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Top 12 Diet Myths

Ever had someone tell you something about your food that got you thinking.. “no, this can’t be right” ? Need to lose weight but not sure what to believe in the magazines? Before you give up the late night munching and go on a no-fat detox frenzy to kick your sluggish metabolism into shape, read what the gurus out there are saying about these popular Diet Myths. Here are 12 diet myths that are totally untrue. If you can wrap your mind around this then you are on your way, towards healthier living.

The top 12 Diet Myths are..

Myth 1 : Crash dieting or fasting makes you lose weight

 Yes this is true, for the short term, however it will also trick your body into thinking it’s starving. In turn your body will convert as many calories (in that one meal,) into fat, as fast as it possibly can. So in the end you will end up gaining more weight than you lose because as soon as you revert back to normal eating, your body will hold on to everything it can. Also with crash dieting you tend to lose muscle mass. The loss of lean muscle causes a fall in your basal metabolic rate – the amount of calories your body needs on a daily basis.This means your body will need fewer calories than it did previously, making weight gain more likely once you stop dieting. It’s also why exercise is recommended in any weight-loss plan to build muscle and maintain your metabolic rate.

Myth 2: Fat-free food makes you skinny

Fat digestion suppresses ghrelin, the hormone that makes us feel hungry, while simultaneously spurring the release of peptides that make us feel full, found a study published in theAmerican Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolismin 2005. A moderate amount of fat can also lower the glycemic index of a meal, helping you feel satisfied for longer. This in turn makes you less prone to snacking in between meals and can actually help you keep the pounds off.

photo credit : cnbc dot com

Myth 3: Low-fat milk has less calcium than full-fat milk

Skimmed milk has a little more calcium than semi-skimmed, which in turn has a little more calcium than whole milk. The reason is simply that as the fat is removed, the watery proportion of the milk goes up, and this is the part that contains the calcium. In actual fact the difference isn’t that great – per 100ml the figures are 122mg for skimmed milk, 120mg for semi-skimmed and 118mg for whole. Of course there is another main advantage to drinking lower fat milks – they are lower in calories, fat and saturated fat. Per 100ml, skimmed milk has 32 calories, 0.2g fat and 0.1g saturated fat; semi-skimmed milk has 46 calories, 1.7g fat and 1.1g saturated fat; and whole milk has 66 calories, 3.9g fat and 2.5g saturated fat. What you do lose by taking the fat out of milk is small amounts of vitamin A, but you can more than make up for this by eating plenty of beta carotene-rich vegetables, which the body makes into vitamin A.

Myth 4: Energy bars will help with weight loss

Power Bars, energy bars etc, are all processed foods. Think of processed foods as partially digested foods. They allow our gut to be lazy, and not work so hard at breaking down the food. This in turn conserves energy and encourages weight gain. In contrast, whole foods can take a considerable amount of energy to digest are good for the body. You work harder to digest it, and in the process use up energy and lose weight.

Myth 5: Banana myth

Many people believe bananas are fattening. Bananas are low in fat and are packed with potassium.There is only 0.5g fat and 95 calories in a banana so you should have a banana before a workout instead of a chocolate bar;)

Myth 6: Eating frequent smaller meals will help you boost metabolism and lose weight

While going too long without eating can cause you to binge eat, snacking can also rack up calories. Imagine continually snacking on nuts, or continuous sips of health shakes – you will eventually get fat anyway. A snacking habit will dull a person’s internal trigger/alarm system on when to eat, making it nearly impossible to tap into hunger and satiety cues. You will end up eating just for the sake of it, and this is even worse than binging. We should eat to live, not live to eat. And, stop eating when we have had enough.

Myth 7: Vegetarians can’t build muscle

Vegetarians can be as muscular as meat eaters by getting their protein from vegetable sources. The body can only assimilate so much protein on a daily basis and you can only build muscle so fast. Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with protein. Almonds and pistachios have 7 grams of protein per serving and both pumpkin and hemp seeds have 11 grams per serving. People usually only count protein grams from animal sources but this is a huge mistake.  Vegetables have protein, brown rice has protein and even your morning bowl of oatmeal has 10 grams per cup.

