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Frequently Asked Questions

No. There are pros to tracking calories. And there are cons. Your personal context and goals matter.

Here are some of those pros and cons: The Pros & Cons of Counting Calories

Easiest thing to do to watch this video and download the free Sigma Nutrition macronutrient calculator: http://sigmanutrition.com/sigma-nutrition-macronutrient-calculator/
For most people a daily protein intake of somewhere between 1.5 – 2.5 g per kg of bodyweight is probably a good starting point.

For athletes and lean individuals in a calorie deficit, aiming towards to the top end of that range is advisable. For those or have no focus on muscle mass or those who are eating at maintenance/ calorie surplus that figure can be at the lower end.

To maximize muscle hypertrophy or retention, it is advisable to have 3-4 evenly spaced meals with about 0.25 – 0.4 g/kg in each one.

Animal sources are better for muscle protein synthetic response due to the amino acid profile and leucine content.

More details: Researchers Point to the Optimal Protein Dose, Timing & Distribution to Maximize Muscle

Energy balance is the difference between calories coming into the body and calories being expended by the body.

Fat balance is the difference in fat being stored in adipocytes (fat cells) versus fat being released and oxidized. On a given day, regardless of whether you are in a calorie surplus/deficit/balance, the processes of storing and releasing fat from fat cells will be continually running in cycles throughout the day. These processes just happen in different proportions at different times, depending on the timing of meals, exercise, fasting, etc.

Read this for all the details: Calorie Deficits #1: Understanding the Nuances of Energy Balance

Not necessarily. Sometimes more “aggresive” or rapid fat loss can work well.

Some people fear aggresive dieting because they feel it will cause muscle loss or cause more fat to be re-gained in the long-term. However, in many people these things either don’t happen or are largely irrelevant in the long-term.

More details in these two posts:

Is Slow & Steady Actually the Best Way to Diet?

The Pros and Cons of Aggressive Dieting

Short answer: Yes, they can be. But that doesn’t mean they are superior for a given individual. In terms of physiology, if you match calories and protein between two diets, the level of carbohydrate will likely be irrelevant for changes in body fat.

For full context, please read this: Just How Effective is Low-Carb Dieting?

Short answer: For most people, consuming gluten should pose no health risks. For a small percentage of people it can be; about 1% of the population will have Coeliac disease and another 5-6% will be have non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), based on currently available evidence.

For all the details to explain this, consult our 4-part series on gluten, starting here:
Gluten Revisited: Can I Eat That Sandwich?

Salt isn’t something that should necessarily be feared. For most people, it’s effect on blood pressure is relatively small. And some people may actively need to include more sodium in their diet (e.g. athletes who lose sodium through lots of sweating).

All your salt questions will be answered in this post: Should You Be Scared of Eating Salt?

Technically, yes. If you eat more dietary fat you will burn more fat. But this does NOT mean you’ll necessarily lose more body fat. Losing body fat will still be predominantly based on being in a caloric deficit.

This concept is fully explained here: Eat More Fat, Burn More Fat: Myth, Magic or Metabolic Advantage?

Sigma Nutrition & Performance offer world-class, comprehensive online coaching.

Full details are here: Sigma Online Coaching

Not really, no. We don’t become addicted to sugar (or any other nutrient for that matter). Research shows there may be eating addiction, which is more of a behvioural issue, rather than a dependancy on a compound.

High-sugar foods are hyperpalatable and so can drive us to overconsume them. But we are not “addicted” to the sugar in them per se.

Full explanation and context (including research references) in this very short podcast: SNR #146: Is Sugar Addiction a Real Thing? (A Scientific View)

Most the vast majority of people (and athletes), I think they are totally pointless.

Explanation and context here: SNR #134: Are BCAA’s Worthless?

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