If nutrition is your hobby or you’re simply trying to navigate how to approach your own personal nutrition plan, then you’ve probably noticed a lot of negativity in the nutrition space surrounding what is correct and incorrect. There’s a huge movement surrounding science-based nutrition which I think is great because it clears up a lot of false claims that are leading people down the wrong path, but it’s also becoming something that is preventing people from doing a lot of things as well.
Let me explain.
Recently I came across a post from a high profiled nutrition coach that said insulin isn’t as big of a factor in weight gain as long as calories are equated. While I do agree with this, I won’t go as far as telling people that balancing insulin throughout the day isn’t necessary. In my mind, “balancing” insulin or keeping blood sugar controlled throughout the day is something people can understand in their head to maintain or lose weight. The thing is, some people don’t like looking at food strictly from a caloric deficit and caloric surplus. Some people don’t like numbers and studies. Some people simply want to say, “if I eat this donut, insulin will spike and therefore it will contribute to me gaining weight”. Yes, they can eat half the donut (or whatever their macros allow), but if they want to lose weight and approach it by visualizing insulin spiking then this may be their method of losing weight. In the long run, I think it's important for people to understand that insulin does not cause weight gain to the extent that a lot of people make it, but in the short term, if “balancing insulin” is the way they choose to approach weight loss then so be it.
Another example of this is the idea of fasted cardio not being as effective as simply balancing out calories. Studies will show that fasted cardio is not more effective as regular implemented cardio. However, this doesn’t take into consideration the idea that fasted cardio has worked well for many people and continues to do so. So my question is, are we going to mock or stop people from doing fasted cardio simply because the research says cardio is just effective whether your fasted or not? P.S while writing this post, I did come across a study that concluded that what you eat alters the response of adipose tissue to exercise. You can find the study here.
The message I’m trying to get out in this blog post is that research serves a purpose in giving you more clarity to make the best decision for yourself and in the long run, but you shouldn’t be limited to what is written on paper. If something works for you and is done safely, then continue to do it. I do believe that calories are an important measure of fat loss, but using things like balanced insulin and fasted cardio can be indirect ways of achieving a caloric deficit.