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I’ve churned through over 150,000 emails, social media comments and messages, and blog comments in the last 6 years.

And that means I’ve fielded a ton of questions.

As you can imagine, some questions pop up more often than others, and I thought it might be helpful to take a little time every month to choose a few and record and share my answers.

So, in this round, I answer the following three questions:

  1. Do you consider fiber intake in your daily total carbohydrate? 
  2. Should I stay away from soy? 
  3. Should you not combine certain macronutrients in certain meals?

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, leave a comment below or if you want a faster response, send an email to [email protected].

Recommended reading for this episode:


0:00 – Intro

4:59 – Do you consider fiber intake in your daily total carbohydrate? 

8:52 – Should I stay away from soy? 

17:51 – Should you not combine certain macronutrients in certain meals?

Mentioned on The Show: 

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hello and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for a q and a where I answer questions that readers and followers ask me. If you want to ask me questions that I can answer for you and that may be chosen for future q and a episodes, shoot me an email. Mike Muscle for Life just.

Dot com and let me know what’s on your mind. I get a lot of emails, so it may take me seven, 10, maybe even 14 days or sometimes a little bit longer, to be honest, to get back with you, but you will hear back from me and you will get an answer. And if it’s a question that a lot of people. Are asking or have been asking for some time, or if it’s something that just strikes my fancy and it’s something that I haven’t already beaten to death on the podcast or the blog, then I may also choose it for an episode and answer it publicly.

Another way to get questions to me is Instagram at Muscle for Life Fitness. You can DM them to me. That is harder for me to stay on top of. I do try, but the inbox is a little bit buggy and it just takes more time trying to do it, whether it’s on my phone or the Windows app. But there is a good chance you will still get a reply.

Email is better, and I also do post, I think it’s every few weeks or so in my feed asking for. People to give me questions, give me fodder for the next q and a. So if you would rather do that than just follow me on Instagram at most for life fitness and send me a message, or just wait for one of my q and a posts.

So in this episode, I will answer the following three questions. The first one comes from Mateo dot runner eight on Instagram, and he asks, do you consider fiber intake in your daily total carbohydrate? So he is asking about macro counting basically, and should he count the. Fiber that he eats every day as grams of carbs, or are they not processed like other carbs and therefore they don’t count?

Remember the whole net carbs scandal with Quest back in the day. And then the next question comes from Vin Anonymous again, from Instagram, should I stay away from soy? Sweet and to the point. And lastly, I don’t have who this question came from, but it is something that I’ve been asked fairly often over the years, and so I am happy to address it here.

And that is regarding special food combinations. Should you not eat fruit with other types of foods, for example, or should you not combine certain macronutrients in certain meals, or should you strive to combine specific foods or specific macros in meals to maximize. And fat loss and muscle gain. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and all circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life.

Than they ever thought possible, and we can do the same for you. We make getting fitter, leaner, and stronger. Paint by numbers simple by carefully managing every aspect of your training and your diet for you. Basically, we take out all of the guesswork, so all you have to do is follow the plan and watch your body change day after day, week after week and month after month.

What’s more we’ve found. That people are often missing just one or two crucial pieces of the puzzle, and I’d bet a shiny shackle, it’s the same with you. You’re probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing correctly or at all that’s giving you the most grief.

Maybe it’s your calories or your macros. Maybe it’s your exercise selection. Maybe it’s your food choices. You’re not progressively overloading your muscles, or maybe it’s something else, and whatever it is, here’s what’s important. Once you identify those one or two things you’re missing, once you figure it out, that’s when everything finally clicks.

That’s when you start making serious progress. And that’s exactly what we do for our clients. To learn more, head over to That’s bu i and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call. It’s really just a discovery call where we get to.

Know you better and see if you’re a good fit for the service. And if you’re not for any reason, we will be able to share resources that’ll point you in the right direction. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you want to see more of it, and if you also want to finally stop spinning your wheels and make more progress in the next few months than you did in the last few years, check out my VIP coaching [email protected]

Okay, let’s start with the first question from Mateo dot runner eight from Instagram, and here she asks if you should consider your fiber intake in your daily total carbohydrate intake. So should your fiber take away from your macros or does the fiber you eat not count? Towards your carbs. Now, over the years, I have heard from more than a few people who are confused about this because they remember the net carbs fiasco that Quest Nutrition was involved in, where they were trying to mislead people into thinking that their.

Protein bars had fewer carbs in them and thus fewer calories than they actually did. And just a general misunderstanding of what fiber is and what the difference is between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, also referred to as functional fiber and dietary fiber. Now soluble fiber is also referred to as a functional fiber because it dissolves in water, hence the soluble, and it is metabolized by bacteria in the colon, and it can stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria and fatty acids, and is also an important source of fuel for the colon, and that’s why it is referred to as a function.

