Common Diet & Exercise Beliefs – Fact or Fiction?

Kristin Shaffer Diet

With the incredible amount of information today quite literally available at our fingertips, it’s sometimes difficult to decide what we should or shouldn’t believe when it comes to diet and exercise.

In this age of information, there is information overload, right?! You can Google just about anything,  especially in the diet and exercise realm, and find all sorts of stuff out there – but you DON’T know sometimes if this information is fact and what is fiction. There’s just a bunch of CRAP candidly and it’s hard to sort through that! So today, we are going to discuss 10 common diet beliefs, and we are going to examine them to see if they are fact or fiction.

First, just to prove that I PRACTICE what I PREACH – let me tell you this. I’m right now about 26 weeks out from the Emerald Cup, which is the LARGEST fitness, figure, bodybuilding competition in the northwest. So, I’ve started my prep. Now, I know that 26 weeks may sound like a long time….but when it comes down to it, you know it takes time to strip off fat and gain muscle. I looked at my photos from last year and the year prior, and noticed some things that I want to tweak and change. It’s going to take about 26 weeks to do so. Therefore, when I tell you it takes time…I MEAN IT!!!

So let’s dive right in.

Keep reading or if you prefer, check out the video below.

Fact of Fiction #1 – Microwaving Food Kills Nutrientsthis one is actually a FACT but with a caveat. ALL cooking of food KILLS NUTRIENTS, microwaving is no different and studies show that microwaving food is probably one of the BEST ways that you can cook it as LONG as you DON’T use too much WATER. It’s the use of water oftentimes that pulls nutrients from foods that are processed and boiling is the WORST way to cook food. If you don’t want to pull nutrients from your foods – DON’T COOK IT AT ALL, EAT IT RAW…except, of course, with meat! THAT would be a bad idea! ☺

#2 – Fact or Fiction – Wheat Flour is better than White Flour eeeehhhhh wrong answer! FICTION…pretty much all flours of all grains have the same amount when they are brought into the body. They are absorbed really quickly and they SPIKE our insulin levels. So as YOU’VE heard me say before…if you’re not running a marathon while you’re consuming it, you’re probably going to STORE it as FAT. A good tip is that probably the best bread you can have is sprouted grain bread or EZEKIEL bread; just watch the calories because a little bit goes a LONG way!

#3 – Milk is GOOD For Methis one is TRUE, BUT, with a disclaimer. ☺ You may have seen my video all about milk. If not, check it out. It is REALLY GOOD! Milk is generally good for us because it has a lot of nutrients, ESPECIALLY Calcium, but if you are TRYING to LOSE FAT it can be VERY DETRIMENTAL because lactose IS sugar and milk has A TON of LACTOSE. This means that is has a TON OF SUGAR (duh…) So, if you are trying to lose fat, milk MAY NOT be the BEST OPTION. You can get calcium from other sources. I know from experience that if I add a latte to my diet EVEN though I am REDUCING CALORIES – I HAVE A MUCH HARDER TIME stripping off!!!

#4 – Fact or Fiction – Fruit Is Good for Me this one is also a…FACT! Fruit is generally really good for us, right?! It is high in fibers and it has a lot of nutrients, but AGAIN, you’ve got to watch out for those SUGARS! Fruit is VERY high is sugars, especially the fruits that have kind of been genetically altered in our modern society. A LITTLE BIT of fruit is really good for us but at the RIGHT times. With a lot of fruit, it’s going to be really hard to strip that fat off. WATCH for that!

#5 – Fact or Fiction – Eating Fat, Makes Us Fateeehhhh, FALSE. Remember the days of Snack Well’s? I sure do. I was a teenager or so when ALL the rage was ‘cut fat out of your diet and that will help you lose weight,’ and that’s when Snack Well’s came out. They made all of these really high sugary snacks and foods, and candies, and cookies and…oh my gosh! People were consuming them like crazy and guess what – getting fatter! That’s because fat in itself, the GOOD fats, are NOT generally bad for us. Healthy fats like those we get from nuts and fish…that’s really good for us. However, unhealthy fats are additives into processed foods and in too much red meat. Studies have shown that is JUST AS BAD for us. So fat in itself, the healthy kind, WILL NOT make us fat…that one is FICTION.

#6 – Eating More Protein Will Increase My Metabolismthis one is, TRUE! The body needs to spend MORE ENERGY to process proteins than it does carbohydrates or fats…actually A LOT MORE. This is called the ‘Thermogenic Effect’ of food. It’s how much energy the body needs to use in order to process and break down the foods in your body. Protein has a VERY HIGH thermogenic effect but AGAIN, it is ALL ABOUT MODERATION and it’s all about being WITHIN REASON. Too much protein in your diet and not allowing enough carbohydrates and fats to sustain normal bodily functions can be HARMFUL.

ANOTHER FACT: rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning, is a form of acute malnutrition caused by excess consumption of any lean meat (e.g., rabbit) coupled with a lack of other sources of nutrients.

