The P90X nutrition plan is designed to accompany the P90X workout program, which promises to give you a strong, lean and healthy body in 90 days. Fat Shredder is the first of three phases in the P90X plan, and it's designed to help you build and strengthen your muscles and shed fat rapidly.
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The P90X nutrition plan isn't a low-calorie diet; it focuses on high protein, nutrient-rich foods that will give you energy for the rigorous P90X workouts. If you're thinking about trying this diet and exercise program, get your doctor's approval first.
Basics of the Fat Shredder Phase
During the Fat Shredder phase of P90X, you'll get 50 percent of your calories from protein, 30 percent from carbohydrate and 20 percent from fat. The program does not require counting calories, but you're encouraged to calculate which of three calorie levels -- 1,800, 2,400 or 3,000 calories -- you fall into based on your body weight and activity level. This calorie level determines how many servings of each food group you can consume daily.
To keep the focus on healthy foods, the program instructs you to eliminate all processed foods, such as cookies, candies, freezer meals, potato chips and soda. Other guidelines of the plan include eating small meals every few hours, drinking plenty of water and journaling everything you eat.
Because this diet plan is designed to accompany a very intense exercise plan, cutting calories is not encouraged. Your body will need plenty of fuel to keep up with the rigorous demands of the fitness program. To lose body fat, you must consume fewer calories than you take in; with this program, that calorie deficit is created by burning a large number of calories through exercise rather than consuming a low-calorie diet.
Read more: When to Eat & Exercise With P90X
Foods on the P90X Fat Shredder Plan
You'll eat lean protein at every meal during the Fat Shredder phase, such as boneless, skinless poultry, lean pork, lean red meat, egg whites, fish and shellfish, tofu and veggie burgers. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as legumes, potatoes and grains are allowed, but you are limited to one serving per day.
Allowed dairy products include nonfat milk, soy milk, low-fat cottage cheese, plain nonfat yogurt and certain low-fat cheeses. All fruits and vegetables are included in the diet plan although fruits are limited to one to two servings per day, depending on your calorie level.
At each meal, you get one serving of healthy fats from avocado, olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil and a small amount of low-fat condiments. Beachbody -- the company that produces the P90X workout and nutrition plan -- sells protein shakes and protein bars that are allowed, but not required, on the diet plan.
Effectiveness of the Fat Shredder Diet
One of the greatest benefits of the P90X nutrition plan is that it eliminates unhealthy processed foods and includes lots of nutrient-rich whole foods. The plan claims it's the proportion of protein, carbs and fat in the diet -- rather than the calorie content -- that leads to fat shredding. While calorie intake is certainly a factor in weight loss, the Harvard School of Public Health website confirms that the quality of foods consumed and ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat does affect weight loss.
Research confirms that diets with more protein and fewer carbs may assist with dropping weight and keeping it off. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007 found that a low-carbohydrate diet led to greater weight loss than diets with a higher carbohydrate content. A higher-protein diet with a low glycemic index is also associated with better weight-loss maintenance, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007.
Keep in mind that the P90X Fat Shredder plan is specifically designed to complement the P90X workout plan, so if you follow the diet plan alone, you won't get the same results. The limited carbohydrate intake may help with burning fat, but because carbs are your body's preferred fuel source, you may lack energy for the workouts. In fact, if you run out of glycogen -- stored carbs in your muscle and liver -- you may feel as if you can't complete a workout. P90X refers to this stall in energy as "bonking." If you're struggling for energy during the workouts, add an extra serving of complex carbohydrates to your meal plan, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes or whole-grain pasta.