I have been inspired to write a piece on this, as someone who has been “through it all’ – from being an aerobics instructor, to a Group Fitness Manager, Sports Model competitor, Bikini competitor, Figure competitor, Personal Trainer and now business owner. It is safe to say I have done everything and tried everything!
For as long as I can remember I have continuously been bombarded on Facebook daily with comments and status updates by aspiring and current competitors, general gym junkies and health fanatics touching on the topic of egg whites and how many serves of them they have per day to get ripped and into shape!
The question is, is this really the key to getting ‘ripped’?
So let’s talk about it. What is it essentially that you are doing by eliminating the yolk out of the egg? You are decreasing the ‘fatty’ content of the meal thus decreasing the calorie intake, correct? As Charles Poliquin once told me “Egg whites are for dorks”… I think there it a lot of truth in that statement!
I will run through this in my own way that will hopefully make it easier for you to be sure what you are doing is actually good for your goals and health, as you should be aware of the long-term side effects before you start tucking into this every day.
Did you know that cutting out your essential fat intake – Ladies this especially applies to you – i.e. ditching the yolk and going to fat-free options can lead to many health risks? Although this may look like an attractive solution in the beginning, it may have some detrimental effects later on!
So a few things that you should take into account:
1) You Need Good Fats
You need good fats (not bad fats i.e trans fats – which essentially WILL make you fat, and eventually kill you), to keep your cells more insulin sensitive, enhance your metabolism and increase your energy production. The cholesterol in eggs is also a pregnenolone precursor, which is the raw material for all of our steroid hormones. The less of these you have the less anabolic you will be. Negative side effects can be low libido and fertility levels, difficulty in building lean muscle and burning body fat along with weaker adrenal glands.
2) Increased Vitamin Deficiency Risk
It is commonly known that the ‘fat-free’ option also means that you will not be taking in the essential amount of nutrients and vitamins from your food, as a diet devoid in good fats can interfere with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Basically your body needs fat to utilize them effectively! They are important for our immune system, cell repair and blood clotting and if you are not eating enough fat in your diet these vitamins will be excreted leaving you at a higher risk for vitamin deficiency.
Well, I cannot tell you the countless, COUNTLESS times I have had the Fitness Model, Sports Model and Figure competitor come up to me and say;
“I want to compete again, please help me prepare, I eat 8 servings of egg whites per day… oh, and I’m depressed and want to kill myself!”
Is there a direct correlation? YES! A diet that is too low in fat, meaning essential fatty acids will, I repeat WILL hurt your mental health. Both Omega 3s and 6s play roles in your mood and behavior. In fact their is a direct link between a lack of Omega 3 intake and serotonin deficiency, serotonin being your “happy” brain chemical. EFA’s are also catalysts for your hormonal health and help with stable neurotransmitter function. So, if you are feeling depressed and you are cutting the fat out of your diet – hey bingo, you may have just found out why!
4) Disturbed Menstrual Cycles
If you follow this for too long you can increase the risk of developing Amenorrhea – losing the wonderful gift we have of menstruating regularly or at all!
Now, I’m not going to slam you for being on the ‘Egg White Train’, because as I said in my opening paragraph… I did it too at one stage, before I was educated on the right way of preparing for a contest and I guess before I took my sport and more importantly, my body, seriously.
At the time I won an International title and competed on the World stage in USA in 2010, you bet I was NOT eating egg whites nor was I cutting the essential fats out of my diet. And I truly was in the best condition I had ever been in through consuming a high protein and high fat diet, which was introduced to me by my fiancee and business partner Daine McDonald.
Check out these two photos and you can see the difference yourself:
What do you think? I’m picking Pic B right? Pic A, I look like an emancipated, drawn faced holocaust survivor! And let me tell you, the smile on my face is not genuine – because I was suffering from Point 1 through to 4. Hungry, depressed, Mal-nourished and infertile!
Yes that’s right, prior to all the revelation on this debate, around the time of Pic A, I was being mislead by so called health and industry experts. I lost my menstrual cycle for 4 years, thankfully now after choosing smarter nutritional choices, it has returned.
So, my next question would be. Who are you listening to and what qualifications to they have to be advising you to go down this path?
Check them out do they have a resume, what’s on it… just a Cert III & IV? Are they even registered? I can’t count how many times I have seen people and so called “Champion’s” on Facebook giving advice who are not even registered fitness professionals! Would you go to a handyman for legal advice? No… so why is it any different when it comes to health and fitness?
You need someone who truly knows their stuff, an industry leader and someone with multiple recognized courses under their belt both here and internationally. Someone who can analyze pathology and has a track record of producing healthy champions and clients… the emphasis here is on HEALTHY! I only really refer to PICP and BioSignature certified coaches, as they generally are educated in the fields of exercise prescription, nutrition and functional medicine.
Do your homework girls, don’t fall into the trap of going along with a fad, use your brain and do your research. YOUR BODY IS YOUR TEMPLE, if you treat it poorly you’ll be paying the price later on, trust me!!
Yours in health,
p.s; Be sure to also LIKE my company’s Facebook page to stay up to date with all things health and fitness related and tips on how to achieve a healthy and optimal physique in 2012!