Myth 1: Carbs are fattening and make you put on weight
Facts: The confusion may come from the fact that many comfort foods high in carbohydrates are also high in calories, such as potato chips and muffins. According to the Institute of Medicine, cutting carbohydrates lower than 130 grams a day will negatively affect your brain function due to a lack of the production of serotonin-a neurotransmitter that contributes to our well-being and happiness. There are two main types of carbs, one is simple carbs such as sugars and another one is complex carbs such as starches. Simple carbs from sweetened desserts, candy, cookies and sugary beverages contain more calories and few nutrients. Foods that are high in complex carbs like fruits, veggies, and whole grains provide a good amount of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Fiber not only helps reduce hunger and promotes weight loss, but also benefits heart health and contributes to a healthy gut. The best approach to add carbohydrate into your diet to benefit your health is to choose carbohydrates that are high in fiber and low in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, lentils and whole grains.
Myth 2: Vegetarian diets help lose weight more easily
Facts: Following a vegetarian diet does not mean that you are eating healthy and balanced meals. It’s so easy for vegetarian diets to include foods that are high in fat and sugar such as potato chips, sweets, and chocolate bars because they are tasty. If you are following a vegetarian diet, it is important to include foods that are high in fiber with an adequate amount of protein such as bean products, choose wholesome foods and reduce high calorie and high sugar content foods.
Myth 3: Food labeled as “Low-fat” or “Fat-free” means fewer calories and is always a healthy choice
Facts: People tend to think that a low-fat diet helps with weight loss and assume those foods labeled as “Low-fat” or “Fat-free” are healthy food choices. But it is not necessarily true that these foods are lower in calories than the same amount of the full-fat products. In fact, many processed low-fat or fat-free foods add sugar to improve the flavor, which can contribute to even more calories. There is no need to follow a low-fat diet in order to lose weight; the key is to choose healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat found in salmon fish, flax seeds, olives, and avocadoes, etc. Healthy fats not only provide many health benefits such as improving your cholesterol profile and reducing inflammation, but also increase your satiety after eating and reduce food cravings.
Food label reading
- Start here: The first place to start is to check the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods.
- Check calories: The calorie section can help you manage your weight. Keep in mind that the number of servings you consume determines the number of calories you actually eat.
- Limit these: Eating too much fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Get Enough of these: Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. For example, adequate calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Footnote: DVs are recommended levels of intakes. DVs in the footnote are based on a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet. For each listed nutrient, there is a DV, a %DV or a goal. If you follow this dietary advice, you will stay within public health experts’ recommended upper or lower limits for the listed nutrients based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet.
Myth 4: Fad diets help lose weight and keep it off
Facts: Fad diets often promise quick weight loss if you can strictly reduce your food intake or avoid certain types of foods. They may help you lose weight at first, but these diets are hard to follow and most people quickly get tired of them and regain even more weight than before dieting. In addition, the initial weight loss is mostly water loss, not fat loss. Researchers indicate that being on a diet of fewer than 800 calories a day for a long time can lead to serious heart problems. Experts suggest that safe weight loss is to lose 1/2 to 2 pounds a week, which combines a calorie-reduced diet that creates a calorie deficit of your total daily calorie intake with physical activity. Developing a healthy lifestyle is the key to successful weight loss and keeps it off. These healthy habits also reduce your risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. For more information about Fat diets, read 7 Shocking Fad Diets Killing Your Desired Outcome.
Myth 5: Nuts are high in calorie and fat and you should avoid them if you want to lose weight
Facts: Although nuts are high in calories and fat, they contain healthy fats including monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts have low glycemic index, which helps stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you full longer. In addition, Nuts contain protein and many other vitamins and minerals that can benefit your health. Researchers suggest that a diet containing an appropriate amount of healthy fats can actually help you lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease. The key is the amount of the nuts you are eating. The recommended serving size for nuts without shell is 2 Tbsp or 30 ml as one serving and for shelled nuts is 60 ml or ¼ cup as one serving. You should choose those with no added salt or sugar and enjoy one serving of nuts daily, which can bring you many health benefits.
