder to put on large amounts of muscle mass.

Most women need to perform resistance training exercises for the health of their endocrine system, skeletal system, reproductive system, nervous system, muscular system. All of these systems will breakdown during the aging process. By using weights these systems will be working against a resistance and will become stronger, more enduring and have a greater functional capacity.

Exercising more than 45 minutes is beneficial and makes a person more fit exercising for more than 45 minutes is a waste of time. 

If you are not exhausted after 45 minutes then you are not working hard enough.  Growth hormone levels begin to drop the moment you begin training. It continues to deplete at a fast rate during the workout. By 45 minutes growth hormone levels plummet. When growth hormone levels drop too low cortisol levels increase. Cortisol inhibits muscle cell receptors ceasing any further fat or sugar metabolism.  In other words, you are wasting your time training and only increasing the risk of injury or catabolism.

Calories is an accurate way of determining if the food should be consumed or not .

Calories are the biggest myth in nutritional history. Calories are only a measurement of heat. You can’t eat calories. That is to say that you are eating a production of heat.  Which is basically expired Co2.  Because when the temperature of the tissue raises one degree celsius the hydrogen and oxygen combustion results in expiration. The end product is CO2 release.  So how can a food that hasn’t been heated up  cause an increase in temperature be a true way of measuring the value of food– it doesn’t.  The calorie idea is a made up phenomenon to provide people some way of classifying their food.  “If it has fewer calories then it must be good for you.”This is how people think regardless if the food has any nutrient value.

It is all about nutrient exchange and how nutrient dense a food is.  One time I was doing a book signing and I was giving away free Raw Revolution bars at my table.  This woman came up to the table and picked up a bar and said “oh, this has too many calories in it” and then put it back on the table. I asked her what she meant about the bar having too many calories. She said that it 100 calories was too much for her to eat.  I then replied by saying, “did you know that calories are only a measurement of heat and there are so many nutrients in those bars that they make a great snack. She then asked me, “what are nutrients?” This is exactly my point.  Most people know about “calories” but don’t have a clue to what a nutrient is.  This is the problem. The body craves nutrients and the more nutrient dense the food is the better it is for you.  We should be reading the label for the nutrient content and the value of the nutrients– not the silly calorie idea.

When you go to fill your car up with gasoline do you tell the person at the counter that you would like to fill up your car up with 100 horsepowers. Horsepower is a measurement of heat. “Hey Joe, how many horsepowers does your car consume?” “You need to cut down your horsepowers, your car is looking a little fat.”

As you can see the calorie idea is ridiculous.  It just doesn’t make any sense to base the value of food on a imaginary phenomenon.

Banana’s are a great source of potassium.

And all people wanting to lose weight should eat bananas. Banana do have potassium, but they also have a very high concentration of sugar. Bananas are high glycemic. Meaning that they have a very fast sugar absorption rate.  People that are really lean and fit can eat bananas without much concern.  People that are sedentary and trying to lose body fat from eating bananas will only increase their body fat percentage. Bananas are a weight gaining food. The extra sugar will increase insulin production in the body. When the blood system is infiltrated with too much sugar, insulin is released to open up fat cells to store the extra blood sugar.  And for the potassium, there is way more potassium in broccoli than there is in a banana.  But most Americans are addicted to sugar and eating fast and quick foods. Bananas are easy to eat and go down easy because of the high sugar content.  Avoid bananas if you are concerned with your fat percentage.

So, there you have it. My list of the greatest nutritional and fitness fallacies.