Nutrition is the key to achieving your fitness and weight loss goals. If you do not eat properly, then no amount of physical fitness will be enough to get you to lose weight and get into the best shape of your life.
Unfortunately, nutrition myths are very common in the health and fitness world and they really amount to disinformation that has been passed down over the years from one misinformed person to the next.
Skipping Meals Will Help You Lose Weight
The opposite is true. In Japan, sumo wrestlers have discovered something very effective for massive weight gain – skipping breakfast! When you wake up you’ve been without food for 6-12 hours, depending on how long before bed it was you ate your last meal, this means that your metabolism stays depressed until your first meal, and your body is burning muscle – NOT fat – for fuel.
This is the worst case scenario if you want lasting fat-loss. The solution is to eat breakfast no matter how short on time you think you are. If you can’t wake up 10 minutes earlier to take care of your body, then you may need to rethink your commitment.
All Fats Are Bad
Saturated fat and cholesterol (in moderate amounts) are essential for healthy cells and hormone production. This myth dates back to the 1970s when “experts” decided that dietary fat was the only cause of obesity. In truth, your excess body fat is more likely caused by junk food, sugar and overly processed grains.
If you feel you should avoid fats, eliminate the Omega-6 fats found in vegetable oils like safflower, cottonseed, corn, soybean, sunflower, canola and peanut oils. Healthy fats come from butter, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, free-range meat and cage-free eggs.
Diabetes Is Caused By Too Much Sugar
While a diet high in sugar can contribute to Type 2 diabetes, any food intake can increase the concentration of glucose in your blood which then triggers the secretion of insulin from the pancreatic islet cells. Insulin enters the blood and is carried to your liver where it causes the storage of glucose in the form of glycogen.
Insulin also causes controlled release of glucose in between the meals and insulin is the major regulator of intermediary metabolism. The deficiency of insulin causes an abnormal rise in the glucose levels in the body which brings about further microvascular and macro vascular complications. It is not sugar that causes diabetes, but a deficiency of insulin.
Low Fat Diets Are The Best Option For Weight Loss
As previously mentioned, not all fats are “bad” fats, but a low fat diet also requires eating more carbohydrates. And many of those carbs will be simple sugars. Low fat diets require the consumption of excessive carbohydrates to obtain the necessary daily energy requirements. This leads to high insulin production, which starts the cycle that eventually leads to obesity.
Eating Less Promotes Weight Loss
Starvation diets are followed by people who believe the best way to lose weight is to just eat less. While you do need to create a calorie deficit (burn more calories than you eat) reducing calories to the point of starvation does not lead to additional weight loss.
Your body is designed to survive under extreme conditions like famine, so when you under-eat you slow your metabolism and it switches into “survival mode.” Once in this mode, your body fights to retain as much fat as possible during what it perceives as an emergency. Focus on eating more nutrient dense foods and fewer calorie dense foods and finding fun exercises to burn more calories. This approach will be much more effective in the long run.
Snacking Is Unhealthy
No, snacking is not unhealthy, unhealthy snacks are unhealthy! A healthy diet involves reducing the size of your normal meals. Most people find that eating smaller meals throughout the day and then adding two or three healthy snacks makes sticking with their diet much more manageable.
These snacks should include fruit, vegetables, a handful of nuts or a cheese stick with a few whole grain crackers. If your goal is weight loss, it’s total calorie intake that’s going to make the biggest difference when it comes to success or not with your diet, including snacks.
Eggs Are Unhealthy
This is actually a combination of several myths. For many years, we were told that eggs and especially egg yolks were unhealthy “cholesterol bombs” that would lead to clogged arteries and sudden death. These myths began 50 years ago and were spread by the makers of breakfast cereals in order to boost their sales. Your Mom and Grandmother may still be making egg white omelets, thinking they are more healthy and nutritious.
In truth, there is no connection between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels! It was also widely believed that blood cholesterol is solely responsible for atherosclerosis, the buildup of the fatty plaques that obstruct arteries. However, research indicates that people with low cholesterol have as much atherosclerosis as those with high cholesterol. Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, high in protein and rich in essential amino acids – most being in the egg yolk.