Myth 6: A good way to lose weight is to skip meals
Facts: Skipping meals may make you feel hungrier and cause you to eat more at your next meal. Especially skipping breakfast; it works as a metabolic booster to set up your starting point of the whole day, it is the meal that prepares the body and the brain to take on the rest of the day. The human body and brain function according to a natural daily cycle, which regulates brain chemicals, hormones, blood glucose levels, body temperature and metabolic rate. Skipping breakfast can not only affect your mood but also affect your metabolism and energy level; a recent study shows that skipping breakfast increases the risk of heart disease. In particular, studies have shown skipping breakfast was associated with increased prevalence of obesity. People who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast. You will also be more likely to snack on high-fat and high sugar foods as quick energy to immediately satisfy your needs, which can lead to weight gain. To lose weight, it is a good idea to eat small frequent healthy meals to keep you satisfied throughout the day.
Myth 7: Fasting is a good way to lose weight
Facts: Fasting can cause not only fat loss but also muscle loss. Because muscle is 3 times more metabolically active than fat, loss of lean muscle can decrease your basal metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy your body needs at rest. This means your body only needs fewer calories than it did previously to maintain your body’s function, and this makes weight gain more quickly once you stop dieting because your metabolism is slowing down. Also fasting affects your energy level, and your body will be low on energy, which may cause you to crave high-fat and high sugar foods for a quick fix and you will often eat more calories than you need and cause weight gain. It’s also why exercise is so important to build muscle and maintain your metabolic rate.
Myth 8: If you only eat healthy foods, you’ll lose weight
Facts: When it comes to weight loss, it’s the calories that count. Eating a large amount of healthy foods such as olive oil, nuts, fish or brown rice can cause your weight gain just as eating pizza and cookies. Both portion control and food choices play important roles in weight loss. When making healthy food choices, watch the calorie, sugar and salt content and focus on fresh, whole food based products. You could choose a small plate with half plate of vegetables and fruits, a ¼ plate of low glycemic starches and a ¼ plate of lean protein. It also important to eat mindfully and pay attention to the fullness of your stomach. To learn more about low glycemic index foods, you could get our free gift “Weight Resistance Diet” by sharing our content on our website.
Myth 9: Some people can eat whatever they want and still lose weight
Facts: A number of factors such as age and lifestyles may affect your weight. You belief system may also affect your outcome. Most people gain weight as they get older due to muscle loss. Muscles are 3 times more metabolically active than fat, when you lose muscle, your metabolism also slows down, which can contribute to weight gain. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat and drink. Some people may seem to eat whatever they want and still lose weight, but they must use more energy than they take from foods and drinks to lose weight. As we get older, we need to be physically active and incorporate regular strength training to help preserve muscle and maintain our metabolism. To learn more about how your belief system may affect your weight loss, you could read Are Your Beliefs Preventing You From Losing Weight?
Myth 10: Cutting out snacks can help lose weight
Facts: Healthy snacks between meals may help stabilize your blood sugar and mood and reduce the fluctuation of the hunger hormone –Ghrelin. The problem is the type of snacks. Snacking on those high calories, high sugar and high-fat foods such as chocolate bars, potato chips, and cookies may cause over-eating and leads to weight gain. You could choose healthy snacks such as cheese, a small handful of nuts or plain yogurt topped with fruits. It is a good idea to incorporate protein into your snacks because it helps increase your satiety, boost your energy level and reduce your hunger. Having small frequent meals throughout the day is better for weight management.
Myth 11: Margarine is better than butter
Facts: Margarine and butter contain the same amount of calories per gram. Margarine and butter contain different types of fat. Margarine is usually lower in saturated fat than butter. But it’s more likely to contain hydrogenated fats – trans fats, which is more harmful to your health than saturated fats. As an animal fat, butter contains both saturated fat and cholesterol. It is saturated fat and trans fat that tends to raise your blood cholesterol and potentially increase the risk of heart problems. As a result, you should check labels carefully, if the margarine has been hydrogenated, this has to be listed on the ingredients list on the package. Margarine used to contain trans fat, now non-trans fat margarine are available, but it is still considered as fat, which has high-calorie content. For a healthy heart, you should watch your intake of both saturated fats from meat products and trans fats.
Myth 12: Eggs are very high in cholesterol, and brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs
Facts: An average large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, lower than some other foods, such as liver, shrimp, and duck meat. The recommended daily cholesterol intake is no more than 300mg. It is the dietary saturated fat that contributes more to your elevated cholesterol level; therefore, you should watch your saturated fats intake. Eggs are a good source of nutrients and protein, for example, one medium sized egg contains roughly 6 grams of protein and some healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with memory function. In addition, eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against your vision loss. The color of eggshell only depends on the hens that produce the eggs. As a result, hens with white feathers produce eggs with white shell and hens with red feathers produce eggs with a brown shell. The nutritional content of both types of eggs is almost the same.
