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Myths about Food, Weight, and Body Image

Myth

People are fat because they eat too much.

Fact

In Fact, most people who are large eat no more than normal weight people.

Myth

Anyone can be slim; it just takes a little self control.

Fact

Weight is extremely resistant to change. Dieting doesn't work; in Fact, typically when dieters stop dieting they gain back all their weight plus a few pounds each time they diet. Each person's body seems to have a "set point" weight where it naturally tends to stay. Dieting actually moves this set point upward in response to the deprivation the body experiences as a threat of starvation.

Myth

Being overweight is bad for your health.

Fact

Researchers are now finding that being underweight is just as bad for health as being overweight. The recurrent cycle of weight loss and gain (yo-yo dieting) is now thought to be more harmful than just being large and staying large.

Myth

Large = out of shape.

Fact

Not necessarily true. There are exercise and aerobics programs for large people, and some large people have excellent strength and endurance. (Conversely, some slim people have very poor levels of physical fitness.)

Myth

You can find out your ideal weight by consulting a weight table.

Fact

Weight tables disagree about ideal weights. If you have not distorted your natural healthy weight by yo-yo dieting and you build sensible, moderate eating and exercise habits and a positive body image, your body will naturally settle at its healthiest weight. This may not be the same weight as another person your height, but it will be right for you. Life insurance company weight tables have been revised upward in recent years as studies indicate that heavier people live longer. It has been realized that the weight tables of the past have been artificially and unhealthily low.

Steer Clear of Old Myths about Foods:

Myth

Asparagus is a diuretic.

Truth

Asparagus is not a diuretic. It just creates an odor during urination.

Myth

Potatoes and bread make you fat.

Truth

Both are healthy carbohydrates that average about 100 calories and are low in fat. It's what you add to both that increases fat. (i.e. butter, sour cream, mayonnaise)

Myth

Eating after 6 p.m. makes you gain weight.

Truth

Eating at night tends to lead to consuming higher calories because you are home, near the T.V. (did you ever notice what most of the commercials feature?) near the refrigerator and relaxed. Or you are eating out at a party or in a restaurant where you tend to eat higher fat and calories and larger portions. Calories are the same at any hour of the day.

Myth

Drinking lots of water makes you retain fluid.

Truth

Water acts as a natural diuretic. It will help flush out your system of toxins.

Don't cut calories too much when trying to shed pounds

National studies have shown that most people try to lose weight by consuming too few calories. By popular opinion, the operative calorie count seems to be about 1,000 for both men and women trying to lose weight. Cutting calories to fewer than 1,200 calories a day, however, may be sabotaging your effort to lose. If you don't feel satisfied, you're going to cheat. Also, it undermines your vitamin intake of such important nutrients as magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and folic acid. If you want to lose weight, up your calories to 1,200 and be satisfied with slower weight loss but longer-lasting results for a healthier you.

You don't have to lose a lot of weight to get healthier

If you lose only five to ten percent of your weight when you want to lose 20 to 30 percent or more, don't get discouraged. You will still get these healthy benefits from just a small weight loss: lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, lowered risk for osteoporosis and other joint problems, reduced sleep apnea symptoms and enhanced self image. Go for it!

Myth: Brown Eggs Are More Nutritious Than White Egg

According to Superquinn, the color of the shell has no influence on the nutritional value of the egg. If you eat white eggs, they are just as nutritious as brown eggs. The authors of fuel4fitness say that the color of the egg is determined from the bred of the chicken. The breeds that lay brown eggs are the Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Plymouth Rock. If you were to examine the chickens you would find that white chickens lay white eggs and that brown chickens lay brown eggs. Enjoy eating your eggs whether they are brown or white. Do not spend extra money to get brown eggs thinking that you are getting more nutrition, because that is only a Myth.

Myth: Drinking Liquids While Exercising or after exercise is harmful.

If you are exercising, drinking liquid is doubly important. (Cold liquids are better). When you sweat a lot, your body loses even more water than usual, and more you sweat, the more liquid you'll need to drink. When it's hot, it's even more important that you drink liquid, because you are at a higher risk for heat exhaustion. Drinking cold liquids during exercise does not cause cramps at all. The cause of cramps is thought to be related to dehydration. Cold drinks (40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or refrigerator temperature) are the optimal beverages during physical activity because they leave the stomach more quickly than warm liquids. If you continue to exercise without proper fluid intake you make experience dizziness, nausea, or faint. These are the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Hot liquids are better to drink than cold liquids when exercising.

Myth: MSG is a Safe Food Additive for Everyone.

