These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For is one of the largest online communities on the web.  Occasionally I will check out their articles as they typically have guest postings by many high profile athletes in the fitness and bodybuilding industry.  Recently my bullshit detector went off and it really drove home the points I made in my introductory post on this site.

Obi Obadike, the self professed “world’s most ripped fitness model” – which is a little pretentious by itself, no? – occasionally writes on as a nutritional expert.  I probably should put “expert” in quotes because every time I read one of his articles I find myself wanting to send an S.O.S. out to any of the gullible readers who see his body composition and take anything written as gospel.

This really is the epitome of broscience to the utmost degree whereby you take the anecdotal ramblings of jacked dudes and consider them more credible than actual scientific research.

Which leads me to this.  In his reoccurring column titled “ask the ripped dude”, Obi attempts to address the topic of carbohydrate usage as part of a solid nutrition plan for athletes in training.  Okay, so far so good.  How long does it take the train to derail?  Not long as the very first sentence in the second paragraphs states:

Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient.

Well, technically they aren’t, Obi.  An essential macronutrient defined as a nutrient required for survival which cannot be produced naturally by the body.  Since the liver is easily able to produce enough glycogen for the brain and select tissues then it doesn’t qualify as an essential nutrient.  If the rest of the article wasn’t so ripe with failures then I’d give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you meant it was essential for the training athlete but I digress.

Moving along to the bullet-points in the article and I see that Obi states:

It’s best to consume carbs in the morning when your body is calorie-deprived from sleeping. Your glucose tolerance is typically at its highest during the morning, so having breakfast with a big portion of your daily carb intake is very important.

So according to Obi, you must eat the majority of your carbohydrates in the morning (“very important” are the exact words used) because glucose tolerance is at its highest point.  The only problem with this is that it just isn’t true.  In fact, study after study, derail the thought that eating breakfast is important in general as it relates to body composition, fat loss, and strength.  I’ll talk more about the timing of your carbohydrate intake in a minute, but having the majority of them at breakfast is completely counter-intuitive at best, and just plain wrong at worst.

Unless you do a late-night gym session, avoid eating carbs at night. My rule is that, generally, you shouldn’t eat carbs after 7 p.m. If you consume carbs when your body isn’t doing enough physical activity to burn them, then your body will just store them as fat.

Wow, just wow.  I actually had to double-check that I wasn’t on the Onion when I read this statement.  I mean, this is the epitome of Broscience at its best worst.  According to Mr. Obadike, if I eat carbs after 7PM then they will just be stored as fat.  This isn’t the first time I heard this though, a guy at the gym also taught me this, although he was doing double medicine ball squats at the time.

First off, let’s talk about diet-induced thermogenesis, otherwise known as the thermic effect of food.  In simplest terms, caloric ingestion and metabolic rates should be measured over longer periods than simply from meal to meal.  Thinking that you must avoid an entire class of foods after 7PM is just as bad as the long standing belief that you must eat frequently to “stoke the metabolic fire”.  I mean, are we to believe that the body has an internal clock and knows when quitting time for carbohydrates is?  As long as your are following the energy in < energy out methodology, it makes little difference when you eat your food or what macronutrient you are eating at what time.

Next, let’s talk about why Obi fails when he tries to convince his readers that carbohydrates will be stored as fat, regardless of the time you eat them.  In reality, carbohydrates very rarely get stored as fat.  In actuality, guess what actually does get stored as fat?  Hey, it’s fat…imagine that.  Poor Obi thinks that simply by timing your carbohydrate intake improperly, they will wind up contributing to that spare tire around your gut.  The fact of the matter is that it just doesn’t work that way.  The body converts carbohydrates to fat in a process known as de novo lipogenesis.  In reality this just doesn’t occur unless you are chronically overfeeding on carbohydrates over the course of many days.  We aren’t talking about that late night pasta binge but rather 700-1000 grams per day over the course of a week.

If Obi would have said something to the effect of “eating carbs after 7PM could be bad if you’ve already exceeded your allotted caloric intake for the day” then I would have given him a pass but the statement as it stands now is just wrong.  Eating excess carbs can potentially lead to fat as your body’s ability to oxidize fat stores can be diminished but that can happen independent of when the carbohydrates are consumed.  The great Lyle McDonald has a post on this topic which gets down and dirty on the mechanisms at work in fat storage.

Don’t eat all of your daily carbs in one sitting. Instead, spread them out over small portions to keep your energy high and your body fueled.

With this lack of nutritional knowledge, I really must ask who edits these articles before they are posted?  This false assumption touches on the thermic effect of food which I talked about earlier.  To put it bluntly, you don’t need to eat frequently to “stoke the metabolic fire”.  It just isn’t true and isn’t based on science but rather what some dude at the gym preaches to other folks while they compare how much they bench.  Judging by Obi’s other articles, he just simply doesn’t understand basic metabolic science.

Sadly, some less informed readers over at will see Obi’s profile picture and think that they must follow all the advice within the article and that makes me sad.  Things like this are what got me into the industry in the first place.  Fortunately, judging by the comments on the article, some folks do possess the ability to spot broscience but others not so much.

It just appears as if the nutritional force isn’t strong with Obi Wan Obadike…

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