This myth often comes from a mis-understanding of specific terminology - differentiating between the terms ‘Vegetarian/Vegan’ and ‘Plant-Based’. Once we have a clearer understanding of these two terms, and the difference between them, then it’s quite easy to move past this mis-conception.
Creatine is one of the most widely-used supplements on the market, and one of the few whose effects are backed by evidence. Unfortunately, with it’s wide use and popularity, it has become subjected to many different myths - among them that it will cause kidney damage, hair loss and increase your testosterone levels. Each of these claims are either wrong, or highly unlikely at best (hair loss).
The so-called ‘anabolic window’ - the time after your workout when you need to get in a full portion of protein (20-50g), or risk going ‘catabolic’ (aka have all your muscle break down)! It sounds very dramatic, doesn’t it? The exact length of this window of time seems to vary quite drastically - some will say you have up to 3 hours, others will say you have just 1 hour. I’ve even heard one trainer tell a client they had 14 minutes - yes, 14 - to have protein shake before their body would go catabolic!
Before we address this week’s myth specifically, let’s get one thing straight - for performance alone, it is almost always more beneficial to eat before exercise, regardless of the modality or intensity. If you want to perform at your best, you are almost always going to do so in a fed, rather than a fasted, state.
If you’ve ever tried to diet or lose body fat, you’ve probably read, or had someone tell you, that you shouldn’t eat (especially carbs) after 6pm, and definitely not just before bed! The argument often follows that your metabolism slows down while you are sleeping, so that anything you eat too late at night will simply be stored as fat… we can say definitively that this is not how it works.
Detoxes are an example of a ‘magic bullet’ being sold to us by clever marketing and health ‘gurus’. The idea behind detoxes is that every few months, it is important to flush all of the toxins out of our body, usually by following some kind of liquid-only, plant-based juice diet (usually with a supplement or two thrown in).
A few days of a juice detox will leave your body refreshed and cleansed of any and every harmful toxin, apparently? The problem is, not only is there no evidence to support these claims, detox companies themselves can’t even provide evidence to support their claims, name a single toxin eliminated by their products, or even show a great understanding of what they mean with the term ‘detox’.
With this particular myth, there is quite a lot to unpack. First and foremost, we need to answer the question; what does 'eating clean’ actually mean? It’s a good question, and there doesn’t seem to be a single, uniform answer to this question.
For some people, it means eliminating all ‘processed’ foods, for others it’s about eating all organic produce, and for some it’s about avoiding certain foods for ethical reasons…
Now, this may seem like a contradiction after our previous blog, where we detailed how, sometimes, food supplements can be superior to ‘actual’ food. However, the clear distinction in this is the word sometimes.
Yes, on occasion, it can be more beneficial to have a food supplement instead of actual food; but this does not make food supplements in any way necessary for the vast majority of us. What we must also make clear at this point is that most food supplements on the market aren’t even worth purchasing.