You've might have heard about this dieting technique on the boards, and if you haven't I will explain it. IIFYM stands for IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS. It has become very popular in the natural bodybuilding scheme of contest prep. I'm seeing more and more people catching on to this dieting method and using it in their own contest prep diets. Basically, the foods in this diet are not limited like they are in a traditional prep diet (chicken, tuna, egg whites, oats, yams, etc). In this form of dieting you can include any foods you desire as long as you hit the macronutrient breakdown to the "T" at the end of the day. The numbers and the total calorie intake will dictate the direction the progress is going whether it's dropping or gaining weight. So if that means you hit your numbers on the dot with processed High G.I. carbs like poptarts and granola bars and bratwursts and bacon as your source of protein, you're good. This unorthodox way of dieting has received a bad rap. It's against the norms of bodybuilding. But also, many people have switched over to this way of dieting because it allows people to enjoy the foods they love while dieting, it's easy to stick to, and overall it's less stress for the dieter.
For as long as the sport has been around, just about everybody who has ever dieted for a contest has included similar, if not the same foods in their meal plan. Lean sources of protein, nutrient-dense low-glycemic carbohydrates, and natural unsaturated fats are preached by this sport. In fact, these are the first things we learn in the subject of bodybuilding nutrition. This is the way the pioneers of the sport ate; the infamous bodybuilders of the Golden Era and the current crop of competitive athletes. Over time, we can conclude these types of foods are effective and work at getting people in insane condition as well as adding loads of lean muscle tissue. When the IIFYM diet was put out in the mainstream, it was just something different; "unheard of" is a better description for it. This diet has worked though for getting people in crazy condition, specifically natural pro bodybuilders and many natural competitors.
What bothers me about this diet is that the quality of food isn't that important or rather emphasized so much. It's the concept of "calories in vs. calories out" is the most important factor which will trigger results (which is something to consider), but the quality of the food you eat does matters and does make a difference in your physique. You may still achieve great results on the IIFYM diet, but when it comes to health on the inside and trying to achieve optimal hormone levels and a smooth digestive system, this diet is far inferior. 30g of protein from the beef in taco bell meat is not equal to 30g of red meat protein from a grass-fed cow. The amino acid profile is inferior and provides far less nutrients than the grass-fed steak meat. Same thing when comparing pop tarts and twinkies to organic sweet potatoes and rolled oats. The calories may be the same, but they are empty calories. This means they come with no nutritional benefits as compared to the fibrous carbs in oats that aid in digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, and decreases in LDL cholesterol, for example. The quality of protein from meat, fish, and poultry is super important because of the high branched chain amino acid (specifically leucine) levels. We incorporate into our cells when the animals we consume ate for their meals. For example, if the fish you just consumed at dinner previously ate a lot of poop, residue, and toxins then those toxins will be passed on to your cells. You will notice that after switching over to wild caught fish, grass fed beef, and free-range poultry you'll store bodyfat in a whole new way and, more than likely, in much smaller amounts.
Follwing the IIFYM diet is like putting gas in your car that is of the lowest octane rating; it's something I would never do because I care about my health and want to have longevity in this sport and live as long as possible. The quality and nutrient density of your food really matters and will make crazy impacts on your results. Looking good on the outside is great, but looking good on the inside is even more important and requires being cautious and smart about what you put into your body.