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Seven Dieting Myths

Every year there are new trends and updated suggestions for healthy eating and weight loss.  Some are simply useless and others can be counterproductive.   After reading about many of these trends, we came across an excellent article from Refinery29  that was re-posted on The Huffington Post . It embraces the Heels to Laces way of life: avoid fad diets and instead live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  We have posted a portion of the the article below:

As a culture, we go through phases with our diet preferences — low-fat gave way to low-carb, dairy-free begat gluten-free, and eggs (poor eggs) are either omega-rich wunderkinds or insidious cholesterol bombs depending on the current political climate and whether or not Mercury’s in retrograde. Yet, there are some out-there diet myths that we simply can’t seem to shake.

Myth #1 You shouldn’t eat dinner (or anything else) after 7 p.m.

“There is no universal time that everyone should stop eating,” says Kinsella. “People get up at different times, go to sleep at different times, and eat at different times. Many countries eat dinner later than Americans but their populations weigh less than Americans do. Unless someone has an eating disorder and needs to eat at regular intervals to establish normalized hunger cues, or someone has a self-care reason for eating (like they’ll soon be stuck in a meeting without access to food), it is more important for people to be connected to their internal hunger cues than to be eating based on an external influence, like the clock.”

What’s even more curious is how this diet myth originated. Kinsella wonders if the don’t-eat-at-night rule may have more to do with how we regulate our earlier meals while dieting. “Some people get in bad cycles of skipping breakfast and then overeating at night,” she says. Furthermore, it’s often not about the time we eat but how we’re eating. “Sometimes, people find themselves late-night snacking out of habit while they’re watching TV. Both these patterns should be addressed simply because they aren’t self-care behaviors. But, non-hunger mindless snacking at 9 a.m. would be just as much of an issue as [it is at] 9 p.m.”

Myth #2 Your body doesn’t need carbohydrates. Carbs make you fat.

This line of thinking is central to quite a few diet programs, but Kinsella puts it right to bed. “With the exception of specialized diets for medical necessity, if someone isn’t eating carbohydrates, they aren’t functioning at their optimal level,” she says. “The brain alone uses 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. Carbohydrates are also necessary for serotonin production.”She adds that the maligned molecules are even more important if you engage in even moderate exercise. “Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for exercise and many people do not feel good when exercising without them. Since exercise is an essential component of self-care and health, eliminating carbohydrates can be detrimental to overall health.”Again, no one’s arguing that you need more Wonder Bread in your life, but “whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables all contain carbohydrates and are excellent sources of fiber. For this reason, many people on low-carb diets experience an unwanted side effect: constipation.” We’ve all been there. Let’s not go there again.


Myth #3 Paleo is the ideal diet, because we were all once Paleolithic people.

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This one particularly irks me. It’s at once so attractive to the dieter (“Of course! Ancient man didn’t have spaghetti, so I shouldn’t, either!”) and so ridiculous (Ancient man didn’t have lentils, and therefore lentils are bad for you?). We also need to acknowledge that we don’t live like ancient man. Consider, for example, that modern produce bears little resemblance to its Paleolithic ancestors. And, hunter-getherer diets varied drastically depending upon where the population lived. Lastly, when is the last time you actively pursued your steak before eating it?

No matter how healthy we aim to be, most of us will not continue an eating program if it doesn’t satisfy us. And, Kinsella warns, “the Paleo Diet certainly doesn’t emphasize enjoying your food. When people don’t enjoy their food, it’s difficult to eat mindfully and it is very difficult to sustain… If we look at the research on losing excess weight, it’s clear that people that include highly enjoyable food are actually more likely to maintain their loss.” In other words, we can put in painstaking dedication and effort to supplement the nutrients that paleo lacks, but the call of the bread or cheese — or even lentils —almost always wins out.“The Paleo Diet is based on eating food that can be hunted, fished, or gathered, such as meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, veggies, roots, and fruit, like berries. It does not include grains, dairy, beans, salt, and sugar. Whole grains, dairy, and beans are nutrient-rich foods. By eliminating them, you could be setting yourself up for a deficiency or eliminating nutrients that help prevent disease.”

