Some Key facts to Dispel Some Old Nutrition Myths
1. Dieting isn’t the answer to long term weight management.
Think about any diet you’ve ever been on and then look at the results. If you’re like most people, you probably lost weight initially and then regained it (and maybe even some more) when you returned to ‘normal’ eating. Diets initially seem to work because they usually involve some kind of restriction – we eat less and start lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The problem with most diets is that they aren’t sustainable in the long term and the on-off cycle of yo-yo dieting messes with your hormones and metabolism.
“If you want to do one thing to immediately improve your health, start eating more fruit and vegetables every day.”
2. Real food is the key to good health and weight management.
I know it sounds simple and really it is – doing it is the hard part! What I mean by real food is simply unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible. Single ingredients like fruit and veggies, meat and fish or dishes you’ve made yourself by combining single ingredients. If you want to do one thing to immediately improve your health, start eating more fruit and vegetables every day.
3. You can’t trust food labels.
Understanding food labels is an absolute necessity these days. Food manufacturers want to sell us their products and they know we’re looking to buy healthy foods, which is why you’ll often find exaggerated claims on the packaging. One of the biggest culprits is the good old “low fat” label; I really hope that you still don’t think “low fat” equals healthy. What it usually means is that the product is loaded up with sugar and other not-so desirable ingredients instead. You need to know what ingredients and how much of each, are in the food products you’re buying.
4. Fat and cholesterol won’t make you fat.
We were led to believe in the past that fat is bad, especially saturated fat and unfortunately that steered us towards margarines and vegetable oils. However, there is plenty of evidence now showing that saturated fats and natural dietary cholesterol in small amounts are good for you. There is such a thing as healthy fat and we need to consume healthy fats every day.
“We need to consume healthy fats every day.”
5. Refined and processed oils are not good for you. I believe the best oils and fats to use are natural saturated fats and mono unsaturated fats. Like butter, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined coconut oil, in small amounts. Seed and vegetable oils are highly processed and high in Omega 6 fatty acids which can be a major cause of inflammation in the body, leading to all sorts of health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Our bodies need a balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and eating the typical Western diet throws the ratio out of whack.
6. Carbohydrates aren’t evil, (not all of them anyway!)
Carbs get a pretty bad rap these days, but fruit & veggies and whole grains are really important for good health. Even potatoes and bananas are okay, again in the right amounts (yes, I’m gonna keep saying it.) The carbs you want to steer clear of and only consume in small amounts if you really must are the refined carbs found in processed foods: white bread, cakes, pastries, crisps/potato chips, ice cream, etc. You’ll find that these processed foods also contain the oils and trans fats that you should be avoiding. If you can’t imagine life without snacks, don’t worry I get it, I can’t either! Just make your own – I’ve got loads of great recipes here on my blog that only use good quality ingredients and they taste great too.
7. Eat protein, carbohydrates and fat at every meal.
Cutting out, or severely restricting a food group can be harmful to your health. Ideally you should be eating protein, carbohydrates and fats with each meal; the right kind, in the right amounts, of course. Eating the right amount of protein will help build and maintain muscle mass, which in turn boosts your metabolism. Carbohydrates provide energy and of course I’m talking about fruit, vegetables and whole grains (not the refined, processed kind). Good fats are essential for our brain, skin and other tissues.
“Cutting back on your sugar intake isn’t as easy as it once was.”
8. Excessive amounts of sugar is not good for you. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you already know this. The problem tho, is that most people don’t realise how much sugar they’re actually consuming on a daily basis, as there are many hidden sources. Cutting back on your sugar intake isn’t as easy as it once was, like leaving it out of your daily coffee, or cutting out soft drinks. That’s a great start, but take some time when you’re at the supermarket next and read some product labels. I guarantee you’ll at least be surprised, if not shocked, by how many products contain sugar and the amounts. If you have kids, I suggest you spend some time in the cereal aisle; look at the cereals and bars that are targeted towards kids and labelled ‘whole grain’ – you’ll find that very eye opening.
9. You don’t need to be a cardio bunny to lose weight.
I know this one isn’t technically about nutrition, but it still relates to dieting and living a healthy lifestyle. A mixture of HIIT (high intensity interval training), combined with strength training and/or LISS (low impact, steady state cardio) is the key. Try some 20-30 minute sessions that combine bursts of high intensity with short rest periods. Strength training will help you burn fat, simply because more muscle = a higher metabolism. This becomes even more important as we age. And no ladies, you won’t suddenly develop huge muscles by adding a couple of strength sessions each week – it takes a whole lot more than that, just ask any bodybuilder! So ideally, you should be doing a combination of different things – it’ll help you to keep getting results and keep it interesting. For the best results, get some expert help if you can from a qualified trainer.
So I hope you’ve learned something from reading this article and maybe it’s inspired you to take some action, like checking out the labels on your cereal packet, or swapping that biscuit for a piece of fruit.
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