I was talking to a friend the other day who is currently trying to gain muscle mass. He is a bit of a hard gainer (meaning not so easy to put on weight) so he has read everywhere that staying anabolic is essential for muscle growth. How do you stay anabolic? Ensure you have enough calories coming in and better still if you can surpass it slightly. This tip has worked tremendously for him, but he told me that he is starting to feel flabby. Yes, he has gained some good weight, but he has also gained some bad weight as well...around the mid section.
He has been doing zig zagging for awhile now, meaning he would stay anabolic on muscle gain days (meaning eat past your calories requirements for the day) and weight loss days (where he would eat slightly below is caloric requirement for the day). So it worked great in the beginning, but he is starting to see the unsightly bulges appear slowly. So what can he do to maintain the healthy mass he has built (or better still actually build up some more) while trying to reduce his body fat %. I explained to him to its going to be hard to do both on the same day. So we took a closer look at his food intake during muscle gain days and found the problem.
Though it is OK for you to consume some unhealthy stuff which is high in calories during muscle gain days, you also have to keep in mind that you need protein to help you gain muscle mass, not just empty calories. Some carbohydrates are great in helping you achieve the high calorie requirement, but not so good at providing you with the protein you need. Hence we both cam up with the term "garbage food".
What exactly is garbage food? Garbage food is kinda like junk food, but the scientific definition we came up with was Food that is high in fat content or high calorie, but zero or no other nutrition, especially protein. In other words, there are many foods out there which are just plain high in calories and fat content, but provide you with almost zero nutrition. Let me give you some examples:
Cha Koi - Oh boy... Malaysians sure do love these oily deep fried flour sticks. Cha Koi is basically dough that is deep fried and it expands tremendously in the ho
t oil. Yes, i too succumb to this guilty temptation from time to time, but its extremely oily and almost zero nutritional value.
Junk Food - Most junk foods in packets are like the name suggests. Just plain junk. Again, a medium sized bag of junk food could give you a whopping 500 calories, but again, with no other nutritional value
Roti Canai - Yes, Malaysia's most popular dish that since transformed into various other forms such as roti tissue, roti bom, roti pisang, roti susu.... the list just goes on and on. Again, roti canai is high in fat and calories and not much other nutrition can be found in there. Not saying that roti canai has 0g of protein, but if i had to choose between 2 boiled eggs and a roti canai for my protein source, you know which one i will go for
Mee goreng, maggi goreng etc - Most people i know go to their favourite mamak shop for lunch. Though there is nothing wrong with the mamak shop, many people end up ordering fried delicacies such as maggi goreng and mee goreng. Yes, there is an egg thrown in there, but the rest of the other ingredients are almost all garbage foods themselves. From the oily yellow noodles they use, to the "flour and onion fritters", its nothing but a good mix of different garbage foods.
These are just some of the most common garbage foods out there which most people eat on a regular basis. YES, you can eat it from time to time, but the problem i have noticed is, that most people eat these foods most of the time. If you are trying to gain muscle mass, yes you want to stay anabolic by getting enough calories in, but there are loads of other healthier options to stay anabolic besides chowing down garbage food.
Instead of choosing garbage foods like the ones mentioned above, make it a point to choose foods that may be high in calorie, but high in protein content as well. Also, where possible, you want to choose foods that have lower fat content. The worst choice you can make is one that is high in calorie, high in fat and extremely low in protein and other nutrients. If you find foods like that, its garbage food, and there is only one place it belongs... in the garbage bin.
So what are of the other garbage foods out there that you can think of? Which ones do you consume regularly? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.