Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eating for Strength and Muscular Development, Part Two - Norman Zale (1977)

Food Facts, Fads, Fakes and Fallacies

Weight trainers are surrounded by superstitions and fallacies about foods and diet. Some probably reflect the practices of outstanding bodybuilders and weightlifters who became champions in spite of, rather than because of peculiar dietary habits. Others may even go as far back as primitive beliefs that the meat of certain animals would endow the consumer with the strength and endurance of the prey. Not many years ago a popular theory held that one should have carbohydrates for breakfast, fats for lunch and protein in the evening. Now scientists know that not only do these foods mix well with each other, but they sometimes enhance one another. Then came bran; people ate it in many forms and at all meals. Then came fermented milk, grapes and raw vegetable juices - each was in vogue for a while and then assumed its place among the weightman's arsenal of nourishing but not super megaton foods.

While mild fads may harm only your wallet, many seekers of purity of muscle and strength through special foods may be engaged in a futile effort because the foods may really not be very special, merely unknown or unheard of by the new weightman. 

Through the efforts of a long line of writers and lecturers, certain foods have taken on an aura of especially high nutrition or curative powers, or have even been credited with building strength and muscles almost overnight. These foods are generally nutritious, but, we must stress, they are not miracle foods.

There is danger in over-concentrating on a few types of foods even if they are relatively nutritious. For example, brown rice is a little more nutritious than white rice, but it is hardly a complete protein food, or even particularly rich in vitamins and will not convert a poor diet into a super-nutritious one. Wheat germ is rich in vitamin E and all of the B vitamins except B-12 which can only be obtained from animal foods; so you still need a well-rounded diet. Build your diet around good nutritious foods but don't rely too heavily on any one food such as:

Honey is a magical, even mystical word in most gyms. It is also one of the most over-promoted and overpriced products sold to food and diet conscious individuals. Honey is less dangerous than the empty calories of sugar. Some people say that honey contains some of the B vitamins that have been removed from white sugar and also a long list of minerals including iron and calcium.

The facts are that honey has only a trace of B vitamins and only half a milligram of iron per 100 grams. That amount is much less than the amount in many vegetables. Nor is honey notably rich in calcium, another mineral that is vitally important to the weight trainer. The 5 milligrams of calcium in honey can't hold a candle to the 60 in raisins, 352 in carob flour, 110 in sesame seeds and similar amounts on dairy products. Enjoy honey, but don't expect miracles.

Crunchy Calories
Ready-to-eat cereals of the crunchy granola type have become leading topics of conversation between sets of squats. Numerous brands are available and surprisingly, many of the granola-type cereals have little nutritional advantages over some of the commercial ready-to-eat cereals, although the granola type are superior to the high-sugar commercial cereals.

A typical granola cereal has as its ingredients, oats, soy oil, brown sugar, wheat germ, coconut,sesame seeds and sea salt. Other brands may substitute honey for brown sugar or add small amounts of nuts, seeds or other ingredients. Sweeteners and oils are usually the second and third leading ingredient. So many health conscious weight trainers who are bent on avoiding empty calories are eating bowls of empty calories, no less empty for being crunchy.

If you must insist on eating granola cereals, make sure that the labels read "whole grain," "restored" or "enriched." "Whole grain" means that the cereal contains all the nutrients in the whole, unprocessed grain. "Restored" means that the nutrients lost in processing have been put back in their original proportions. "Enriched" means that some vitamins and minerals have been added to the product that may or may not have lost vitamins or minerals in processing, but not necessarily in the same proportion.

Raw Sugar
Most weight trainers agree on the need to reduce sugar consumption. Yet the use of sugar in food manufacturing has doubled during the past ten years. It is estimated that the average person consumes more than 110 lbs of sugar per year. 
Realizing the dangers of sugar many men have switched to raw sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar or yellow D sugar. The Federal Trade Commission has found that none of these sugars contains a nutritionally significant amount of vitamins or minerals, and in fact raw sugar is a processed food "and is not substantially different from or superior to other sugars because of the raw state." None of these products is a true "raw sugar," which because of extraneous material would not be considered fit to eat.

Bread - The Staff of Life?
Most men complain that white bread is lacking in nutritional value, that it is a plastic loaf, that it is loaded with additives, that it is tasteless, that rats fed it as their only food could not survive, and they are correct in all of these points.

The criticism of white bread and other products baked from white flour is one issue that all weight trainers are in agreement on. In the milling process for white flour the outer covering, the bran and the germ, are removed. The remainder is the portion that is ground into white flour. But it is the bran layer and germ that contains 90 per cent of the vitamins, minerals and protein. The white flour contains nothing but starch and sugar.

Some states require that white flour in bread be enriched. This means that three of the B vitamins and iron are added to the flour. But many nutrients including calcium, vitamin E and protein are never added to the flour. Most specialty breads such as hot dog and hamburger buns, sweet rolls and Italian and French bread and rolls are not required to be enriched.

What should you use if you are hooked on white bread? Whole wheat bread contains more protein, but not much more, than enriched white or rye, more calcium, more vitamin B and vitamin E. Commercially prepared bread is worthless for building strength and muscle. These commercial products are loaded with cancer causing additives to maintain freshness and softness, and to enhance their appearance. The manufacturers are not so much interested in providing you with top nutrition but merely trying to sell their product. Your only alternatives are first, to give up the use of commercially prepared baked goods or second, purchase your baked goods at a health food store or third, bake your own breads from products purchased at health food stores. If you are really interested in health and muscle we would heartily suggest the first recommendation - give up using baked goods, they have little to offer nutritionally.

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