In our very first blog we spoke about the confusion, misinformation and just wrong information out there. Here are some of the more common myths that may actually be causing you to gain weight.
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See if you have been believing any of these myths:
Myth #1: Eating red meat is bad for your health and makes it harder to lose weight.
Fact: Eating lean meat in small amounts can be part of a healthy weight-loss plan. Red meat, pork, chicken, and fish contain some cholesterol and saturated fat (the least healthy kind of fat). They also contain healthy nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. Choose cuts of meat that are lower in fat and trim all visible fat. Lower fat meats include:
Myth #2: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milks and some yogurts are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium.
Tip: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people aged 9 to 18 and over age 50 have three servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese a day. Adults aged 19 to 49 need two servings a day, even when trying to lose weight. A serving is equal to 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1½ ounces of natural cheese such as cheddar, or 2 ounces of processed cheese such as American.
Myth #3: “Going vegetarian” means you are sure to lose weight and be healthier.
Fact: Research shows that people who follow a vegetarian eating plan, on average, eat fewer calories and less fat than non-vegetarians. They also tend to have lower body weights relative to their heights than non-vegetarians. Choosing a vegetarian eating plan with a low fat content may be helpful for weight loss. But vegetarians, like non-vegetarians, can make food choices that contribute to weight gain, such as eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods or foods with little or no nutritional value.
Choose a vegetarian eating plan that is low in fat and that provides all of the nutrients your body needs:
Iron: cashews, spinach, lentils, garbanzo beans, fortified bread or cereal
Calcium: dairy products, fortified soy-based beverages or fruit juices, tofu made with calcium sulfate, collard greens, kale, broccoli
Vitamin D: fortified foods and beverages including milk, soy-based beverages, fruit juices, or cereal
Vitamin B12: eggs, dairy products, fortified cereal or soy-based beverages, tempeh, miso (tempeh and miso are foods made from soybeans)
Zinc: whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, lettuce)
Protein: eggs, dairy products, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, soy-based burgers.
Myth #4: Low-fat or no-fat diets are good for you.
Fact: Leading dietician Lyndel Costain says: ‘People tend to think they need a low-fat diet to lose weight, but you should still have a third of your calories coming from fat.’
The body needs fat for energy, tissue repair and to transport vitamins A, D, E and K around the body.
Lyndel Costain adds: ‘As a guideline, women need 70g of fat a day (95g for men) with 30g as the minimum (40g for men).
‘There’s no need to follow a fat-free diet. Cutting down on saturated fats and eating unsaturated fats, found in things like olive oil and avocados, will help.’
Myth #5: Food eaten late at night is more fattening.
Fact: Many diets tell you not to eat after a certain time in the evening. They say the body will store more fat because it is not burned off with any activity.
A study at the Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge suggests otherwise.
Volunteers were placed in a whole body calorimeter, which measures calories burned and stored. They were fed with a large lunch and small evening meal for one test period, then a small lunch and large evening meal during a second test period.
The results revealed the large meal eaten late at night did not make the body store more fat. It’s not when you eat that’s important, but the total amount you consume in a 24-hour period.
It is true that people who skip meals during the day, then eat loads in the evening are more likely to be overweight than those who eat regularly throughout the day.
This may be because eating regular meals helps people regulate their appetite and overall food intake.
Myth #6: Everyone Gains (and Loses) the Same Way
Fact: In 1990, Canadian researcher Claude Bouchard wanted to test the idea that everyone gains weight in exactly the same way, so he asked 12 sets of male identical twins to overeat by 1,000 calories a day while limiting their physical activity to just 30 minutes. To ensure they stuck with the program, he locked them in a room and carefully controlled every morsel they ate for 90 days.
Bouchard predicted that by the end of their stay, each of his volunteers would gain 24 pounds. But that’s not what happened.
Some sets of twins gained as little as 10 pounds while other sets added nearly 30 pounds. The twins in each set gained virtually the same amount of weight, but the difference in weight gain between unrelated sets of twins was threefold and their pattern of fat distribution differed by sixfold
Myth #7: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Carbs are necessary for a balanced diet
Carbohydrates do not make you fat. Calories make you fat. Often it’s the sugar and fat contained in carbohydrates that make you fat. Also a lot of carbohydrates are processed, so you don’t get the advantage of feeling full from fiber found in unprocessed carbs. For example, whole grain pasta is more filling — and makes you feel satisfied longer — than white pasta, though both have the same amount of calories. What will change the number of calories is the amount of sauce and butter you put on your pasta. What you want to do is eat carbs in moderation.
Myth #8: Nuts are fattening
Fact: When on weight loss regime people tend to avoid nuts and dry fruits completely. It is common to think of them as fattening. But in reality nuts are rich sources of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, K and Mg that are extremely beneficial for the heart. They are rich in protein and fiber too. Just a small quantity is highly satisfying and filling. Therefore 25 to 30 grams a day of mixed nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans) could constitute an extremely healthy snack food. Dry fruits like dates, raisin, fig, apricots could be an excellent substitute for fatty deserts and sweets.
Myth #9: If you’re not sweating while working out, you’re not working hard enough
Fact: There is zero correlation between perspiration and weight loss. The only thing sweat signifies is that the body is working to cool itself off. Everyone sweats differently. And, anyway, it is not clear that working out for a shorter period at a higher intensity is better than working out for a longer duration at a lower intensity. In terms of weight loss, what works best for your lifestyle and your schedule is what is going to work best — because you’ll stick with it. Your muscles will continue to burn calories after both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Myth #10: you should wait until you are hungry to eat
Fact: People who skip meals or eat erratically have a tendency to overeat to make up for the food they missed. And eating too few calories actually triggers your body to hold on to fat and burn fewer calories. “Hunger is a great indication that your metabolism is turned on,” says Borden. “If your metabolism is turned on, you should feel hunger every three to four hours.” Bottom line: Being hungry is a good sign, it means that your body’s working the way it’s supposed to, to burn off calories and keep running smoothly. On the other hand, starving yourself to the point where your body thinks it needs to conserve calories for the long haul is both unhealthy and works against your weight loss goal. So don’t be afraid to eat when you’re hungry — just make wise choices.