Specifically, I'm referring to questions like these:

Carbs for weight gain

High heart rates

Both are considered by a couple of good contributors to be on topic, while I (and a few others that voted) considered them to be off topic.

Especially the first question, which has this statement:

  • started to work out. I didn't increase carbs in my meals that much, only in pre-training and post-training.

Is that enough of a statement to qualify what I would consider a straight nutrition question as being fitness related? My suspicion is that if we allow these to stand as is, we will get more and more food/nutrition questions with an addendum of "And I work out but it's not working" to thinly relate it to exercise.

1 Answer 1


The first question, as it now stands, seems to me to fall under body composition, which is on-topic. One could ding the question for needing more details regarding diet specifics, but not because it involves nutrition which is an essential part of any body comp question. It doesn't have to be about "exercise" per se.

The second question whether heart rate is "bad health" to be "concerned of" is clearly off-topic as a medical question (and it was voted closed as such).

As far as a general heuristic for closing (or not) borderline questions, my vote would be to leave it to the voting system (both for closes and just up/down-voting the question). If any are particularly complex or contentious, we can bring them back here to meta.

  • 4
    Also note that moderators' close votes will automatically close the question, so we tend to (try to) be a bit hands-off on anything that isn't very black-and-white so we don't subvert the community vote.
    – G__
    Aug 29, 2013 at 23:37
  • Agreed, and I appreciate the moderators position. In the first question, if you strip away everything, you are left with "I lost weight. What kinds of carbs can I eat without gaining fat?" which is straight nutrition. It could easily be reworded a bit to make it fit, but as it is, I don't think it's a body composition question (Although it is a fine margin either way.)
    – JohnP Mod
    Aug 30, 2013 at 14:31
  • @JohnP Well, if a simple rewording is all it takes to change an off topic question into a valid one, then maybe the first one is okay too? If we dont change what the question is about while rephrasing it, we end up with THE SAME QUESTION. In my opinion, nutrition questions that are related to weight control are on topic here, and whether it has "and I exercise" or not does not change its validity. Proper nutrition is embedded in being "fit", and our site is supposed to adress the topic of being fit. (Being healthy is another matter tho).
    – K.L.
    Sep 5, 2013 at 12:16
  • @K.L. - If that is so (Proper nutrition being embedded in being fit), then why are nutrition questions off topic?
    – JohnP Mod
    Sep 14, 2013 at 15:36
  • Just to clarify, all nutrition questions are not off-topic. Those that pertain directly to exercise performance/goals or to body composition and physique are necessary and welcome. The "ban" on nutrition question came from an early inundation of questions aimed either at general health and wellness, or just myth-busting without direct purpose.
    – G__
    Sep 14, 2013 at 20:42

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