Myth 13: Honey, brown sugar, and syrup are better for you than white sugar
Facts: All of them are simple carbohydrates and contain very limited nutrients. In fact, your body processes naturally occurring sugar in food or processed sugars and syrups in the same way. Honey contains mainly fructose and very little vitamins, it is sweeter than sugar, and less honey can reach the same sweetness as sugar. Brown sugar contains limited amounts of minerals, the mineral content of brown sugar and white sugar is insignificant. Actually, the brown sugar sold in grocery stores is from white sugar with molasses added. Whether you choose to use honey, brown sugar, syrup or white sugar, use small amounts. Excessive intake of any of them may contribute to weight gain.
Myth 14: Prebiotics and probiotics are the same
Facts: Prebiotics such as inulin contain OFS (Fructooligosaccharides), which serves as foods to help the probiotics grow and multiply. Probiotics, on the other hand, are the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and only probiotics contain alive microorganisms. The most common beneficial bacteria are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The benefits of probiotics include helping synthesizes vitamins, boosting the immune response, if a positive balance of good bacteria is maintained in your gut, the bad bacteria will have less chance to cause diseases. Not all foods with added probiotics will offer health benefits. Certain types of probiotics may help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation. To know more about prebiotics and probiotics, you could read How To Use Pre/Probiotics To Guard Your Gut And Improve Your Overall Health.
Myth 15: Sugar Causes Diabetes
Facts: The primary contributors for type 2 diabetes are an excessive intake of saturated fat, simple carbohydrates, being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle. If you have diabetes, you should limit your simple carbohydrate intake, such as sugar. But if you don’t have diabetes, you should not freak out with sugar. However, it is recommended to consume it in moderation, because it contains very limited nutrients and may potentially contribute to your weight gain with excessive intake. In addition, recent studies have shown that sugar may contribute to food cravings and chronic inflammation. To learn more about the link between sugar and food cravings, you could read Why Are You Suffering From PMS (Premenstrual Syndromes) And Sugar Cravings? And 23 Tips To Fix It!
Myth 16: Seafood is high in cholesterol
Facts: Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made mostly by the liver. Actually, the dietary cholesterol in seafood has little effect on your blood cholesterol. It is the saturated fat and trans fat that contributes more to your blood cholesterol, therefore, you should keep an eye on foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meat with skin and fat, processed meat, etc. also avoid foods that contain trans fat, such as deep fried foods and firm margarine with hydrogenated oil.
Myth 17: All the cholesterols are bad
Facts: We all need some blood cholesterol because it’s used to build cells and make hormones. There are two types of cholesterols, one is called bad cholesterol or lousy cholesterol-LDL, and another one is called good cholesterol or healthy cholesterol-HDL. HDL (Good cholesterol) is a high-density lipoprotein, high levels seem to protect against heart attack. It helps to remove cholesterol from the blood by carrying bad cholesterol (LDL) back to the liver to process and prevent the formation of plaque. LDL (Bad cholesterol) is a low-density lipoprotein, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, excess cholesterol circulates in the blood and it can build up and stick to the wall of arteries and cause arteries to harden and narrow. It combines with other substances and forms thick and hard plaque, this condition is known as atherosclerosis. Exercise and omega-3 fatty acids help increase your good cholesterol level; while saturated fats from animal meat products and trans fat increase your bad cholesterol level and reduces your good cholesterol level. For more information about cholesterol, you could read Cholesterol Ratio.
Myth 18: Sea salt is better than table salt because it is natural
Facts: Table salt comes from dried-up salt lakes. Some table salts add iodine-a nutrient that helps prevent thyroid disease. Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater and tastes may be different depending on locations. Sea salt contains a small amount of minerals and may taste better than table salt, but it has the same amount of sodium as table salt. Too much sodium can contribute to the risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease and you should use less. You could use spices and herbs, lemon or lime juice to boost the flavor of your foods.
Myth 19: Healthy foods are costly
Facts: Eating healthy does not have to cost a lot of money. In fact, you may spend more money on high fat and high salt ready-made meals than fresh ingredients to make your own healthy meals. Many people think that fresh foods are healthier than canned or frozen ones. But it is not necessarily true, canned or frozen fruits and veggies provide as many nutrients as fresh ones at a lower cost. You could choose low-salt canned veggies and fruits canned in their own juices or water-packed as healthy options, and you could also rinse canned veggies and canned beans to remove excess salt.
