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Debunking the myths

 

The diet industry is saturated with unhealthy weight-loss schemes that have led to a world of misconceptions when it comes to proper nutrition and health. This has helped lead to an explosion of unhealthy weight-loss behaviours.

 

Incidences of food-related disorders and diseases, such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, are on the rise. Unfortunately, the truth can be hard to find, especially when it's hidden behind so many lies.

 

The reality of nutrition and healthy weight loss can only, truly be uncovered when you stop listening to all the junk and consult with health experts and highly ranked resources for answers.

 

Dieting does not have to be a bad word, but in our culture, the word has become synonymous with weight loss and implies restriction from the foods you love for a limited period of time.

 

There is no quick fix to health. It's an ongoing process that never ends. Once you put a time line on your nutritional regimen, chances are that what you're really feasting on are the big, fat, unhealthy lies of dieting.

Our nutritionist Susan Burke has the skinny behind 10 of the fattest lies about dieting.

 

1. Dieting alone is enough to lose weight and keep it off: "You could lose weight without activity, but it's usually temporary and you'll gain the weight as soon as you go back to your normal habits. Combining diet and exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

 

2. Eating right before you go to sleep will cause you to gain weight: "Think about healthy eating and understand that your body is a scale, and in order to maintain your weight you need to take in throughout the day the right amount of calories to maintain your metabolic function. As long as it's part of your needs for the day, it's not going to make you gain weight."

 

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3. You are never allowed to eat your favourite desserts: "You can modify any recipe, especially desserts, to make it healthy. The recipe section on our site can give you great ideas. It can be as simple as using egg whites instead of a whole egg or reducing the amount of sugar in a recipe.

 

"However some desserts are easier to modify than others. If your favourite dessert is a banana split you may have to rethink that dessert because you have more than 600 calories there.

"I suggest changing some of those high-calorie desserts to something not so high in calories but still delicious - such as low fat frozen yogurt with chopped nuts."

 

4. Skipping meals will help you to lose weight: "This is false. You're body reacts negatively to negative calories. If you're going through your day without eating, it's just like a car trying to drive without petrol.

"You really can't function well. Additionally, research shows that people who skip meals thinking that it will help them lose weight end up eating more than they need at their next meal, which cancels out their plan in the first place."

5. I am too young to worry about my health right now: "Unfortunately in this country, younger people are coming down with diseases associated with older age. Things like heart disease and diabetes are turning up in people in their 20s.

 

"Keeping to a healthy weight at a young age is very important in warding off diseases of age. You have to start to understand when you're really young that keeping at a healthy weight, eating enough fruits and vegetables and taking in enough calcium is important in warding off later development of heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis and other diseases associated with obesity."

 

6. Healthy eating is boring and very limiting: "Healthy eating is only as boring as you make it. Dieting shouldn't mean deprivation. It should mean creating foods that taste good and are good for you as well. You need to do a little planning and it takes a little practice.

 

"It shouldn't be boring; on the contrary, it should be delicious. There are many cultures that eat extremely healthy but their foods are extremely exciting. For example, the Mediterranean diet, they use a lot of different herbs and spices and fresh whole foods to make food interesting."

 

7. It's good for you if it says "low fat", "low carb", "low sugar" or "fat free": "This is false. You have to be able to decipher labels correctly in order to choose the right foods. Back in the '80s they had the fat-free craze and today many health experts link it to the rise in obesity.

 

"This is because people would interpret a label that says fat-free as calorie free, which is simply untrue. The same thing goes for any of the other low-carb products or low sugar or any of the things that say free.

"Read the nutrition label to understand what's in the product per serving. That's the most important thing. You should choose the products according to the amount of calories you need to meet your daily requirements."

 

8. Drinking fruit juice is the same as eating a whole fruit: "There's nothing similar about whole fruit and fruit juice except for the fact that the juice comes from the fruit. Fruit juice is simply the squeezing of the fructose, which is sugar, from the fruit and putting it in the glass and drinking it.

 

"It takes seconds to drink a glass of juice and you get more calories in a short amount of time then it would take to peel and eat an orange. It takes, at least, four or five oranges just to make up one glass of fruit juice."

 

9. Healthy foods are more expensive: "Healthy food does not have to be more expensive. On our website we have tools dedicated to help you budget your diet. We advise people to use their substitution list so that they can switch the foods on the menu for foods that are on sale at the time.

 

"For example, if your menu says salmon but salmon is not on sale but cod, or a different protein source of lean meat, is on sale, then you can make a substitute. Learning how to substitute is the best way to strategise your whole menu to fit you economical needs.

 

"Healthier foods are actually less expensive than packaged foods, because you can buy them in bulk and portion them out yourself. Eating healthy is also going to be much easier on your pocket book then eating unhealthy when it comes to its health consequences."

 

10. Most of the salt in our diet is added at the table: "Not true. I don't even have a salt shaker on my table, but if I don't watch what I eat, I could still end up with a high-salt diet because so many foods contain high amounts of salt.

 

"All packaged foods, unless otherwise labelled, contain high amounts of salt. Fast foods, canned and restaurant foods also contain tons of salt. The Food Standards Agency recommends that you eat no more than 6 grams per day. Practise label reading for hidden salt in foods."

 

With thanks to Tesco and ediets.com

 

Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

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