A little tip for you…ADDING FIBER to your meals helps as well. I am a HUGE proponent of adding some vegetables to every meal. Without fiber it is really hard, or nearly impossible, for the body to break down that protein that causes that thermogenic effect and increases your metabolism.

#7 – Fact or Fiction – I eat very few carbohydrates, I will lose weight FASTthis one is a FACT, BUT it is not necessarily good for you. Here is why.  You may have heard about the ATKIN’S Diet, right? That was a very low if not a zero carbohydrate diet – sometimes this is called a Keto Diet (Ketogenic diet.) You WILL lose weight very, VERY fast but it’s SHORT TERM!!! You will probably lose muscle in the process and over time the less muscle you have, the LESS CALORIES YOU WILL BURN. This can get you get into this very dangerous cycle. Plus, once you got onto the keto diet, and then you start introducing carbohydrates back into your diet, your body is going to react VERY quickly to those carbohydrates. You are more than likely going to GAIN A TON of weight back – VERY FAST. So again, I am a HUGE proponent of having carbohydrates in your diet. It is ESSENTIAL for muscles gains, energy and fat loss. NOT to mention – healthy brain function! ☺

#8 – Fact or Fiction – Exercising on an empty stomach will burn fat fasterthis one, I am going to say – is a little bit of BOTH. Fact AND fiction and candidly the studies are STILL mixed on this. Again, it’s all about moderation. I am a proponent of getting up in the morning and doing fasted cardio before your first meal of the day.

TIP: Resistance training on an empty stomach is not advised. Fuel up before and after a weight training session for maximum benefit.

#9 – Fact or Fiction – Eating more smaller meals a day increases metabolismeeehhhh, this one is FICTION! I know – surprising, huh?! Eating smaller meals DOES have a benefit, ESPECIALLY when it comes to ‘protein synthesis.’ Essentially, what that means is how well your body absorbs and uses PROTEIN. Protein helps to build muscle, so there is evidence and studies that show that the smaller, more frequent meals a day, helps with protein synthesis. It also helps build more muscle tissue….THEN, that in effect, DOES increase your metabolism (because you are burning more calories to support that muscle tissue). So sort of, IN A WAY, eating more meals a day DOES increase metabolism. Therefore, I am a huge proponent of more smaller, frequent meals throughout the day. It also helps with hunger.

Last but not least…

#10 – Fact of Fiction – You NEED to wash chicken before you handle itboy oh boy, did I cause a LOT of controversy with this one! Go ahead and check out some of my videos ‘meals for fat loss’ and ‘meals in two hours’ (that was one of the first videos I did like 2 years ago.) Oh my goodness, there was a plethora of comments from people about how I DID NOT wash the chicken before I handled it and cooked it (yeah, I did that ☺)! NOW – this one is actually FICTION. You do NOT NEED to WASH CHICKEN before handling it. You DO NEED to WASH YOUR HANDS before handling other foods. The FDA now recommends that you don’t wash chicken before because that can SPREAD the bacteria with the micro-droplets of water that just spreads the bacteria around. Now why…washing it does not KILL the bacteria but COOKING it DOES. THEREFORE, washing chicken to kill bacteria is FICTION.

What other diet and exercise beliefs do you wonder if they are true or not?  Ask below and I’ll do my best to answer with science-based candor…

With love,


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Kristin, thanks for the great video! It’s so difficult to sift through all the information out there, so you just made my life a little easier! 😉
    I’m 45 and started the bodybuilding lifestyle earlier this year. I competed in two bikini competitions and was super happy with how far I came in 8 months of prep.
    My question to you is: what do you eat when you crave something sweet? Are there any “approved” recipes or products that you indulge in once in a while? (Or every day?) 🙂
    I’ve got my workouts and foods down, but I have a nasty sugar addiction that I’ve been managing with protein bars, fruits, and sugar free pudding.
    Feel free to be real honest w me! 🙂
    Thanks, Vivian

    • Hi Vivian! That’s so awesome that you’re competing! Sounds like you and I have similar feelings about it. I love it not for the competition aspect, but for the goal setting and achievement aspects. It gives me something to work for other than “I want to lose x pounds”.

      I too struggle with sugar cravings and have some thoughts on your questions. I personally have found the more sugar I have, the more I crave. So the best thing I have done for myself is to “detox” so to speak? If I give in to my cravings and eat something sweet I’m much too likely to keep going.

      Now having said that, not everyone struggles with the slippery slope like I do. And if you’re one of those individuals who can have sweets in moderation without any difficulties you have many options. Sugar-free pudding (with unsweetened almond milk)… sugar-free jello is a great one… sugar-free gum… fruit (in small quantities)… etc.

      Just remember all calories count. So if you’re going to have those you need to count them as part of your daily total calorie count.

      Most of those I would not have during my last 12 weeks of prep for a show though.

      I hope that helps! With love ~Kristin <3

      • Like your approach and energy!

        I prep too and find when I don’t it is not so successfu!

        • Thank you!

          With love,