Every month in the print edition of TRAIN magazine (or the PDF version which you can download for free by signing up to our newsletter), we take a look at the latest studies and condense them into small, actionable pieces of information for you, the reader.

The word restriction in a print magazine means that sometimes the studies aren’t expanded on as much as they need to – that’s where our magazine author, digital editor and WBFF Pro athlete, Altug Kop comes in to fill in the blanks.


No Weight Gain? Sweet!

What we originally said in the magazine :

Sugar may have just been handed a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Having been public enemy number one for decades, a recent study by the American Society for Nutrition has shown that replacing all complex carbohydrates with simple sugars had no effect on bodyweight or blood pressure. The catch being that calories need to be controlled. Hold up, before you dip into your bag of sweets, a diet heavy in added sugars is often lacking fibre and nutrients which poses its own problems. If you’ve calories to spare and had your 5 a day, though, don’t feel bad about that scoop of ice cream after dinner.

The full story: 

We actually covered this one pretty effectively and concisely. While the industry continues to demonize sugar, the science remains as it always did. In a calorie controlled diet, including adequate fiber and protein, sugar will not magically make you fat or unhealthy any more than other calories will. The problem tends to arise because diets high in sugar also tend to be low in fiber. We had this spot on in the magazine for the most part.


Feeling hormonal after weight loss

What we originally said in the magazine :

Weight loss most often lends itself to increased health and provides a line of defence against disease. But, there are times when the pendulum swings to the other extreme making weight loss (fat loss, in particular) unhealthy. Male and female physique competitors often reach these extreme levels of bodyfat before stepping on stage. Two journals found that it took 4-6 months for hormones to fully rebound to normal levels after achieving extreme levels of bodyfat. Keeping your health in check is surprisingly not about being as lean as possible. A minimum of 12-14% for women and 8-10% bodyfat keeps most men functioning well in daily life.

The full story: 

This is something that most men especially fail to realise when setting the goal of getting ripped. Getting below 8% for much of the population is going to feel horrible for everyday life. Lethargy, poor mood and performance decreases – in both the gym and the sack – are to be expected when getting so low in functional body fat.

It’s also not a conducive environment for making gains. The images we see thrown at us in social media of ripped dudes getting bigger by the year are, 99% of the time, on performance enhancing drugs. If you plan to stay natural, a better plan of attack is to keep yourself reasonably lean in the off-season, find the perfect ratio of not looking a mess and increasing gym performance for more gains. This sweet spot tends to be around 10-16% for the general population in my experience. Remember that going in the other direction and getting too fat also has a similar effect on reducing your gym performance. Experiement and find your happy gaining place.

Oh, one final important thing; this study was in females, however, a similar phenomenon has been shown in male studies too.


a top view of a margarita drink

Alcohol munchies

What we originally said in the magazine:

Making bad decisions can be part of the fun in an alcohol fuelled night out but for most of us this extends to making less than nutritious food choices too. University College London hooked some lucky mice up with the equivalent of a bottle and half of wine per day and noticed these mice ate 10-25% more than sober mice. Researchers put this down to alcohol playing with cells in our brain called AGRP cells. While we metabolise slightly differently than our rodent buddies, sticking to your favourite spirit on the rocks and choosing to go with a chicken shish with salad from the kebab shop afterwards will keep from derailing your fat loss.

The full story:

While, this is a mouse study and should be taken with a pinch of salt, similar behaviour can be observed in humans. The more drunk someone gets, the less their inhibitions are and this doesn’t just go for your attraction to the opposite sex, but your dietary decisions too.

Again, this is one of those topics that will require your experimentation to find what works best. If you’re honest, though, getting absolutely smashed every time you go out adds calories, inhibits fat loss, keeps you catabolic and has you making crappy life and diet choices. You’d be wise sticking to our advice in the last sentence of the magazine piece for a combination of a good time and maintaining your physique



Sugar Study

The Effects of Intensive Weight Reduction on Body Composition and Serum Hormones in Female Fitness Competitors. Frontiers in Physiology, 2017; 7

DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00689

alcohol study

caffeine in foods