“What foods to eat while cutting?” This is one of the most requested topics I’ve ever been asked about so here is the breakdown!
A scientific basis for a simpler diet (15+ studies):
What Foods to Eat When Cutting
Here are a few things I’d like to mention first on the whole “what foods to eat when cutting” question:
No magical food will boost your fat loss or targets a specific are of your body fat.
Meaning, no food will target your belly fat, hip fat, gluteus fat, face fat, arm fat, chest fat or any other area. Spot reducing body fat is a myth.
At the end of the day, it’s about sustaining a calorie deficit, sufficient protein and having enough carbohydrates to fuel your performance and not going too low on fat to compromise health.
As you reach the recommend 1 gram per lbs of body weight of protein per day, it won’t matter which 2-3 sources of protein you pick.
It can be cottage cheese, regular cheese, eggs, milk, kefir, any type of meat, fish, whey or whatever else you want to eat.
Food preference is primarily based on your personal taste which is something very individual for you.
It’s highly recommended to make the bulk of your diet made out of whole healthy unprocessed foods as that will make staying in a caloric deficit easier. And a caloric deficit is how you will maximize fat loss.
#1 – A simple diet isn’t the same as a rigid and restrictive diet.
Being extremely rigid and restricting food groups isn’t sustainable long term.
Looking at the diet for weight loss research rigid dieting is associated with more frequent binges and less success long term.
Diets based on limiting an entire food group (whether it’s cutting out carbs or fats) typically don’t work out well for the majority of people.
Psychologically, if I tell you “You can’t eat chocolate” you’re probably going to want to eat it. In psychology, this is called Scarcity heuristic when an item is in “low supply” it generally is perceived as higher value.
You go out with your friends to eat, and everyone is having dessert you’ll want to have it as well, and if you feel like it’s forbidden in a lot of cases, you’ll want it even more.
Solution: Structured Flexible dieting
Have a structure, have A LOT of variety on a day to day basis from whole healthy foods, a variety of protein sources, plenty of fruits and vegetables. That is 90% of your diet.
And spend the other 10% of your calories for eating out or on others foods that you really enjoy.
A case for eating more bland and simple foods while cutting:
– Much easier to get full. Sensory-specific satiety kicks in faster.
– Fewer cravings due to unwiring from food reward and reducing hyper-palatable foods.
– Easier to keep track of nutrients. You can eyeball the amounts with enough experience.
– Easier to plan shopping.
– Less time spent on preparing food.
Overall it’s a lot less stressful approach.
And while in a calorie deficit as you’re reaching those low levels of body fat you’re already stressed out, and keeping it simple allows for much better adherence.
It’s important to find the right balance you can adhere to on the continuum of Flexibility vs. Structure.
#2 – Simple diets are extremely efficient for gains outside of the gym.
Do you eat to live or live to eat?
Instead, of spending more time on complicated meals why not spend that time on something purposeful.
In my life I’d rather spend time on coaching other to help them reach their physique goals, reading, learning, spending time with loved ones and staying active.
I’m not saying food isn’t important, but it shouldn’t be the most important thing in the world.
Same as with flexibility, here it’s necessary to fFind the right balance point on the continuum of thinking of food as fuel vs. entertainment.
The last point, by having a simpler diet you can focus more on training.
The further you progress on your fitness journey the harder it gets to make gains in the gym. At the same time, the more experience you have with nutrition, the easier it becomes.
In the first two years of training, you can make decent gains just by randomly adding weight to the bar.
At that point, it’s important to learn more about training, periodization, managing fatigue, progressive overload, technique and all other things related to training.
Nutrition is the opposite, nutrition gets easier as you get more skilled.
It’s important to know that.
Studies and Resources:
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