MSG, monosodium glutamate, is used as a flavor enhancer in a variety of foods. It is the sodium salt of amino acid glutamic acid and a form of glutamate. It does not have a distinct taste of its own, but adds flavor to food. It is easily available in a crystalline form and looks like sugar. People sensitive to MSG may have adverse reactions that includes migraine headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and chest pain. A reaction is most common if the MSG is eaten in a large amount or in a liquid, such as soup. Three grams is considered a large dose. Most foods containing MSG have one-half gram or less. People with severe asthma should avoid foods with MSG or other glutamates. (Health Plus)

Myth

Eating at night is a surefire road to obesity. You should not eat after 8:00 p.m.

Fact

There is nothing wrong with a bedtime snack, especially if it's a healthy one. You'll gain weight only if it adds excess calories to your daily intake that you don't burnt off. Some studies that link nighttime eating with weight gain have been done with people who overeat at night.

People who, at night, sit in front of the TV or computer with high-calorie snacks may overeat, but it's not the time of day that causes them to gain weight.

Myth

If it tastes good, it must be bad for me.

Fact

This is nonsense. Health and good taste can absolutely go together. Health isn't about denial, it's about smart choices and moderation. Fruits, vegetables and grain, for example, are all delicious foods with amazing health benefits. And, even foods like chocolate or premium ice cream can be included in your diet as long as you balance the treats with healthy foods and exercise.

Myth

Sugar is white death.

Fact

Don't believe it. There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that eating sugar, in any normal quantity, will cause diabetes, heart disease, hyperactivity in children or obesity. Sugar doesn't have any particular nutritional value -- it supplies energy and taste and that's all -- but at 16 calories per teaspoon, you have to eat a lot before it puts on weight. Sugar, however, does play a role in tooth decay, which is why it's important to brush after eating.

Myth

Eating bran muffins is the best way to add fibre to your diet.

Fact

True, a large bran muffin can contain 6 to 8 grams of fibre, but it also can contain 350 to 500 calories, much of it coming from fat. You can get an equivalent (or more) amount of fibre, without all the fat, from a bowl of bran cereal and low-fat milk. Another way to increase your dietary fibre is to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Myth

You shouldn't eat meat and potatoes or other protein and carb combinations at the same meal.

Fact

There are numerous books based on the food combining theory that our body cannot digest certain foods when they are eaten together. Nothing could be further from the truth. Digestion starts the minute food enters our mouth where saliva begins to break down the food. As it moves along the digestive tract, a series of different digestive enzymes work to break the foods down into their individual components. Our body doesn't distinguish if the food was eaten singly or in combination with others. The beauty of our digestive tract is that it is specifically designed for our mixed diet. Most foods are actually natural food combinations. Bread and pasta, for example, are a combination of protein, carbohydrate and a little fat, lentils are protein and carbohydrate and vegetables are mostly carbohydrate, some protein and a bit of fat. If we had to eat only pure carbohydrates or pure proteins, we would have difficulty finding any foods to eat.

Myth

Everything you eat after 8 p.m. turns to fat.

Fact

Nothing magical happens to your body at eight in the evening. The kinds of foods you eat are the concern ... not the clock.

Myth

When you eat less, your stomach will shrink.

Fact

Your stomach is able to expand to handle large amounts of food, but once the food leaves your stomach, it returns to its normal size. When you diet or eat less, your stomach just keeps this normal size.

Myth

You shouldn't eat proteins and carbohydrates at the same meal.

Fact

Most foods are actually natural food combinations. Bread and pasta, for example, are a combination of protein, carbohydrates and a little fat, lentils are protein and carbohydrates and vegetables are mostly carbohydrates and some protein. Our body doesn't distinguish if food is eaten singly or in combination with others.

Myth

Lecithin supplements will help lower cholesterol.

Fact

Lecithin is a type of fat produced by our bodies. It's also found abundantly in such foods as eggs, meat, soy beans, nuts and whole grains.

Lecithin is commonly used in the food industry as an emulsifier. This means it keeps the fat globules in suspension in products such as salad dressing. However, in the body, lecithin does not have the same effect and taking extra does not appear to offer benefits.

Myth

Chocolate and fast foods can cause acne.

Fact

Most doctors agree that diet does not cause acne. In rare instances, sensitivity to a food may exacerbate existing acne, but it is unlikely that any food actually causes it.

Myth

Raisins are a great snack for kids.

Fact

Raisins are healthy sources of iron and fibre but are not a "dentally sound" snack. Their stickiness makes them a poor between-meal snack for kids.

Myth

Pasteurization destroys the nutrients in milk.

Fact

Drinking unpasteurized milk is actually dangerous. The process does destroy some of the Vitamin C but we easily get this vitamin in many other foods. The key nutrients like calcium and protein are still intact.

Myth

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium.

