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Are Bodybuilding Diets Healthy

Bodybuilding diets are usually based on an increased protein intake, avoiding ultra-processed “fast” foods, and bulking and cutting cycles. Our research has shown that many aspects of the bodybuilding diets are beneficial and healthy, but not all of them

OUR ANALYSIS WAS CORROBORATED BY PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC PAPERS.

Bodybuilders usually have protein at every meal, some containing of shakes. Full meals will typically consist of a lean animal protein such as a grilled chicken breast or piece of fish, vegetables, and perhaps a starch such as sweet potatoes or rice. Overall, this type of diet includes 4000 calories a day: 300 grams of protein and 500 grams of carbs.

Bodybuilding diets include bulking and cutting cycles, where the bulking cycle lasts for eight to twelve weeks while the cutting cycle goes for a however long person need to remove the unwanted amount of fat.

In this article, we have collected valuable data on the impact bodybuilding diets have on health and answered is high protein diet, rigorous calorie counting, and usage of supplements healthy.

High Protein Diets

High protein diets summaryProtein, the most satiating macronutrient, can benefit your healthy diet. High intake of protein should not cause health problems.
According to a study by Paddon-Jones D, et al. under the title “Protein, weight management, and satiety” to maintain a healthy diet your body needs lots of proteins – the most satiating macronutrient and less junk food. In addition to supporting weight loss, protein provides the body with some essential benefits. Three main advantages of protein may include:
1. Providing enzymes that help power thousands of chemical reactions throughout the body
2. Helping the body maintain and repair hair, skin, muscles, and bones
3. Certain proteins are necessary to produce hormones that help the body’s organs and cells to communicate

Protein also provides amino acids. There are 22 amino acids, nine of which are essential (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) to obtain from the diet because the body does not produce them. Protein from animals tends to contain all of the amino acids, so people relate to it as a complete protein. In opposition, many plant proteins only provide some of the amino acids, suggesting that people need to combine them with other protein sources to get all of the essential amino acids.

But how much protein is too much protein?

A study by Antonio J, et al. “The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition–a crossover trial in resistance-trained men” did not note any problems with liver, kidneys, heart, or bone health caused by high protein intake.
Studies around protein intake and longevity are still in early development. Also, the question is still not answered completely due to the cost and ethical concerns of this type of research.
Objective advice on this issue is to provide a mixed diet, with periods of high protein intake combined with periods of either lower protein consumption or some form of fasting.

High Protein Intake For Every Meal

High Protein Intake every mealIt is healthy to consume more than 30 grams of protein in one meal. The muscle gains after three to four meals are reasonably small.
The myth that you can absorb only 30 grams of protein per meal is proven to be false.
A study by Helms ER, Aragon AA, Fitschen PJ. under the title “Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation” pointed out that the marginal muscle gains after three to four meals are reasonably small. Still, due to this fact, bodybuilders expand their protein intake in several meals during the day to maximize mass.

Benefits of Non-Protein Food

Benefits of vegetables and carbsFor a balanced and efficient bodybuilder’s diet, meals should include proteins and vegetables. Starch consumption doesn’t lead to fat accumulation while ultra-processed food increases weight gain.
Eating fiber-rich food is proven to be beneficial for your health in a study by Candida J Rebello, et al. published under the title “Dietary Strategies to Increase Satiety”.
Aside from protein, bodybuilders usually eat vegetables such as rice and spinach, or potatoes and broccoli. Starch consumption doesn’t lead to fat accumulation due to heavy training and calorie loss. On the other hand, the study showed that including too much ultra-processed food in your diet essentially increases food intake and weight gain.

Calorie Counting

Calorie counting summaryCalorie counting is a helpful tool in keeping track of your weight gain or loss. But, counting calories (as a behavior) can actually create or develop mental health issues.
Calories represent the amount of energy your body gets from what you eat and drink.

Calorie counting can help you keeping track of weight gain or loss and bodybuilders were among the pioneers in this particular activity. In the process of losing weight, keep a healthy and sustainable calorie deficit. To maintain weight, balance your calorie intake to your calorie needs. You need 2,000 calories a day to sustain your weight, but your actual need will depend on your height, weight, gender, and activity levels.

A study “Calorie Counting and Fitness Tracking Technology: Associations With Eating Disorder Symptomatology” by Courtney C Simpson, Suzanne E Mazzeo associated calorie counting to eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even anxiety.
The opinions on this topic are divided. The best advice you can follow towards calorie counting is to trust yourself and keep counting if it works for you.

Bulking And Cutting Cycles

Bulking and cutting cycles summaryBulking and cutting cycles can cause organ damage and other serious health hazards.
According to a study “Weight Loss, Psychological, and Nutritional Patterns in Competitive Male Body Builders” by R E Andersen, et al. repeatedly bulking and cutting cycles may induce organ damage or other long-term consequences.
“Dirty” bulking – consumption of unhealthy food – may cause immense weight gain. That can guide to bodybuilders invariability to lose their competitions unless they take the right combination of anabolics or have exceptional genetics.

Gut health (due to disturbances in gut flora from wild differences in diet) and cardiometabolic health (exacerbated by stresses from heavy exercise during wild oscillations in diet) may be at danger from “dirty” bulks and drastic cuts.

Supplements

Summary of supplementsSupplements are used to maintain and improve health although some studies have indicated that usage of supplements can be dangerous if not used correctly.
Supplements include vitamins, minerals, and herbal products. Bodybuilders use supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health. But some supplements are being sold illegally and can be very dangerous.

Sports supplements have become increasingly popular among bodybuilders. People interested in fitness and improving their physique may choose supplements that can enhance their muscle growth when combined with exercise, such as weightlifting.They may also look for ways to keep control of their appetite when they’re trying to lose weight as part of a bodybuilding diet. Illegal supplements have been linked to a small number of deaths.

Despite being illegal to sell, there’s evidence that these are still available to buy online so the advice is to be extremely careful with this kind of supplement intake and to consult your nutrition specialist before any actions.

In the year 2015, a study “Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Events Related to Dietary Supplements” by Geller AI, et al. noted 23.000 emergency room visits in the United States per year due to supplements side effects.
Some supplements influence hormones and basic metabolic processes and if used for a certain amount of time they can jeopardize your health.

Allison King
Allison King
Allison holds a PhD in Biology specializing in cell and molecular biology and undergraduate degree in biochemistry with a minor in theoretical physics. She has taught at four universities in Eastern Canada and currently consults masters and doctoral students. She believes that peer-reviewed scientific research is the best source when looking for information on a given subject. Allison also lives a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and enjoys competing in various races including half marathons and triathlons.