If nutrition advice seems ever-changing and contradictory, that’s because it is. 

Hi, I’m Rachel Eslick with your Ag Net West Health Bite.

Remember when fat was bad, then 30 years later it was the ONLY thing you should eat? Or when vegetable oil was THE cooking oil of choice, but now you shouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole? 

Today we’re diving into a couple fairly well-known pieces of diet advice that have made the rounds. The first is the notion that after working out, one should consume protein within 30 minutes for the best muscle-building results. The alleged reason being, your muscle fibers break down in the weight-lifting process, so the infusion of quick protein aids in muscle repair. Also, you’ve just burned calories, so the protein will prevent your body from going into a catabolic state. Simply put, your body would feed off itself for energy. 

Here’s my take. If your goal is to gain weight, you could eat a meal or consume protein within 30 minutes of a workout. But if you wait an hour or two or three, it’s not going to make a difference, as long as you’re eating more than enough overall. 

If your goal is to lose weight, it really doesn’t matter whether you eat or drink protein after working out. It just matters that you’re in a caloric deficit overall. A diet that includes sufficient protein of any kind, animal-based, plant-based, whatever, will help you maintain muscle while burning fat. But again, when you eat it doesn’t change anything.

This diet myth was likely created by protein supplement companies as a marketing tool to try and get people to buy and use more of their products.

Speaking of supplements, that brings me to another myth, that supplements are necessary. They aren’t. Full stop. This includes protein, branch chain amino acids, pre workout, greens powders, and all the other stuff filling the shelves of GNC and health food stores. Sure, they can be convenient, like if you’re traveling and don’t have access to your kitchen and the food you’re used to eating. But if you’re doing all the basics you shouldn’t waste your money on untested, unproven, unregulated supplements. The basics are eating a variety of animal meat, three to five servings of produce daily (the more variety the better), drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water, and minimizing processed food. Lots of sleep and reduction of stress are essential as well.

If you’re curious about a specific diet hack, let me know and I’ll report back.

For AgNet West’s Health Bite, I’m Rachel Eslick. I can help you reach your health and fitness goals with 1:1 and group training. Visit www.reachfit.net.