The ‘Science based bodybuilding’ myth.

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We have all know this nutritional ‘science’ by heart and dont give it much of a thought:

1g fat has 9 calories
1g carbohydrate has 4 calories
1g protein has 4 calories

Right? Well, take this test then scroll down to look at the answer. How many calories does one serving of Cocoa powder have? One serving has .5g fat, 3g carbs, and 1g protein which I summarize in the below table:

0.5g fat * 9 calories/g = 4.5 calories
3.0g carbs * 4calories/g = 12 calories
1g protein * 4 calories/g = 4 calories

So, how many calories in one serving???? Scroll down for your answer
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0.5g fat * 9 calories/g = 4.5 calories
3.0g carbs * 4calories/g = 12 calories
1g protein * 4 calories/g = 4 calories
20.5 calories

Total calories for this serving of cocoa powder should be 20.5 calories but it is listed as 10 calories on the label! Calories are off by 100%!.

OK, like me you think. Its simply because of the rounding errors in the small portion size so I look at nutritiondata.com and get this for a 100g portion size:

cocoa-powder

 

14g fat * 9 calories/g = 126 calories
58g carbs * 4calories/g = 232 calories
20g protein * 4 calories/g = 80 calories
438 calories

Yet when you examine the label, it says 228 calories – again off by about 100%

OK, “net carbs” you say! Nope! Even if you subtract out the fiber from the carbs you are STILL way off on the calories. Next time you hear someone going on and on about how bodybuilding and nutrition is science and pointing to this study and that study as “proving” things, show them this. We cant even figure out how many calories fat, protein, and carbohydrate have! We dont understand nearly as much about food and how it is digested as people would lead you to believe. It appears as though it is simply not possible to predict how much energy the human body will get out of a specific food, especially when there is a lot of fiber in it.

Its funny, this all came about because I thought I had a bug in my CustomMealPlanner software, take a look at these wacked out macros

The ‘Science based bodybuilding’ myth.

So the moral of the story is, remember that nutrition and bodybuilding is a very imprecise science.  Its ok to let science guide you gently but don’t put blinders on and refuse to do things we know work just because there are no research studies “proving” it.  Remember that research never “proves” anything, it merely suggests.  Also remember that many people waving the science banner are cherry picking research that backs their point up without looking at the meta-research which is usually a lot less definitive.  

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