Clean Eating vs. IIFYM



So, a very highly debated topic lately is clean eating versus IIFYM. For those of you that are not clear on what IIFYM stands for, it’s "If It Fits Your Macros". My goal with this article is not to change anyone's opinion on either one. My goal is to simply inform everyone of how IIFYM works. What I have found is almost every post I see about IIFYM is loaded with misinformation on how IIFYM works. 

Now this is just my interpretation of clean eating versus IIFYM. Like any health and fitness trend it matters more about what get's results and not exactly how something works or what it is called. What I will tell you is for individuals looking to lose weight and get healthy, I've used a method similar to what is called IIFYM. For my competitors, I use a variety of methods including IIFYM. 

So what is clean eating? The question itself is hard to answer. Clean eating is different for every individual. Most people will answer that it is eating unprocessed foods and healthy fats, carbs, and protein, except the one time each week for that cheat meal, because one time each week "unhealthy food" is somehow good for the body.

The problem is clean eaters are still eating processed foods. Protein shakes, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and brown rice are all examples of processed foods. And what is a healthy fat or carbohydrate? So fruit is a bad carb because it has sugar but sweet potato is alright and it has sugar? And what's a healthy fat? We have all been told you can't have saturated fat because it's unhealthy, but why is coconut oil on the clean eaters plan allowed? Fourteen grams of fat per tablespoon and it's saturated fat! So, bottom line, clean eating cannot be identified because the clean eating rules themselves do not add up.

So what is IIFYM?  Well, it is pretty straightforward. Basically, it is as simple as If It Fits Your Macros. You set your macros and make sure the foods you are eating fit them. Does that mean you can eat anything you want? NO. This is the biggest misconception about IIFYM. Here's an example for you. This in no way represents ever scenario.


Let's say you are trying to get 3000 calories. 

3000 calories

300 grams of protein

75 grams of fat

281 grams of carbs

30 grams sugar

45 grams of fiber


Your clean eaters will say that the IIFYM people will eat cake, ice cream, pizza, and burgers to get in shape. While you might be able to eat a little of some of these things, it doesn't fit your macros. I would love to hear from a clean eater how a piece of cake would fit these macros. Or how a whole pizza would?

First off, the sugar in a piece of cake would be way more than 30 grams. How are you going to get your protein and fiber from cake and ice cream? The clean eater’s logic on IIFYM just doesn't make sense. The other thing that doesn't add up with the clean eaters logic is cheat meals. So the IIFYM people are crazy and will not get into the same shape as the clean eaters because they eat "junk food" occasionally. The ironic thing is it is alright for clean eaters to eat anything they choose during this cheat meal because it will boost the metabolism. So, why is "junk food" alright to eat one time per a week in large amounts, but not seven times each week in small amounts? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, who is right and who is wrong? No one is right or wrong. There are different ways to accomplish the same goals. What you have to do is look at which way is the best and safest way. It's been proven that "Clean Eating" has caused many eating disorders. Many "Clean Eaters" also don’t learn anything about how to live a healthy lifestyle.

I run into many clean eaters as clients that cannot tell me how many calories they are eating or what is in the foods they are eating. They blindly follow some plan that usually consists of two veggies, three different fats, and 1/2 dozen proteins and carbs. I also find many IIFYM people get a better variety of nutrients and are overall healthier. IIFYM sometimes pick the wrong macros. You can't expect to set your sugar 300 grams a day and get in shape. Like anything, you must have realistic expectations and a smart plan. Any way can be done incorrectly.

My best advice is do what works best for you as long as you are doing it safe and healthy. If health is not your number one priority then you're doing it wrong. Stay healthy and hit me up on Facebook.


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