Charles Poliquin on food

Charles Poliquin muscle food Q&A - Men's Fitness UK
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World-renowned muscle coach Charles Poliquin has been answering the public’s health and fitness questions for years. Here’s some of his nutrition advice, taken from the new book Ask Coach Poliquin: The Best Q&A Columns From Over Two Decades.

Are whole eggs OK or should I stick to egg whites only?

Only dorks eat egg whites. You see the diets in the muscle magazines – they always list egg whites and oatmeal with raisins for their bullshit breakfasts. Well, if you took four testosterone tablets between meals and 17 steroid tablets per hour, you could eat anything you wanted!

A guy training naturally needs whole eggs. The studies that showed that eating eggs raised cholesterol were done by the cereal industry and when they did them no-one differentiated between types of cholesterol, so those studies are invalid. Eggs can raise cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the good cholesterol.

The only caveat with eggs is that you can become allergic to them if you eat two or three every day. I saw that when I used to run a lot of food allergy tests. Stop eating eggs for six weeks, and the allergy will disappear. Then you can eat 12 every five days.

How important is water intake for muscle growth?

Water is often the most neglected nutrient. Dehydration leads to higher cortisol output and the repercussions range from increased oxidative stress on the brain to increased fat storage.

As a rule of thumb you should drink 40ml for every kilogram of bodyweight. In other words, if you weigh 80kg, you should drink 3.2 litres of water a day. An easy way to ensure that you’re drinking your proper daily quota is to measure your prescribed amount out in containers for the day every morning. By bedtime all the containers should be empty.

When they start this hydration protocol, many people realise that they’ve drunk barely 40 per cent of their water needs by the time they go to bed. That in itself is very educational. The best indication that you’re staying well hydrated is that your morning urine is clear. If it has the colour of maple syrup, drink up.

Are some foods more likely to cause allergies than others?

Some foods are simply more irritating than others and we find that more people are allergic to these than others. For example, peanuts, shellfish, strawberries, chocolate, wheat, eggs and dairy are some of the more antigenic (irritating) foods, whereas rice is not that antigenic. This does not mean that everyone who has allergies is sensitive to the more antigenic ones or that rice can never be an allergen for someone – just that some foods present more of a challenge to the body than others. Allergy testing is useful for almost anyone who is looking to optimise health, since we may not be aware how much certain foods are affecting us.

For more advice from Poliquin, check out his monthly column in Men's Fitness. You can subscribe to Men's Fitness here, and download a digital version of the mag here.