Fiber. Now, insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water, hence insoluble. And it is not processed in the colon like soluble fiber is, but it does contribute to stool weight. It helps you take better poops. Now, as far as your calories and macros go, Any type of functional fiber would count towards your calorie and macro targets because your body is processing it.

And research shows that this type of fiber contains between two and four calories per gram. And scientists are still looking into this. They’re still investigating the amount of energy in different types of functional fiber. Insoluble Fiber, on the other hand, contains zero calories per gram because your body doesn’t process it like it processes soluble or functional fibers.

So theoretically you could just ignore the grams of carbs that you’re eating of the insoluble indigestible unprocessable. Fiber. Let’s say you were eating 10 grams per day, maybe 15 grams per day, and your carb allotment is 150 grams. Well, that 15 grams, let’s just call it, of the insoluble indigestible unprocessable fiber would not count toward that 150, or you would not have to subtract that from your daily carbohydrate.

The problem though is you are not going to be able to distinguish between the types of fiber in the foods that you eat. Food packages, don’t list them separately and online calorie and macronutrient databases don’t list the breakdown of the types of fiber for all the different types of foods that you like to eat.

You’ll just see total. What’s more though, even if you could isolate exactly how much insoluble or indigestible fiber that you are eating every day, it’s not gonna be very much. Even if you’re eating well, it’ll be maybe 10 grams per day, give or take a little bit, and that’s not very exciting, right?

That’s like an extra bite of dessert or an extra half of a banana per day, or another handful of strawberries per day. Ooh. Anyway, the point is, don’t bother trying to adjust your calories or adjust your macros based on your. Intake. Just count those grams, like you count grams of any other type of carbohydrate.

So if you are looking at a food package or checking out the calories and macros of something online and you see the total carbohydrate content per serving, and you also see the total fiber per serving, just go with the total carbs for tracking your macros. Okay, so now let’s move on to this question about soy from Vin Anonymous.

Should I stay away from soy? Well, you are probably familiar with this controversy, right? There is no controversy over the value of soy as a protein. It has a great amino acid profile. It’s bioavailability is good, and research shows that it’s on par with. The best sources of animal protein as far as enhancing body composition goes, it’s perfectly viable.

That said, there is a lot of concern, especially among men, that it is going to have feminizing effects, specifically that it is going to lower testosterone levels or raise estrogen levels or do. And as far as women go, there are a lot fewer concerns. I don’t hear from many women who are worried about any hormonal effects associated with soy.

However, some women have heard that it raises your risk of breast cancer. Now, to understand why people are worried about these things and what the current weight of the evidence is, we have to get into a little bit of the chemistry involved with. So soy contains a substance called a phytoestrogen, and phyto means plant and soy contains two of these molecules.

Genine or genine pronounce either way and Dade sign or also pronounce. Dad scene. Now there are a few other molecules you will hear about if you are reading up or listening up on soy, and those are genin and daon. So it is the previous terms I shared with you with the E dropped and also equal. Now, what are these things and why do they matter?

Well, I mentioned that the genine and the Dade scene are phytoestrogens. They are estrogen-like compounds in soy, and then the genin and the Dade sin are. Genine and Dade scene combined with sugar to form what’s called a glycoside. And the sugar is a kind of delivery package, is a way to think about it.

And equal is a substance that is produced when your body breaks down genine. And that appears to be the most estrogen of the three compounds. And just to make sure you understand why there are only three compounds and not five, you have the. Steam and the Dade scene. And then if you combine them with sugar, they’re referred to a little bit different genin and dae sin.

And then you have equal, which is produced when the body breaks down the Gen Stein. And of course that happens in the case of Genin as well, because your body separates the gen stein from the sugar and then processes them separately. Okay, so why did I just tell you all that? Well, we know. Those molecules can exert estrogen-like effects in the body.

They can affect cells like estrogen, and that’s why researchers early on hypothesized that men who want to stay manly probably shouldn’t eat soy protein. Well, where are we now with that? Well, the short answer is the current weight of the evidence shows that men likely. Thing to fear from soy protein.

That soy protein is unlikely to have any meaningful effect on testosterone levels or estrogen levels. For example, there are a couple of good literature reviews out there that were conducted by scientists at Loma Linda University as well as St. Catherine. University that failed to find any correlation between soy intake and testosterone production.

And there’s a study that was conducted by scientists at Gifu University School of Medicine that found soy intake in men, actually was negatively associated with estrogen, so more soy, less estrogen. And they also noted a barely significant reduction in testosterone. So there is certainly a fair amount of good evidence that men can eat soy and not worry about lowering their testosterone levels.

