There is a-lot of information online, in magazines, on TV, and from friends about dieting. Much of this advice is conflicting. We are here to dispel some of those myths about nutrition so you can make better-informed decisions about your wellbeing. Let's dive in, shall we?
Approximately two-thirds of the American population is overweight or obese. Yet, 45 million Americans a year go on a diet. Something doesn't quite add up! If so many people are dieting, why are so many people still overweight?
We are fed information about weight loss and diet that is sometimes misleading and not based on any solid scientific evidence.
Much of the mainstream information available about health and diet includes nutrition myths. These are perhaps principles you adhere to in your everyday life, such as never missing breakfast or having protein immediately after working out.
Nutrition is a complex beast, and the science that backs up what we know is not always concrete. This can make it more difficult for us to plan what we should eat on a day-to-day basis.
You have more than likely heard this one throughout your life. Carbs are the enemy! They are evil because they cause weight gain and aren't nutritionally valuable.
Why do they taste so good then?! Because they aren't bad for us as we have been made to believe.
Carbohydrates are our body's primary source of energy. When we eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose. Every one of our cells needs glucose, as do our muscles and brains.
If you cut carbs out of your diet completely, you will feel sluggish and tired. Your brain will have less energy to function, and you may feel like it's challenging to go about your day-to-day activities.
It should be noted that not all carbs are equal. Foods such as white bread, white pasta, cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks are carbohydrates. These are the types of carbohydrates more closely linked to weight gain and chronic disease.
Eating an abundance of refined carbohydrates, such as grains, potatoes, and sugar sweetened beverages, of course, make it hard to lose weight. They will also cause a spike in energy followed by a lull which can induce hunger and encourage you to overeat.
Fill your diet with minimally processed, nutrient-dense carbohydrates including legumes, whole fruits fruit, and vegetables.
Another common enemy often touted as the cause of weight gain. Fat. Just like carbohydrates, we need fats to function. The membranes of your cells are made from fats.
Fats contain essential fatty acids and omegas that your body can't produce itself. You also need fats to absorb vitamins A and D. These vitamins are necessary for your skin, hair, and bones. A fat layer also helps protect our vital organs.
As with carbohydrates, not all fats are created equal. The type of fat you consume determines whether or not you gain weight. If you eat an abundance of fried food, red and processed meats, it may be hard to reach your weight loss goals. These foods may also contribute to enhanced cholesterol.
If you have enhanced LDL (bad) cholesterol in your arteries, you are more at risk of heart disease and stroke. Try to minimize foods high in saturated fat. You don't need to eliminate them; don't eat them every day.
Another common nutrition myth about fats and cholesterol is that the yolk of eggs is bad for you and can lead to high cholesterol. Many studies debunk this statement.
If you are only eating one or two eggs a day, it should not harm your cholesterol. Eggs are low in saturated fat, high in omega 3, B vitamins, and protein.
Try to fill your diet with an abundance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Nutrient-dense foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and plant oils will help you stay fuller for longer and less likely to reach for the nutrient-void snacks.
Another common dieting misconception is that eating little and often keeps your metabolism active. There is little evidence to prove this is a valid weight loss strategy.
Skipping breakfast is one of the most commonly touted reasons people gain weight. We are encouraged to eat first thing in the morning to 'jump-start our metabolism.' There is little difference in metabolic rate between those who eat breakfast and those who don't.
People who skip breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day, which is more important for weight loss. The number of calories you consume in a day is a more critical determiner for your resting metabolic rate than how often you eat.
Eating little and often may also leave you feeling dissatisfied. This is when cravings will develop, and you will end up eating less nutrient-dense foods to try and feel full.
Eat when you are hungry, your body knows best when you need food. If you listen to your body, you will also be less likely to overeat.
Try not to be too strict with your daily meal plan. If things are rigorous and highly controlled, you will always think about food and find it harder to relax and enjoy your food.
There is a common belief that eating organic is better for your health. This statement is based on very little evidence.
Of course, eating food treated with fewer pesticides can't be a bad thing. However, the organic badge doesn't have particularly stringent criteria. Many food items are labeled as organic but without precise detailing of what that means.
What is more important than organic is what has been done to preserve the food. How long has it been on the shelf? The longer fresh foods stay on the shelf, the less nutritional value they have.
Was your food imported from halfway across the globe? Did it undergo a fake ripening process or was picked too soon and sprayed with preserving chemicals?
Shopping for healthy products can be time-consuming and expensive. As a general rule, try to eat local foods and eat seasonal produce as much as possible. You can also add some superfoods to your diet if you're looking for a further nutritional boost.
Low fat foods are commonly associated with dieting and weight loss. Remember, dieting is a $71 billion industry. Of course, you will be manipulated into buying foods that sell you goal orientated promises.
However, many of the products touted as diet foods are not particularly healthy. They will contain an abundance of artificial sweeteners, salt, and preservatives to make them taste good. These foods will also be heavily processed to remove the fat or sugar.
It is better to avoid the low-calorie options that promise weight loss. These foods will often leave you feeling unsatisfied and likely give you a blood sugar spike due to their high sugar content.
Enjoy whole foods. That includes dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and nut butter. Just enjoy them in moderation. You will be left feeling more satisfied, and your body will be happy you have given it some nutrients!
The world of nutrition is complex and hard to navigate. The myths the diet industry makes mainstream enhance our confusion. Trying to get it right can feel overwhelming and hard to manage.
Just remember that everything you read out there is not going to be the best advice for you. We are all so different, and optimal nutrition looks different for everyone. It is dependent on numerous factors including genetics, age, culture, and level of activity to name a few.
Pay less attention to the latest trend or fad diet, and focus more on maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
The nutrition myths mentioned in this article may be things you have abided by for years. Hopefully you now have a more balanced perspective.
Diet and exercise are core pillars of health, as are sleep, stress management, and supplements when called for.
If you would like more support on your journey to sustained well-being, take advantage of our online wellness lifestyle program. You will learn how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle that impact your long-term wellbeing.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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