Myth #4: There is such a thing as eating right for your blood type.

“No. There is no scientific evidence to support special diets based on blood type.”

Myth #5: Juicing is healthy and cleansing is necessary.

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I think we all know where this is going, but just in case:

 “The liver and kidneys are the body’s own detoxification system. They do a fantastic job of continuously removing waste products and toxins without the help of juice. Furthermore, there are some obvious drawbacks of juicing; juices are inadequate in protein, fat, essential fatty acids, and fiber. These nutrients are crucial for satiety and vital components for a balanced meal. The protein factor is particularly crucial here. When protein intake is inadequate, the body catabolizes protein from muscles and organs. Hence, someone on a juice cleanse ends up losing muscle mass — a major contributor to metabolism. They’ll likely end up with a worse body composition in the end.”

Read the rest of the article at http://bit.ly/1u0LYME

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6 Essential Nutrients

There are 6 essential nutrients our bodies depend on for proper functioning:

Water, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals.

Water

Water is the largest single component of the body. Up to 60% of our bodies are made up of water. Muscle holds the highest concentration of water while fat tissue holds someHealthy food pyramide on the white background of the lowest amounts.

The amount of water a person has in their body varies based on their proportion of muscles to fat tissue. So, a person who exercises more will have a higher percentage of water.

Water has a variety of functions that are essential to life:

  • Regulates your body temperature
  • Transports nutrients in our bodies
  • Flushes out waste
  • Helps our immune system and brain
  • Helps your joints work

As little as a 5-10 % loss can cause dehydration. When you are thirsty, it’s a sign your body is already dehydrated.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the energy we need for physical activity and organ function.

  • Our bodies break down carbohydrates in order to make glucose (the end result of carbohydrate digestion) for energy
  • Carbohydrates are necessary for the normal metabolism of fat

2 Types of Carbohydrates

  • Complex Carbohydrates / “Good Carbs” = starches like cereal, bread, beans, potatoes, and starchy vegetables.  Good carbs are fiber-rich carbohydrates, like those found in many complex carbohydrates. Good carbs are absorbed into our systems more slowly, which helps us avoid escalations in blood sugar and provide a lasting form of energy.
  • Simple Carbohydrates / “Bad Carbs” = milk, fruits and some vegetables are natural, simple carbs and are still healthy because they are rich in other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Bad carbs are foods that are refined or processed, such as white rice or white bread, and foods with added sugar such as desserts, candy, soda and sugary cereals. They should be avoided as they offer little to no nutritional value, while adding way too many calories to our diet; making them “empty” calories. Empty calories contribute to excessive weight gain and other associated health risks.

There is no “Recommended Daily Allowance” for sugar like there is for carbohydrates, because we get our glucose needs from good carbohydrates.

Protein

After water, proteins are the most abundant substances in most cells.  It is what our body’s tissues are made up of…our muscles, organs, immune system and, our hair, nails and skin. Protein builds strong muscles and repairs your body.

What foods have protein?

  • Protein is made up of amino acids…there are 20 amino acids, of which 9 are essential, which means the body can’t produce them on its own so you have to get them from food.
  • Protein is found in milk, eggs, peanut butter, chicken, fish, meat, yogurt, cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains

Fats

Fats are necessary for our body to survive – they transport fat-soluble vitamins and form cell membranes. Fat is also the coating under our skin and in our organs to insulate and protect our bodies. Fats are the major stored form of energy in the body.  Some fats are really good for us and some are not so good:

  • Good Fats (Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated – the healthiest): olive oil, nuts, milk, olives, avocado
  • Bad Fats (Saturated): butter, beef, pork, fried foods, mayo
  • Trans fatty acids (the most unhealthy): manufactured during food processing (ie. hydrogenated fats) 

Here’s an interesting fact…For energy, our body uses carbohydrates first, then fats and then protein as a last resort.

