Over the years that I have been working in gyms, teaching fitness classes, and training one-on-one, I have heard the wildest diet and nutrition stories. One of the biggest problems is food manufacturers’ marketing. Much of the information they publish is inaccurate and misleading. Below are some myths and the actual truths.
Myth #1: Extreme calorie cutting helps you lose weight. The energy balance equation says a person must use (burn) more calories than they consume to lose weight. That is true, but the quality of the calories also matters. Processed and packaged weight loss foods are not metabolically satisfying. Your body needs whole foods. Also, extremely low calorie diets ignore your body’s signals for food. If you do not eat when you are hungry, or do not eat for long periods of time, then your resting metabolic rate is reduced.
Myth #2: Reduced-fat foods are healthier. No, they are only lower in fat. In the past, reduced-fat foods were promoted as healthier options than full-fat foods. Therefore, many of the food manufacturers came out with low-fat dressings and other low-fat processed foods. But to make these low-fat foods taste good, the food companies increased the sugar content. Now, with all the rave about gluten-free, food manufacturers are doing the same when removing the flour. Some fat is needed in our diets, but it needs to come from healthy sources – nuts, lean meats, healthy oils, etc.
Myth #3: Carbohydrates make you gain weight. Excess of any macronutrient (fat, protein or carbohydrate) can end up in weight gain. The average person should consume 45 -65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. But the reason carbohydrates have a bad name is because most people lack balance or choose the unhealthy fried or sugar- dominated options. The healthy carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits and vegetables that are close to their natural form (not processed).
Myth #4: Sweet potatoes are good for you and white potatoes are not. Over the past few years, white potatoes have been labeled as “bad” because of the glycemic index diet, but both white and sweet potatoes are full of nutrients. Sweet potatoes have higher vitamin A; however white potatoes have more potassium and magnesium. Both potatoes are about equal in fiber content, protein and vitamins C and B6. Neither potato is a good choice when fried or loaded with butter or brown sugar!
Myth #5: Eat dairy to get your calcium. Many of us are concerned about bone loss and osteoporosis. Throughout our lives, we have been told to drink milk and eat cheese. However, there are non-dairy, calcium rich foods available: beans, dark leafy greens, rhubarb, broccoli, almonds, turnips, bok choy, dried figs, tofu and bony fish. Fewer dairy products usually means fewer calories.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.