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    Nutrition Myths to Avoid

    Nutrition Myths to Avoid


    Don’t eat eggs: Eggs are a good source of high quality protein for healthy muscles, vitamin D for strong bones, and iron to prevent anemia.  However, don’t forget about the cholesterol.  One egg yolk provides about 200 mg of cholesterol that counts towards the recommended daily limit of 300 mg per day.  So enjoy eggs in moderation, the American Heart Association recommends 4 yolks per week. 

    Butter is a better choice: The butter vs. margarine debate has been long-lived.  Butter is high in saturated fat, margarine may contain hydrogenated oil and trans fat.  So what is the really best?  Trans fat and hydrogenated oil should be avoided, but not all margarines contain these types of fats.  Check the nutrition label to make sure it has 0 g of trans fat.  Then check the ingredient list to be sure it does not include any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil (also make sure the first ingredient is a vegetable oil or water).  It is recommended to keep saturated fat intake as low as possible, so the next step is to find the product with the least amount of saturated fat.  Usually a tub margarine will be the winning pick.

    Periodic fasting or cleanses are important to help your body detox: Your body is equipped with an amazing detox system of its own in the form of your kidneys and liver.  There is no scientific evidence that fasting or liquid cleanses help this system perform better.

    Eating 6 small meals per day increases metabolism: It has been suggested that eating small frequent meals revs metabolism and increases daily calorie burn.  However, research shows that individuals lose the same amount of weight on diets that provide an equal number of calories and that they burn the same amount of calories throughout the day regardless of whether they eat 2-3 times or 6 + times per day.  So do what works best with your daily routine, just be sure to eat often enough to prevent extreme hunger.  It is more difficult to make healthy choices and practice portion control when feeling ravenous.

    Carbohydrates cause weight gain: Carbohydrate is your body’s main source of fuel and a diet that includes carbohydrate-containing foods (especially whole grains and fruits and vegetables) has been shown to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  When consumed in appropriate amounts as part of a calorie balanced diet, calories from carbohydrates are no more likely to cause weight gain than calories from protein or fat.

    You shouldn’t weigh every day:  Actually, recent studies have shown that weighing every day can help you to stick to your healthy eating and exercise goals better than less frequent weighing.  Keep in mind that, for accuracy, you should weigh on the same scale at the same time every day and expect some modest fluctuation in your weight related to your current hydration status.

    Eating carbs will make me gain weight: The New England Journal of Medicine published a great study that compared four weight loss diets each containing different amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.  Some diets were higher in carbs, others higher in protein, etc.  This study found that there was not a long-term difference in the amount of weight loss with any particular diet.  People can lose weight on low carb or high carb diets.  What really matters is overall calorie intake.

    An “all natural”, whole foods diet will help me lose weight:  Even “all natural” foods contain calories and some “all natural” products contain a lot of calories.  Eating too many calories, in general, will lead to weight gain.  So overeating “all natural” potato chips will contribute just as much to weight gain as overeating processed potato chips.  If you want to lose weight and eat more natural foods, consume more whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

    Diet soda is better than regular soda: Studies have shown that even though diet soda contains no calories, there is a correlation between diet soda intake and higher body weights.  While the exact mechanism for this is unknown, the correlation is strong enough to support a recommendation to limit diet soda consumption.

    A pound is 3500 calories.  I’ll lose a pound for every 3500 calories I burn: Actually, in the beginning of weight loss, it takes fewer calories to lose each pound of weight because a lot of the weight loss comes from fluid and protein losses rather than fat loss.  As you move further along in your weight loss journey, however, it will take more calories to lose each pound of weight as your body shifts to supporting more fat loss and also adjusts your metabolism downward in an effort to protect against further weight loss.  In many people, after about a year, it could take a calorie deficit of well over 3500 calories to lose each extra pound of weight.  This isn’t necessarily a reason to give up on weight loss but knowing this can help minimize frustration when it seems to take longer than you originally planned.

    Fact: Skipping breakfast can save you calories and help you lose weight.  We’ve all heard the breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  In the past, studies have argued that skipping breakfast leads people to overeat later in the day. However, several more recent studies have questioned this past finding and show that people can consume fewer calories by skipping breakfast.  Keep in mind, that breakfast has other benefits such as improving your creativity and concentration and often contributes healthy nutrition components (fiber, calcium, fruit) that are insufficient in most people’s diet.

    Fact: You can lose weight without exercising.  The National Weight Control Registry – which follows a cohort of people who have successfully lost at least 30# and kept the weight off for longer than a year – has shown that it is possible to lose weight by only eating less without increasing you physical activity – though this is in a minority of cases.  We want to lose weight and feel great.  Regular exercise is an important component of a healthy lifestyle that minimizes the risk of chronic disease and helps us to feel better every day.