That said, the effects that these phytoestrogens can have can vary in people depending on the presence or the absence of certain intestinal bacteria. And the reason why these bacteria are important is they produce. Equal. They metabolize these phytoestrogens into equal. So for example, in a study that was conducted by Peking University researchers found that when these high equal producing men ate high amounts of soy food for three days, their testosterone levels did drop and their estrogen levels did rise.

That said, research shows. 30 to 50% of people even have these intestinal bacteria and the same effects were not seen in women, which is interesting, regardless of equal production or lack thereof. And there are studies that show that in a high estrogen environment, these phytoestrogens can actually s.

Press estrogen production. Whereas in a low estrogen environment, they can increase estrogen production, which would suggest that these molecules may help balance hormones rather than imbalance them. But there isn’t much research on this line of equal production in men with this type of intestinal.

Teria, and as I mentioned, the previous study was just a three day study, so if it were run for three months, for example, things might have looked much different. Maybe you would’ve had a statistically significant drop in testosterone and rise in estrogen in the first week or so, and then things might have balanced out to normal.

So we just don’t really know. But I would say the current weight of the evidence is most men really have nothing to fear from soy protein. So if you like it and you want to use it over, way over casing over another plant source like rice or pea, go ahead. Now, as far as women go, the weight of the evidence is that they too have nothing to fear from soy protein.

There is some research that suggests that soy can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. We have to remember though, that came from rat research and we are not big rats. When you look at human research, the estrogen effects of soy seem to either have no effect at all or even reduce the risk of breast cancer.

So again, women, you have nothing too. Here from soy protein or soy foods. Now, one other claim commonly made about soy protein and soy in general that I wanna address is that it contains molecules that are going to inhibit how your body absorbs protein from other sources. And this is kind of true. You see soy contains molecules that are called Bowman Burke, protease inhibitors, bbis.

And these can inhibit various enzymes that digest or help break down proteins. And so if these molecules do this, if they can do this, if they can inhibit these enzymes that are necessary for breaking protein down, then theoretically. Could cause us to absorb less of the protein that we eat. It could reduce the amount of the effective amount of protein that we are giving our body.

So for example, if we ate 150 grams of protein and then because of these molecules, and there are similar types of molecules in other plants that. Some people say not to eat, and if all those molecules were to inhibit the absorption of let’s say 50 grams of the protein, well then effectively we have actually only eaten 100 grams of protein.

And if we weighed, let’s say 180 pounds, that would not be ideal if we are trying to improve our body composition or even just maintain our body composition. Now, that sounds bad, but it only happens when. Raw soybeans or raw beans regarding these other nutrient inhibitors that are in these types of products and in other plants.

So unless you are an edamame fe and you just devour. Stuff every day. This is not going to be a problem. Now, if you like to buy beans in bulk and eat them raw, maybe on a salad or something, you don’t want to cook them first, just soak them preferably overnight and you’ll be good to go. You don’t have to worry about these bbis or any other.

Nutrient inhibitors. And you know, one other ironic little note about these Bowman Burke protease inhibitors is that recent research, including a couple of phase two clinical trials, shows that they have anti-cancer properties. So even if these things are making their way into your body here and there, maybe you eat edamame here and there, for example, like I, I do, eh, maybe it will reduce our risk of cancer by 0.001.

If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my v i p one-on-one coaching service because my team and I have helped people of all ages and circumstances lose fat, build muscle, and get into the best shape of their life faster than they ever thought possible. And we can do the same for you.

All right, let’s move on to talking about food combining. And again, I, I don’t have a note here who this question came from, but it has come from many people over the years and they wanna know if it is okay to combine different types of mac nutrients and different types of foods. And there are different diets out there that revolve around not eating certain foods together.

And the one that I have been asked the most about says that you shouldn’t. Protein and carbs, and that is the most common piece of food. Combining advice out there. Don’t eat your protein and carbs together. You need to separate those. Now, why? Well, the story goes that if you eat your protein and your carbs together, it can result in digestive problems that can later manifest themselves as.

Bigger health issues, including weight gain. Now, if you separate your protein in your carbs, you’re going to avoid all of that. Now, how is that supposed to work? Well, the theory is this because different types of food are digested at different speeds, like carbs, for example, are digested faster than protein by combining a fast digesting.

With a slow digesting food that can create problems. It can create blockages in the digestive tract, and also because different foods require different enzymes to be broken down and then processed. The enzymes work at different levels of acidity in your stomach, and when you have two foods that require different pH levels to be broken, Effectively, then your body can’t properly digest both of them simultaneously.

And that then can lead to food remaining in the stomach for too long and it can then ferment, and then that can create all kinds of nasty problems. And so then you have different rules for foods that you are not supposed to eat together. And foods that you were. Eat on an empty stomach again to promote better health, better digestion, and even better weight maintenance.

