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Flexible Dieting / IIFYM & Social Media & Nutrition

written by runnergirl training

Life today is saturated with social media’s influence. There are an abundance of social media apps, websites and networks and no shortage of self proclaimed fitness and nutrition gurus. Anyone can post about a new fad diet they are on and include plenty of pics of their before and after transformation and also their meals. Fitness models and average people can appear to have discovered the secrete to weight loss and beautiful body nirvana. A note of caution however, is to check if they have any health/fitness/nutrition credentials and also validate their nutritional approach with accepted nutritional standards.

Fad diets are quickly here and gone. There are always people who claim to have success with their diet and it often compels others to want to jump on the bandwagon. Frequently, these fad diets are not sustainable or healthy. A doctor, registered dietitian or nutritionists are great resources to find out what eating habits can best help you to achieve your health and fitness goals.

All that being said, I would like to look at one of the latest fad diets called flexible dieting or IIFYM (short for If It Fits Your Macros). Macros is short for macronutrients, such as protein, fat and carbohydrates. The gist of the diet is that whatever food choice (i.e. cookies) can be eaten if they fit that person’s particular macros plan.  For example, given the choice of eating slices of avocado (contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, healthy fats) or eating cookies (contains saturated, unhealthy fats) either would be deemed acceptable as long as the macro content fit in that person’s daily allotment for fat, etc. So the nutritional value playing field is leveled. As long as the macro content is the same no food item being is viewed as better or worse than another.

Harvard School of Public Health research in 2011 shows that it does matter where those macros came from and there are low and high nutritional quality foods. A calorie is simply not just a calorie. The research participants who ate processed food (chips, sugared beverages, etc) experienced weight gain. Participants who ate whole foods with minimal processing (whole grains, yogurt, fruit and vegetables) showed weight loss. They concluded that food high in nutritional value (whole grains, vegetables, etc) plays a significant role in consuming fewer calories.

It is enticing as it is to scroll through dozens of pics of self proclaimed fitness and nutrition gurus and their meals and think they have it all figured out. However, the wise approach to meeting your health and fitness goals is to follow balanced and researched guidelines. Your health and body will thank you in the long run!

Mozaffarian, D., Hao, T., Rimm, E., Willett, W., Hu, F. (2011). Changes in diets and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine, 364 (25), 2392-2404.


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