Myth 20: You should avoid fast foods when dieting because they are unhealthy
Facts: The big problem with fast food is the high sodium and high-calorie content. But you can still have healthy options. Here are some healthy ideas on how to choose fast foods:
- Choose non-breaded and non-fried foods, such as grilled or baked meat products.
- Limit portion size, order half portion or put away extra food to take home.
- Fill your plate with fresh leafy salad and Keep the sauce and dressings on the side and use them less if possible.
- Limit toppings that are high in fat and calories such as bacon, regular mayonnaise, cream salad dressings and tartar sauce.
- Avoid combo meals such as such as a burger with fries and a drink; they are the selling tricks from restaurants, which makes you eat more calories than you need in one meal.
- Choose fresh fruits for dessert.
- Drinks water instead of juices or beverages.
Myth 21: Eating a lot of protein helps build muscles
Facts: You do need protein to build muscle mass, but protein alone does not build muscle mass, other factors such as strength training, other nutrients from healthy foods, recovery time, and sleep, also count for building muscles. Over eating of protein can only contribute to more calories and put you on weight gain and won’t grow bigger muscles. Strength training athletes such as bodybuilders may need more protein to replenish the body’s need especially post workout.
Myth 22: When you’re pregnant, you are eating for two
Facts: Lots of pregnant women are told they should eat for two. The truth is that you need just a little more food to support a growing baby during the second and third trimesters. You should eat healthier but not twice as much. Choose healthy and balanced meals with nutritious snacks between meals; ensure you are getting enough protein, iron, folic acid and other nutrients from foods to support your baby’s healthy growth.
Myth 23: Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day
Facts: The amount of water you need to hydrate your body depends on your gender, environment, physical size and your physical activities. There is no such truth that everyone should drink eight cups of water a day. To help stay hydrated, drink plenty of plain water plus other beverages like milk, coffee or tea throughout the day, limit beverages that are high in sugar or fructose such as juices and fruit cocktails, also limit those energy drinks as they usually contain lots of sugar, which can be your liquid calories and cause you weight gain. Most energy drinks also contain caffeine; too much caffeine may cause rapid heartbeat and insomnia. You should drink more in hot weather and when you are very physically active.
Myth 24: “Multi-grain” is “whole grain”
Facts: Multi-grain products include different grains, but they are not always whole grains. Whole grains provide you greatest health benefits. If whole grains are the main ingredients in a food, they should appear first in the ingredients list. Check the food label to make sure a food is made with whole grains.
Myth 25: grapefruit, cabbage soup or celery can burn fat and promote weight loss
Facts: You may lose weight by restricting others foods and only eating a certain type of food such as cabbage soup, grapefruits or celery because you take in fewer calories than you need. These type of diets are restrictive and lack of balanced nutrition for good health. In fact, they don’t help maintain long term weight loss because it is hard to stick to them and you quickly get tired of them. The best way to achieve a successful weight loss for a long term is to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Myth 26: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy
Facts: Recent studies have shown that the fat in dairy products may help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) . Leucine is an amino acid in dairy products, which is a building block for your muscles. Dairy products not only are a great source of protein but also high in calcium, which helps strengthen your bones. Most milk and some yogurts have extra vitamin D added to help your body absorb calcium.
Myth 27: Freshly juices are healthy and you can drink as much as you want
Facts: When you make fruit juices, you remove all the pulpy fiber and leave mainly a fructose-a type of sugar in the juice. Without fiber, Fruit juices can be quickly absorbed and spike your blood sugar if you have diabetes. Drinking too much fruit juices can also make you gain weight because one cup of juice contains roughly 120 calories, which is equivalent to a slice of bread.
Myth 28: Bran Muffins are healthy
Facts: Bran muffins may contain some bran, but it’s also loaded with sugar and butter. In addition, many donut shops offer oversized portions to make them worth buying, which add more calories to it, it may surprise you that a big bran muffin contains almost 400 calories! To make it worse, they may contain trans fat after the process.
Myth 29: Granola bars are healthy snack choices
Facts: Most granola manufacturers add lots of sugar to make it sweet. When you check the label, they may decorate with different names such as “honey”, “brown sugar”, “evaporated cane juice,” “molasses,” “brown rice syrup” or “oat syrup solids”, but make no mistake, they are all the same thing-sugar! Let alone the fat they add, often as hydrogenated oils. You may be shocked that a little granola bar can have 200 calories, and that is almost two slices of bread!
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You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be. David Viscott