The Dangers of Macro-Specific Diets
by Christian Duque
One of the most highly debated terms today is metabolic damage. With a seemingly endless pool of contest prep coaches & personal trainers, the stage has been set for a great many people potentially damaging their metabolisms through fad diets, macro-nutrient manipulation, & even intermittent & extended fasting. Most diets focus on either fat or carbs. Most athletes traditionally opt for low fat diets, while more of today’s most popular fads orbit around low carb philosophies from Atkins to the South Beach Diet. The problem with sudden, stringent macro-based approaches is that our metabolisms are often put through the ringer.
Although it may not glamorous, a healthy, balanced diet, coupled with exercise is the best way to optimal health. It should be noted that while I’m not medically trained, I count with my own experiences as well as those of countless friends in the fitness industry. If an athlete chooses to increase or decrease normal macro levels, that can work (e.g. contest prep or contest day); however to live indefinitely in a deficit is where health issues may arise.
Although ‘metabolic damage’ remains up for debate, it doesn’t mean it’s not something to worry about. Any diet where you lose more than 1-2lbs of bodyfat per week is suspect. Also, don’t confuse water weight with bad weight. And finally don’t look to the scale as the only tried & true litmus test for success.
My biggest suggestion as an everyday lifter would be to avoid harsh diets as a general rule. The results will almost always be temporary & the damage done to the body might be more than what you bargained for.