That’s why I’m here to solve your eating dilemmas. Here are five common food myths debunked and what to do instead, so you’ll know exactly what to reach for the next time you reach into the cupboard.
Myth #1: Nuts and avocado are fattening and should be avoided.
Truth: Foods like nuts and avocados consist of monounsaturated fats, which are the best ones for you. Monounsaturated fats that are known to lower cholesterol and these, along with polyunsaturated fats, should be the where the majority of the fat in your diet comes from. Nuts and avocados are also very high in vitamins and minerals.
What to Do: Have a handful of nuts or some avocado as a healthy snack as it will keep you full. Rule of thumb: Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats!) come from vegetarian sources and saturated fats (not so good fats!) come from animal products such as cheese, meats, seafood and ice cream.
Myth #2: High protein, low-carb diets are a great way to lose weight.
Truth: While these types of diets may make you lose weight quickly, the weight that you will lose is water and lean muscle mass. Therefore, as soon as you go back to a normalized diet, you will gain the weight back.
What to do: When it comes to dieting, the safest and most effective way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet AND exercise. Remember: 3500 calories equals 1lb., so try to decrease your total calories by 500 a day to burn one pound a week (500 X 7 = 3500!). Eliminate 250 cals from your food intake, and add a 250-calorie burn from exercise.
Myth #3: Certain foods can burn fat.
Truth: The “negative calorie effect” (the act of chewing and digesting foods burns more calories than the food contains) is a farce! The calories that your body burns while chewing and during digestion are miniscule compared to the amount of calories in a given food, even if it is celery, cucumbers or citrus fruits (common foods on the erroneous negative calorie list).
What to Do: Eat these foods because they are good for you and you like them. Don’t think that you don’t have to exercise to maintain your weight, lose weight or be healthy!
Myth #4: Diet soft drinks are better than regular because they don’t count towards weight gain and caloric intake.
Truth: Several large studies have shown that people who drank diet soft drinks, even just one per day, did not lose weight and were significantly more likely to become overweight than people who drank regular soft drinks. Why? The mechanism is not completely known, but it’s the thought that the artificial sweeteners may muddle the brain chemistry and intensify the desire for sweets. The more fake (or real) sweet products you consume, the more you want!
What to Do: Of course, it is better not to have soft drinks at all, but if you get a hankering for one, try to stick to the mini cans of the real thing.
Myth #5: Eating in the evening/nighttime promotes weight gain.
Truth: No matter what time you eat, you gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn. The reason why it is said not to eat at nighttime is because people tend to eat an extra unnecessary meal or snack that is typically unhealthy. Do consider, however, when eating late night (post 10 p.m.), there will be a disturbance of the natural circadian rhythms of the body that can affect your sleep patterns.
What to do: If you are hungry at nighttime and you don’t think you have eaten your goal intake for the day, go ahead and eat! If it is an “extra” meal or snack, try to keep it light by eating fruits and/or veggies.