CrossFit Nutrition Guidelines Are Not Healthy

CrossFit Nutrition is a Scam

If you follow the CrossFit nutrition guidelines, you’ve been scammed by make believe nutrition experts – they aren’t really experts because no nutrition expert would write such nonsense. You remember playing make believe as a kid? Well, CrossFit is still playing. 

CrossFit has so many things wrong with their nutrition manual that they should stick in a fire and let it burn. Here is a snapshot of some of their advice:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. To optimize health and fitness, you will need to measure and record intake, evaluate performance and potentially change intake until the desired results are achieved. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Excess intake of high glycemic carbohydrates are the primary cause of nutrition related health issues. They recommend the Zone diet.

The Truth:

How can you eat fruit and no sugar? Unless you are sticking with avocados and olives only. All other fruit has naturally occurring sugar in it.

“Not body fat”? Body fat in healthy levels is essential for health. In the body, fats have several vital roles: hormone production, protecting our organs, serving as a source of energy, reproduction, and helping carry vitamins and other compounds as well as nervous system functioning.

No, you don’t need to measure and record your food intake. In fact, for many ppl, this can be a recipe for disordered eating and a totally wrecked body image. Sometimes recording is helpful, other times it is a disaster. Let a professional guide you. 

High glycemic carbs – they talk about how high glycemic foods (including potatoes) raise insulin which is liked to obesity. The carbohydrate-insulin-obesity hypothesis was disproven by Kevin Hall, PhD about 4 years ago

Another thing they say “If you could not have harvested it out of your own garden or farm and eaten it an hour later, it is not food….If it has a label on it, it is not food… if it is not perishable, it is not food.” This is not practical for many people, it’s costly, nonsense and completely excludes lower income individuals, hard-working single parents who don’t have time to prep meals, people who don’t have access to fresh food, those who don’t want to cook and many others. How about we be a little more inclusive when we preach nutrition? Not to mention you can definitely steer from these guidelines and still improve health. Canning and freezing lock in nutrition value. Many non-perishable foods are a lifesaver for those who don’t have the time, access or desire to cook meals daily. 

Shop the perimeter of the store.
This is advice from about 1990. Let it go. The isles have plenty of healthy foods. 

CrossFit relies on the Zone Diet

But, the Zone Diet is complete garbage. It preaches 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat and 30% protein as a way to control the hormone insulin. “For those eating according to Zone parameters, body fat comes off fast.” There is no research or plausible reason that eating a 40/30/30 diet melts off body fat. Our hormones don’t magically go “oh wait that apple snack is better with nuts on the side to balance it out and for ideal hormone levels.” Again, this “raising insulin = obesity,” model of weight gain was disproven years ago. Insulin alone is not responsible for weight gain.

CrossFit Has Meal Plans, But They Aren’t Good for Muscle

CrossFit has meal plans in “blocks” or units of food. Looking at mine I can eat 2 whole eggs, 2/3 cup cooked oatmeal and 6 almonds for breakfast. That’s about 280 calories which is very little and 17 grams of protein on the high end. At dinner I would be allowed 2 oz. of chicken! 2 freaking ounces! That’s nothing. Given the research on meal patterns and how much protein we should consume in a sitting to maximize muscle growth and repair, this isn’t the best plan to follow if my goal is to build muscle or even keep the muscle I have now. It’s super low calories and contains 2 bite sized snacks (thank God because otherwise I’d be so hungry cardboard may look appetizing).  

They go on to say, “It has nothing to do with genetics. The genetic part is an intolerance to excess amounts of carbohydrate.” Presumably here they mean heart disease based on the context it was written but regardless, it doesn’t matter what they are talking about because it is wrong. No one has an intolerance to the macronutrient carbohydrate. Fructose intolerance yes (which by the way is genetic which again makes this statement completely wrong) but not all carbohydrates! 

Another CF gem: omega 6’s are pro inflammatory and there is an ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats. This is for another IG and blog topic but omega 6s are not solely pro inflammatory and there is no known ideal ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s. Not to mention what is ideal for one person isn’t necessarily ideal for another person. Like Cabbage Patch Kids, we are all different. And, our dietary needs are different as well.

Do yourself a favor if you love CrossFit – avoid their make-believe nutrition advice. Oh, and have a physical therapist on speed dial. Several have told me CrossFit keeps them in business due to the number of injuries.  

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