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3 Health Myths Debunked

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on December 3, 2015

Trying to eat healthily really is an upward climb. There is just so much information, and rather than being beneficial it just confuses people. If you just search the phrase “healthy food” on Google you will be struck with an array of different answers filled with contradictions, supposed claims, miracle promises, supplements and powders. No wonder the obesity rate in western nations is increasing, and diet related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes are killing people at a staggering rate. So many of us are confused, frustrated and simply put, getting fatter!

To get the story straight, we spoke with Tyrone Folino, a Melbourne based personal trainer and fitness advocate, who runs “Alias Coaching And Fitness,” his own personal training and wellness company, as well as “Fuel To Lift,” where he directs and hosts cooking classes, teaching people how to shop and prepare food for a healthier life. Some of his answers may shock you, but read with an open mind. After all, many of his clients have had tremendous fat loss results from his guidance and recommendations…

  • What is the biggest health issue that you think Australians are facing today?

Not wanting to eat fats. Today the biggest thing is low fat diets, and low fat diets are shit. If you take fat out of a food, all you are doing is filling it with sugar and preservatives instead. Fat makes food tastes good and its natures lubricant. It keeps everything working properly and moving smoothly.

  • What are the biggest health myths and mistakes and what do you tell your clients to de bunk these?

One health myth would be that lifting weights makes women bulky. It doesn’t. If you get bulky when you’re lifting weights you’re either still holding a lot of fat or you have pharmaceutical help. Women don’t produce enough testosterone to put on muscle like men.

Eating fat makes you fat. It doesn’t. Eating fats with processed carbs and sugars will make you fat. For example, peanut butter on toast will make you fat, but peanut butter straight from the jar won’t. I eat peanut butter from the jar all day. I go through a jar of peanut butter a week. I even tell my clients to eat butter. At one point I was eating a block of butter a week, which is 250-300g and I didn’t get fatter, in fact I got leaner.

Another health myth is the hype around packaged health foods. All those muesli and oat bars are all full of sugar. And don’t even get me started on juices.

  •  What about the whole debate on the sugar in fruits vs. processed or cane sugar?

Some clients that I put on a low carb diet ask me if I can still have fruit and my answer is “no you cant.” It doesn’t matter if it comes from a natural source, sugar is sugar, and your body will process the sugar from fruit the same way it would from a roll up or a muesli bar. Also, fructose from fruit can be bad for your gut health, which can actually slow down your metabolism even more. You need to earn your carbs. Just because it’s natural it doesn’t mean its good for you. Not saying that fruit isn’t good for you, but there is a time and place for it.

  • What are some common misconceptions or issues that you see often with many of your clients?

Just the lack of education and knowing what is good and what is not. For example, I had a client ask me if she could have McDonalds chicken nuggets on her zero carb diet.

People come to you and they tell you “yeah I eat well” and their diet is filled with crackers and cheese.

Also people think that low calorie diets will help them lose weight, but this only works for a small amount of time. If you stay in a caloric deficit for too long you will cause metabolic damage and your body will go into starvation mode and will actually start storing fat.

So all these women who go on these 1200 calorie programmes are constantly low in energy, tired, feel crappy and often have trouble falling and staying asleep because their bodies are so depleted.

  • Do you allow for or recommend an “off day” or a “cheat day” when your client can indulge in foods that they crave?

I tell my clients that they can have one “cheat meal” a week and eat whatever they like, only if they have been really good the whole other time. They don’t even have to tell me about it, but once you have that meal just stop, and get back to eating well.

A cheat meal for me would be 2 burgers, a large fries, a shake and generally a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream after. Oh, and there might also be a block of chocolate in there somewhere. I plan my cheat meal days when I am going to the soccer so I can have a jam donut too.

  • Do you think that all the modern dietary guidelines, such as 8 glasses of water and 2000 calories a day are justified? would you pass these recommendations onto your clients?

I would never recommend the food pyramid to anyone. If you eat like the food pyramid, you will look like the food pyramid. In my opinion, it is wrong and out-dated. It tells you to eat about 5-6 servings of grains and wheat, and only one serving of meat…no! It tells you to only eat fish 3 times a week. If you want to eat fish all day everyday, eat fish all day everyday. You will be lean and your omega 3s will go through the roof!

Also, telling people that they should be eating 2000 is wrong. Firstly everyone is different. That many calories a day for a male that is training is probably not enough – he will be hungry. I eat around 2500-3000 calories and train once a day and I sit at around 12% body fat. At the same time I don’t give my clients calorie restrictions per say, because if you start counting calories, you drive yourself insane. If I am too strict it wont work, they just give up and start making up numbers.

  • What do you think about current “quick fix” diet trends and meals that are delivered to your door, which have been gaining popularity amongst the diet industry within last 15 years?

Firstly, we have still been getting fatter, so it shows that they don’t work. But besides that, the food in those home delivery meals are absolute rubbish! The problem with them is that they are based on calories only and they will give you things that are packed with sugar, fats and carbs together. As soon as you stop eating them and stop having someone count your calories for you, you will put on twice as much weight as you lost. I have seen it happen with a few of my clients. What are you going to do, frozen home delivered meals for the rest of your life? It is just an excuse to keep eating what you want and feel good about it.

They also cost a lot! I spend $100-$150 per week on food and I eat over a kilo of meat a day and a lot of veggies. I do my shopping at the farmers markets, while some of the delivery meals cost about $250 – $300 per week and its only 3 meals a day.

Another issue with current diets is IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)*. I think it is a load of crap. If you’re eating your protein, but then you are still eating ice cream and chocolate everyday, you are going to get heart disease and diabetes.

Just eat real food and eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full

  • What advice do you have for anyone who may slip up on their healthy eating plan? What do you recommend that they do?

The worst thing you could do was feeling bad about what you just ate. I have had clients tell me they have felt so guilty about having cheat meals but cheat meals can be very beneficial and help you lose weight. Stressing out is going to raise your cortisone levels higher and make you store more fat. It also hinders your digestion so you wont actually extract the proper nutrients and digest your food properly. Stress stuffs up your body on all sorts of levels.

  • What about during Christmas time and holidays? What is your stance on healthy eating during festive times?

I tell my clients that between December 24 and January 2 you don’t have a diet – eat whatever you like.

A healthy diet is being able to enjoy foods in social settings. You can’t show up to Christmas lunch with your own container of food. Eating well should allow you to socialise and enjoy with your loved ones.

To speak with Tyrone visit his Facebook face on

*IIFYM is a based on the principle of “calories in, calories out” which means you won’t gain weight, regardless of food choice, so long as you don’t exceed your total caloric needs for the day. For the fitness enthusiast, IIFYM takes this concept a step further by taking macronutrient requirements (carbohydrates fats and protein) for building muscle and fat burning into account. Suddenly, pizza, burgers, and ice cream are all back on the menu, as long as it fit your macros.

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