Myth 8: Saturated Fat causes Cellulite and is Bad for you

Contrary to popular belief, cellulite affects all women, overweight or thin. In fact, many slim women have cellulite. Cellulite is an issue of fat cells and skin elasticity. Genes greatly determine if you will develop cellulite. Girls as young as 14 can show signs of cellulite. If you want to know how much cellulite you will have, take a look at your mother. Because cellulite is primarily a female issue, many doctors believe it is caused by high levels of female hormone estrogen. Many postnatal women or women on birth control develop cellulite because the body’s waste system can’t get rid of the enormous flow of estrogen in the body.

Cellulite can also be caused by lifestyle. If you have a poor diet including toxic foods, have bad circulation and fluid retention your chance of developing cellulite is higher. Women who lead sedentary lifestyles also increase their chances of cellulite due to a hardening of the connective tissue; this causes further dimpling in the skin. Aging also promotes cellulite since the subcutaneous skin layer becomes thinner. The contents of this deep skin layer are redistributed (usually with unflattering results) over time. Cellulite can also develop after a traumatic injury, when the circulatory system has been disturbed.

Cellulite is no different than other body fat; some fat just gets stored as cellulite in some parts of the body. And any excess body fat is caused by excess calories, no matter whether those calories come from bacon, donuts or carrot sticks. Past studies lumped saturated fat in with trans fat, giving the former a bad rap by association. But while trans fat is truly evil, saturated fat found mostly in animal products performs many critical functions, such as helping the body use calcium and omega 3s, boosting the immune system and protecting major organs from disease. And, in small quantities, it can even help your diet.

Myth 9: You always gain weight when you stop smoking

It’s fairly common to gain weight after you stop smoking, especially in the first few months, but not everybody gains weight. Some don’t at all. Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant and may slightly increase your metabolism as well. When you quit smoking, your appetite and metabolism return to normal — which may lead you to eat more and burn fewer calories. Also, your ability to smell and taste food improves after you quit smoking. This can make food more appealing, which may lead you to eat more. And if you substitute snacking for smoking, the calories may quickly add up.

To avoid weight gain when you quit smoking, make diet and exercise part of your stop-smoking plan. It may help to:

  • Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular exercise not only burns calories but also helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Make wise food choices. Plan good-for-you meals that include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat smaller portions. Limit sweets and alcohol.
  • Choose healthy snacks. If you’re hungry between meals, opt for snacks such as fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in its own juices, low-fat air-popped popcorn or fat-free yogurt.

Above all, remember that the health benefits of being smoke-free far exceed the problems associated with even moderate weight gain!

Myth 10: You can Eat Whatever you Want, As long as you Exercise

Whether you exercise once a year or every day of the year, the theory that you can eat whatever you want and not gain fat is almost impossible. While some people have fast metabolisms and are able to eat whatever they want and not gain weight, many of us still fall into the category of you are what you eat. If your goal is to have a slim, healthy, lean body, you should always watch what you eat. Be aware of what food you eat, how they make you feel and what the long and short-term effects of each meal may be. Yes, chocolate feels great once you’ve eaten it, but how do you feel once its been digested? Does the rapid drop of the high sugar rush make you feel sleepy and tired? Do you find yourself craving more chocolate? These are all factors that should be considered. Remember diet and exercise go hand in hand to help you achieve optimal health.

Myth 11: Beer Gives you a Gut

Drinking a bottle of wine or five pints of beer in an evening instead of over the course of a week gives you a big waist, British researchers say. They found the pattern of drinking rather than the total amount of alcohol consumed has a greater effect on waist size. The findings are significant because abdominal fat has been shown to be more dangerous for the heart than fat carried around the bottom and has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Men who binged had a waist size 2.3 inches (6cm) bigger than men who drank the same overall amount of alcohol but spread it out across the week, the study found. In women the effect was even more pronounced, with binge drinkers having a waist four inches (10cm) bigger than non-bingers. So moderate beer drinking will not give you a gut, but binge drink any type of alcohol and you most certainly WILL get a gut!

Myth 12: Juice detoxes, smoothies and diet sodas are effective weight-loss tools

People who regularly slurp artificial sweeteners are more likely to gain weight, according to a study published in the journal Obesity in 2008. The most touted explanation for this finding is that fake sweeteners increase cravings for calorie-dense foods, but the science behind this theory is mixed. Still, if you want to play it safe while tightening your belt, stick to water.

These are my top 12 diet myths. Do you know of any? Care to share?


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