Common questions from the readers

Question: What do you think of Gatorade while working out?

Answer: It depends on your goal.

If your goal is to become leaner, or at least use fat as an energy source during your workout, any amount of Gatorade consumed during or immediately prior to your workout is devastating your progress. It has carbohydrates. As soon as those carbs hit the blood, insulin is being released, and at that moment you've basically halted the mobilization of any further bodyfat to be used. So it certainly won't help you get lean.

If your goal is putting on size, I guess it's fine. It's just calories and you need tons of calories to grow. But water with sugar in it would be exactly as beneficial.

If you have no regard for growing or becoming lean, but are simply using it for its intended purpose, rehydration during dehydrating activity, then you're also using it wrong. The original formula was good for this, but you're not buying the original formula.

Do you all know the history of Gatorade (i.e. the original formula)? Quick summary: Gatorade was originally designed for the Florida Gators to rehydrate their athletes. They figured out that the perfect drink to replenish fluids lost by sweat was to drink sweat. Drinking water only replaces the fluid lost, none of the electrolytes. And if you keep sweating out electrolytes while consuming fluids with none, this becomes problematic. But drinking sweat is sick, so they made a mediocre sweat-like beverage. This mediocre beverage had a small amount of sugar in it to keep glucose levels from falling during performance, but not enough to taste good, or even reasonably. But the Gatorade you buy, tastes good. And the reason for this is the amount of sugar. And the reason for the sugar is mass marketing. Awful tasting drinks don't sell. So they sugar it up, but still market it as the rehydrating energy drink for athletes.

Here's the problem: with the amount of sugar it has, as soon as it hits your stomach it starts transiently dehydrating you in order to get enough fluids to your stomach for digestion. So drinking Gatorade for short term hydration use is actually producing negative effects. It's kind of like drinking ocean water because you're thirsty. It's just going to make things worse.

However, if you mix it so it's half Gatorade, half water, it's acceptable. This will make it a little more isotonic- meaning that you're not providing your system with sugar way faster than you're using it. And in the case that you decide to go with the watered down Gatorade approach, drink it cold. Cold drinks are absorbed faster than non-cold drinks. Every study that says otherwise was conducted wrong.

Question: I need chocolate and/or ice cream. I need theme or I will cease to exist. What do I do?

Answer: I suppose "theme" means them. Wow you're stupid. You're so stupid. ...I'm kidding. And additionally, that's fine. Eat away. I say this for a few reasons, but most importantly because I realize I can't tell you not to eat these things. You need them to survive. And that's understandable. "Comfort foods" do have a legitimate explanation- though it's not really the taste that you're after. There's a psychological component that creates an association with something good, usually childhood, and the flavor or smell of something triggers it (for you that would be chocolate and/or ice cream). It's the same reason why adults routinely order the same stuff that was in their happy meals. This is not a logical thing to do outside of the fact that it creates comfortable associations with something developed from when they were kids. It makes complete sense considering how illogical it would otherwise seem.

But while eating them, do so only following a legitimate workout. It works like this: if you workout good and hard, particularly on your legs- you have the freedom to eat whatever you want for the next 20ish minutes. The post-workout meal is a blissful thing. Take advantage of it because at no other time during the day should you eat your shit food you presumably demand. But after workouts, your drained glycogen stores, elevated catabolism, and need for protein make it fairly harmless. It may slow your results a tad, but it certainly won't hurt you. It's where results and flavor become a choice as the balance between appetite and the motivation to succeed. Have at it.

Question: Is the tomato a fruit?

Answer: It doesn't matter if it is, but no. No it is not. There were taxes on vegetables that didn't exist on fruits. So tomato farmers wanted tomatoes to be fruit. They presented it to the supreme court in the 1890's- I want to say 1893ish. The supreme court ruled that it was a vegetable. For some reason people keep debating this on grounds that it doesn't have seeds. The banana doesn't have seeds. Is the banana a vegetable? Or how about the seedless watermelon? That's a vegetable too I guess. Regardless of the actual question being shamelessly inconsequential, basing it on seeds is equally ridiculous.

Question: Am I not supposed to eat the burnt, darker parts of cooked food that tastes the best but is supposed to give you cancer? Is this a real concern or can I eat it anyway?

Answer: This isn't the most frequent of all the questions, but despite its weird wording, it's a good one. The burnt up little blackened bits are just a bunch of carcinogens, yes. But that's not exciting. What is exciting is the crystallized, slightly less burnt parts. Whenever carbohydrates are subjected to high enough temperatures, the chemical structure changes and causes them to begin crystallizing. Once they're all crystallized, they're referred to as glycosylated carbohydrates. When you eat them, your body won't absorb all of them, but definitely some, and the some that it does absorb seems to be fairly detrimental to your health. It's not proven, but there's a good amount of evidence suggesting they cause biological structures to lose elasticity. This would happen in places like your tendons and lenses in your eyes- such that you end up with bad joints and vision. People attribute things like this to old age when it could just as easily be a byproduct of accumulated glycosylated carbohydrate absorption. So yes, not only is what you're asking about real, but there's a decent amount of evidence suggesting it could be way worse. Yay! A happy!