You’ve heard it before – claims such as “Lose X pounds in X days!” or “You can eat as much as you like, and you’ll still loose weight!”. Yet, that sounds too good to be true. It’s difficult to determine what works – and what doesn’t. When it comes to loosing weight and eating healthy, it seems like there’s a minefield of both good and bad nutritional advice. Here’s a few nutrition myths, and how to avoid them.
Myth: Fad diets work and will help me loose weight.
Fact: Most fad diets force you to strictly reduce the amount of calories you take in while avoiding certain types of food. Many times, these diets actually do work – but only in the short term. Your body may be forced to burn fat to meet your daily energy demands, but as soon as you stop the diet, your body naturally starts storing fat again. When you “starve” yourself, you’re actually training your body that there’s a risk of starvation, and when you have access to food again, your body will make up for the loss – it’s part of our biology. Up until the last 100 years or so, humanity hasn’t had to deal with an overabundance of food. Fad diets actually are taking advantage (in the short term) of our body’s ability to use fat stores during “lean times”, but don’t deal with how the body reacts once your caloric count goes back up after the diet is over.
Additionally, this starvation process robs your body of important nutrients that you need to stay healthy. If your diet is lower than 800 calories per day, you can even develop gall stones and heart issues!
Try This: If instead of a fad diet, you reduced your daily calories, and added in an exercise program to burn additional calories, you’ll still put your body into “fat burning” mode – which is much more sustainable (and enjoyable) over the long term.
Myth: You need to avoid all carbs – especially grains.
Fact: A grain product is any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Refined Grains have had dietary fiber, iron, and vitamins removed – so avoiding refined grains is not a bad idea while dieting, Buy, Whole Grains are different – they contain the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. So, foods like brown rice, whole-wheat bread, whole wheat cereal and pastas – give you a full, healthy food source.
Not only that, but those who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet may lower their chances of developing many chronic diseases.
Try This: Rather than eliminating whole grains from your diet, just reduce the amount of them – lower the amount of calories derived from them, and add in a bit of exercise to help burn those calories. This way you still get the nutritional benefit from them while still working on loosing weight.
Myth: Low-Fat or “Fat Free” means it’s healthy and has no calories.
Fact: Fat adds flavor. But, if you remove the flavor, you’re not going to want to eat it. So, food manufacturers may replace the fat with sugars and salts, starches, or refined grains to add back some flavor – and the resulting item may actually have more calories than its fat-filled version!
Try This: Read the label and compare fat free vs fat versions of that food item. Make sure what you’re buying is actually lower calorie, lower salt, less sugar than its fat-filled version. If it’s not – you may want to buy one that isn’t fat free – and just eat a smaller portion of it. You’ll be getting a healthier, tastier product!
Myth: Skipping meals equals weight loss.
Fact: Sorry – skipping meals does more harm than good! Besides the “starvation + storing” effect mentioned above, you’ll also find yourself hungry – and when you’re hungry, you’re much more likely to eat “more” at your next meal – at the end of the day, you may have taken in far more calories than you first thought!
Try This: Eat smaller meals, but more often during the day. For example, if you normally eat 3 meals per day, and each meal is 1,500 calories, that’s 4,500 calories per day. If you ate 6 small meals / snacks per day, and each of those meals was 500 calories per serving, you’d only be eating 3,000 calories per day. And, you wouldn’t feel hungry, either!
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