Or weight loss. Like for example, food Combiners might say that you should only eat fruit on an empty stomach. Or they might say that you should only consume dairy products on an empty stomach and only eat. On its own and never combine proteins and starches. Never combine starches with acidic foods, never combine different types of protein.

Never mix protein with fat, never mix fruit and vegetables together. Again, there are a lot of variations on this, but those are some of the common recommendations. Now, what does science have to say? Well, there is only one study conducted by researchers at University Hospital Geneva that has looked at how different combinations of food affect weight loss.

And in this case, 54 participants were split into two groups. One that ate a balanced diet and the other one that. Ate a diet using the principles of correct food combinations and participants in both groups were only allowed to consume 1100 calories per day. And after six weeks, participants in both groups lost the same amount of weight on average.

So you had 13 versus 18 pounds. No statistically significant difference. And there also were no statistically significant differences between measures of body fat, waist to hip circumference ratio, lean body mass retention. Fasting plasma glucose levels, insulin levels, and several other things that they were measuring.

Now you might be thinking, but wait, one group did lose five more pounds and that was the food combining group. So doesn’t that mean something? Well, again, that was not statistically significant, and this is just one study, and when we consider that in the context of what we know about nutrition in general, We realize that it is nothing to get excited about.

So for example, we can start with this one. It is impossible to avoid eating mixed meals, a meal that combines protein and carbs and fat. It is impossible to do otherwise. Vegetables and grains, right? They are primarily thought of as just carbs, but they’re not just carbs. They also do contain protein, lean cuts of meat, no matter how lean they are.

Yes, they are primarily. As protein, but they almost always contain some fat as well. So when you eat a meal that only contains meat or only contains vegetables, you are already breaking the rules of the food combination protocols. What’s more a food like broccoli contains carbs and. Protein, so that means that it’s gonna require different enzymes to break down the macronutrient components that it contains.

Now, according to the food combination theory, that would result in broccoli never being fully and properly digested, and that just doesn’t happen in reality. The theory that food ferments in the stomach if you consume slow digesting and fast digesting foods together is also dubious because fermentation happens when microorganisms begin to digest food, but the stomach is very acidic.

It has a pH of about 1.5, and that means that there are not many bacteria in there because that is not an environment that is conducive to the survival. Bacteria, nevermind the survival of bacteria needed to start the fermentation process and the amount of time that it takes. So the amount of time that these bacteria would have to survive in the stomach to do that.

And lastly, there is plenty of research to show that some food combinations or even bene. Official to our health because they aid the absorption of nutrients. For example, if you eat a source of vitamin C, like maybe an orange with a source of iron, like maybe some spinach research shows that you will absorb the iron better.

Likewise, there are nutrients in foods like carrots, tomatoes, and red bell peppers that actually require fat to be absorbed by the body. That’s why nutritionists who are good at their job and dieticians who are good at their job, will often recommend that you include a bit of fat with your meals because it is going to help your body better absorb the nutrients in them.

So as you can tell, my position on food combining diets of any kind is ba. The only recommendations along those lines that I would make would just be driven by your experience. For example, I don’t know if this is still the case because I haven’t done it in a while, but some time ago, if I ate too many green grapes on an empty stomach, it would upset my stomach.

Okay. Duly noted. And although I have never experienced problems combining foods, if you have, and if you consistently. That something is awry when you eat certain foods together and when you eat them individually, there is no problem. Or if you combine them with other foods, but just not in this exact combination, there is no problem then.

Okay. I guess you have learned something interesting about your body. But there are no hard and fast rules for any of that that apply to everyone. All right, my lovely muscle for lifer. That’s it for this episode. Thanks again for joining me. I hope you found it helpful. And next week I have a monologue coming on.

What is the best time of day to lift weights? According to 35 different studies, what is the weight of the evidence? I have an interview coming with Cooper Mitchell from garage jim, and he’s gonna, Down how to create a home gym for us lifters with minimal space and minimal money. I was surprised at how little space and how little money you actually need to put together an essentials gym.

I wouldn’t call it a bare bones gym because that sounds too negative. It’s really an essentials gym for us, people who like to bang weights. And then I have another installment of says, you coming where I’m going to be addressing incline bench press. Somebody has said that it is a waste of time. I have said in the past that it is not a waste of time.

I’m gonna be talking about the trap bar deadlift, more or less, the same thing there, but it is also often claimed that the trap bar deadlift is unstable and even dangerous. And lastly, I’m going to address the claim that if you want to build a great physique, you really just need to get strong on your squat, bench deadlift and o p.

You don’t have to bother with accessory exercises. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility.

And thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes, Then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for

Just muscle f o r and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is criticism, I’m. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.

That is the best way to get ahold of me, [email protected]. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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