All Calories Are The Same
If all foods and their calories were the same, we would all be living on chocolate chip cookies and root beer floats. A calorie from any vegetable is not the same as a calorie from a sugar covered donut or a steak. Each type of calorie causes different physical and chemical reactions within your body.
The sugar calorie is immediately digested, absorbed and causes a sugar spike and a release of insulin. The vegetable calorie is a complex carbohydrate that is slowly digested and absorbed and burned as fuel. The steak calorie is also slowly digested and broken down into amino acids that are used to repair muscle and bone. Your body is complex and needs a variety of nutrients to work at its best, choose the right ones.
You Overeat Because You Are Hungry
You may start eating because you are hungry, but you overeat for a variety of reasons; stress, boredom, depression, sugar or salt addiction, loneliness, anxiety, fear, and similar negative emotions. Food can be a means of satisfying these emotions. If you aren’t happy, then food can be a means of making you feel happy. What are your “go to” comfort foods?
Smoothies And Juices Are Healthy
Commercial smoothies and juices are not the same as those you make at home in your blender. Commercial juices and smoothies contain the equivalent amount of sugar as two and a half cans of cola with little or no protein. A medium Banana Berry Smoothie from one popular commercial drive thru contains 93 grams of sugar! Make your smoothies yourself at home with fruits, vegetables, ice cubes and added protein. Bottled juices you buy at the supermarket are also “sugar bombs” and should be avoided.
Diet Or Sugar-Free Colas Are A Healthy Option
Many people believe that drinking “diet cola” and other beverages with the word “diet” in front of them will somehow make them healthier and will help them to lose weight. These beverages are some of the unhealthiest on the planet, and there is nothing diet friendly about them, other than the fact that they contain no sugar.
These drinks actually contain artificial chemical sweeteners, usually aspartame, that may be toxic. Aspartame also slows down your metabolism so you struggle to lose weight and it increases your sugar cravings.
Nuts Are Fattening
Some varieties of nuts are high in calories, however, that is not the only attribute of nuts. This food group is also rich in beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats) and plant sterols which have been shown to reduce bad cholesterol. Nuts provide protein and the healthy fatty acids are filling and satisfying. Replace some of your snack foods which are high in saturated fat with nuts, they are good for you when you eat them in moderation.
Fruit Makes You Fat
Have you ever met a fat vegan or vegetarian? While it is possible, they didn’t get fat by eating too much fruit, they got fat by eating too many French fries and vegan donuts. The sugars found in natural, raw fruit are quickly used by the body and are harmless. But again, beware of concentrated fruit juices as they are liquid calories.
Fruit provides essential vitamins and minerals and fiber with natural sugar while concentrated fruit juices contain natural sugars plus added sugars with little or no fiber to help offset the sweet stuff. There are fewer things more perfect for a snack than an apple, banana or pear.
Supplements Are Just As Healthy As Food
Supplements are designed to “supplement” not replace the nutrients found in natural foods. To provide the vitamins, minerals or nutrients that may be missing in your diet. But supplements have drawbacks, they are most often man-made and created from chemicals in a lab.
The vitamin C in an orange is not the same as the ascorbic acid (vitamin C equivalent) in your multivitamin. The same is true of commercial protein powders made from soy, whey, casein and egg whites which may be produced using a high temperature process that denatures the proteins making them virtually useless. Choose your supplements wisely and use them as nutritional “insurance.”
“Fat-Free” Foods Are Healthy
The final myth, that fat-free foods are a healthy option for weight loss. Fat-free foods are often bland and tasteless, to offset their flavor, the manufacturer will add sugar or additional carbs in the form of high fructose corn syrup or molasses to compensate for the lack of fat.
The product may be fat-free, but it’s filled with other empty calories that can easily add up and hinder fat loss. Fat free does not mean sugar free and vice-versa. Never judge a food by it’s packaging, read the labels!