Fact

Cottage cheese is high in protein and may be low in fat. It's not the calcium source many of us assume it to be. One cup of cottage cheese contains 138 mg calcium while 11/2 ounces of hard cheese contains 325 mg.

Myth

Sea salt is healthier than regular salt.

Fact

There are no documented health advantages to sea salt. It's an alternate salt with a slightly different taste from table salt but is still a major source of sodium and contains no other important nutrients.

Myth

Eating grapefruit, vinegar or other acidic food will help you burn fat and lose weight.

Fact

There is no food or combination of foods that will alter your metabolism or help burn fat more quickly. If you lose weight when you eat these foods, it's probably because you are substituting it for another food that has more calories.

Myth

Cold beer is a great fluid replacement on hot summer days.

Fact

Alcohol is a diuretic, which increases urine output and promotes dehydration.

Myth

"Light" olive oil has fewer calories and fat than regular oil.

Fact

Light olive oil is light in colour and flavour, not in calories. All oils, light or regular, have about 14 grams of fat and 120 calories per tablespoon.

Myth

Heart disease in America is caused by consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products.

Truth

During the period of rapid increase in heart disease (1920-1960), American consumption of animal fats declined but consumption of hydrogenated and industrially processed vegetable fats increased dramatically. (USDA-HNI)

Myth

Saturated fat clogs arteries.

Truth

The fatty acids found in artery clogs are mostly unsaturated (74%) of which 41% are polyunsaturated.

Myth

Vegetarianism is healthy.

Truth

The annual all-cause death rate of vegetarian men is slightly more than that of non-vegetarian men (.93% vs .89%); the annual death rate of vegetarian women is significantly more than that of non-vegetarian women (.86% vs .54%)

Myth

Vitamin B12 can be obtained from certain plant sources such as blue-green algae and soy products.

Truth

Vitamin B12 is not absorbed from plant sources. Modern soy products increase the body's need for B12.

Myth

For good health, serum cholesterol should be less than 180 mg/dl.

Truth

The all-cause death rate is higher in individuals with cholesterol levels lower than 180 mg/dl.

Myth

Animal fats cause cancer and heart disease.

Truth

Animal fats contain many nutrients that protect against cancer and heart disease; elevated rates of cancer and heart disease are associated with consumption of large amounts of vegetable oils.

Myth

Children benefit from a low-fat diet.

Truth

Children on low-fat diets suffer from growth problems, failure to thrive & learning disabilities.

Myth

A low-fat diet will make you "feel better . . . and increase your joy of living."

Truth

Low-fat diets are associated with increased rates of depression, psychological problems, fatigue, violence and suicide.

Myth

To avoid heart disease, we should use margarine instead of butter.

Truth

Margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters.

Myth

Americans do not consume enough essential fatty acids.

Truth

Americans consume far too much of one kind of EFA (omega-6 EFAs found in most polyunsaturated vegetable oils) but not enough of another kind of EFA (omega-3 EFAs found in fish, fish oils, eggs from properly fed chickens, dark green vegetables and herbs, and oils from certain seeds such as flax and chia, nuts such as walnuts and in small amounts in all whole grains.)

Myth

A vegetarian diet will protect you against atherosclerosis.

Truth

The International Atherosclerosis Project found that vegetarians had just as much atherosclerosis as meat eaters.

Myth

Low-fat diets prevent breast cancer.

Truth

A recent study found that women on very low-fat diets (less than 20%) had the same rate of breast cancer as women who consumed large amounts of fat.

Myth

The "cave man diet" was low in fat.

Truth

Throughout the world, primitive peoples sought out and consumed fat from fish and shellfish, water fowl, sea mammals, land birds, insects, reptiles, rodents, bears, dogs, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, game, eggs, nuts and milk products.

Myth

Coconut oil causes heart disease.

Truth

When coconut oil was fed as 7% of energy to patients recovering from heart attacks, the patients had greater improvement compared to untreated controls, and no difference compared to patents treated with corn or safflower oils. Populations that consume coconut oil have low rates of heart disease. Coconut oil may also be one of the most useful oils to prevent heart disease because of its antiviral and antimicrobial characteristics.

Myth

Saturated fats inhibit production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Truth

Saturated fats actually improve the production of all prostaglandins by facilitating the conversion of essential fatty acids.

Myth

Arachidonic acid in foods like liver, butter and egg yolks causes production of "bad" inflammatory prostaglandins.

Truth

Series 2 prostaglandins that the body makes from arachidonic acid both encourage and inhibit inflammation under appropriate circumstances. Arachidonic acid is vital for the function of the brain and nervous system.

True or False...almost all wellness deficiencies are part of the normal aging process. There's nothing you can do about it.
True or False...all required nutrients are obtained from your average daily food intake, therefore taking vitamins is a big waste of money.
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