Vitamins

Vitamins are non-caloric, organic compounds that help our bodies grow, maintain and repair. There are two types of vitamins:

  • Fat-soluble: Vitamins A, D, E and K – can be stored in the liver. Therefore, an overdose on these vitamins can lead to toxic levels in the body.
  • Water-soluble: not able to be stored – they are excreted by the kidneys.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic compounds that assist processes and are part of the structures of the body (iron in blood and calcium in teeth and bones).

The body best absorbs vitamins and minerals when provided through natural sources than pill form.  Eating food triggers satiety, which prevents consuming toxic levels of nutrients, something pills can’t do.

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What’s In a Label?

Food labels have been increasingly confusing to decipher. Marketing companies focus their messaging on how to get people to buy their product, yet these messages can be deceiving when it comes to the contents of the product and the nutritional value of the ingredients. nutrition label

Nutritional health experts recommend that you keep your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, sugars, sodium and cholesterol as low as possible to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. However, marketing labels are often misleading when it comes to what you are buying.

Reading ingredient labels can really help you understand what you are consuming. For example, you may think 100% whole wheat bread or flavored Greek yogurts are healthy choices. However, the food label may reveal it contains additives including high fructose corn syrup, guar gum, colored dyes or artificial sweeteners including aspartame, sucralose/sucrose or Splenda. And the yogurt often may have up to 24 grams of sugar, per serving.

A product’s ingredients are listed in descending order of weight (from the most to the least). Typically, the less ingredients in a product, the less manufactured it is, which means the healthier it is to eat. Ingredients that are processed or manufactured are often difficult for our bodies to digest and use as fuel, or burn off as energy.

Recommendation on what to try to avoid when possible:

  • High fructose corn syrup – a highly refined sweetener made from genetically modified corn
  • Artificial sweeteners (acesulfame-K, aspertame, Equal, NutraSweet, Saccharin, Sweet’n Low, Sucralose, Splenda & Sorbitol) – they are chemically derived
  • Hydrogenated oils (trans fat) – actually illegal in some countries
  • “Enriched” and “bleached flour” (ie. “enriched” whole wheat flour has removed all of the nutrients and your body will have difficulty processing food with this ingredient. Carbs and empty calories are what remain- 100% whole wheat flour is the best option – or sprouted bread)
  • Foods with 10 ingredients or more – typically, the more ingredients, the more a food is artificially manufactured
  • Artificial colorings/flavorings  – found in everything from soda to snack cakes, they are chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color and flavor
  • Saturated fats – leading cause of high cholesterol
  • High sugars – refined white sugar has no nutrients and can cause premature aging, digestive problems and obesity
  • High sodium – can lead to high blood pressure and excessive bloating
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) – an artificial flavor enhancer added to many foods
  • Sodium nitrate – chemicals used to preserve meat
  • BPA – a hormone mimicking chemical found in nearly all food packaging plastics – known to be harmful to your health
  • GMOs (explained below)

Whenever you purchase a food item, remember to look at the Nutrition Facts label to understand the serving size and nutrients in a product and the ingredient label to avoid foods that are manufactured and may be hazardous to your health.

A general rule is to keep your daily intake of fat to less than 65 grams, saturated fat to less than 20 grams, cholesterol to less than 300 mg, sodium to less than 2400 mg, total carbohydrate to 300g and dietary fiber to 25 g (these are maximum measurements). Also, take a look at the serving size – it’s often misleading how many servings are in a package. For example, a Snapple bottle actually contains 2 servings – so you have to double the food label contents and calories.

AND what is all the hype about GMO?

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. The genetic material of food organisms have been altered using genetic engineering techniques, creating unstable genes that do not naturally occur.

In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed food. Most of which, are unlabeled in America.

Why GMOs are deemed bad for your body & environment:

  • The health consequences of GMOs are unknown and potentially dangerous.
  • GMOs have been rendered toxic when ingested (studies still pending).
  • GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides (poisons). But companies produce them, as they are focused on mass production and revenue.
  • Our bodies do not know how to digest GMOs.

Genetically modified organisms have not been proven to be safe in any way, and most of the studies are actually leaning in the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries have banned these items.

The best way to avoid GMOs is to buy organic.

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