Are Common Diet Myths Preventing you from Eating a Healthy Diet?
There are so many healthy eating tips making the rounds these days that it’s difficult to know which ones to believe. Drink more water! Don’t eat after 8 p.m.! Avoid eating anything white! Some seem to make sense than others, but are any of them actually valid? We’ve explored a few of the most common diet myths to get to the bottom of what you really should be doing to improve your health and lose weight.
Diet Myth #1: Drinking water helps curb your appetite.
Truth: Water won’t keep you satisfied for long.
Drinking excessive amount of water may initially help you to feel full, but since it moves through the gastrointestinal tract quickly, it won’t keep you satisfied for very long. Of course, if you normally drink sugary sodas and juices, replacing them with H2O may help you shed a few pounds.
Healthy Eating Tip: Water is essential to a healthy diet, and if drinking some right before a meal helps you eat less, go for it. However, it doesn’t have any magic appetite-control properties.
Diet Myth #2: The more calories you cut, the more weight you’ll lose.
Truth: Cutting too many calories can be harmful and sends you into “starvation mode.”
If you cut your daily caloric intake too severely, you could send your body into starvation mode. This can cause a loss of muscle mass and a decrease in your metabolic rate, both of which can sabotage your weight loss and fitness efforts. Most health experts agree that cutting your daily caloric intake below 1,000 to 1,200 calories is not healthy. And if you’re working out regularly, you need enough calories to give you the energy to give it your all.
Healthy Eating Tip: For a healthy diet, it’s best to get the biggest nutritional benefit out of the calories you do consume by choosing high-fiber, nutrient-rich foods.
Diet Myth #3: White foods are bad, and brown foods are good.
Truth: You shouldn’t judge a food by its color.
White bread has gotten a bad rap. Although it lacks the nutrients and fiber found in the whole-wheat varieties, not all white foods are bad. Some foods that are naturally white, such as bananas and pears, are packed with nutritional value. It’s the white foods that have had the bran removed, and most of the nutrients and fiber along with it, such as white rice and white pasta, that are not as beneficial to one’s health. Likewise, not all brown foods are packed with fiber. Just consider chocolate cake.
Healthy Eating Tip: Look at the nutritional value of the food, not just the color. Look for whole grain and whole wheat toward the beginning of the ingredients list, and pick those with high amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Diet Myth #4: Food eaten after 8 p.m. is more likely to be converted into fat.
Fact: Food can’t tell time. It’s the total amount of calories you eat that matters.
Although the reasoning may seem sound – calories consumed late at night are not burned as quickly because you are less active – it doesn’t play out that way. It’s the total amount of calories that you eat during a day, and not the time of day you eat them, that matters. A cookie eaten at noon has the same amount of calories as one eaten at 10 p.m. However, there are other reasons to avoid eating at night. You may be more likely to eat several cookies late at night, especially if you’re munching in front of the television or you tend to lose willpower in the evening. Also, many people experience indigestion when they eat late at night.
Healthy Eating Tip: If you want to lose weight, focus on burning more calories than you consume in a day. And if your willpower fades when you eat late, just don’t do it.
Diet Myth #5: Certain foods, such as grapefruit and celery, burn fat.
Truth: No food has special fat-burning powers.
Although the grapefruit diet comes back periodically as a diet miracle, it simply doesn’t work. Neither does the cabbage soup diet or the celery diet. No food is able to burn fat. Weight loss still comes down to burning more calories than you consume by exercising and otherwise being active.
Healthy Eating Tip: If you enjoy these foods, make them a part of your healthy diet. They are packed with nutritional value, but they won’t burn extra fat.
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