Food Myths that cause Weight Gain


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I came across this original article from Eat this, not That in my newsfeed a couple of days ago and wanted to share it with all of you. Here are some of the 10 most common.

Myth 1: Kale is the healthiest green

Reality Check: A 2014 study at William Paterson University ranked fruits and vegetables by their nutrient density, based on their levels of 17 different nutrients that have been linked to improved cardiovascular health. Not surprisingly, the top 16 were all leafy greens, which pack the most nutrition per calorie. (Coming in at #17 was red bell peppers.) But kale didn’t even make the top 10. In fact, simple spinach and even Romaine lettuce beat the alleged supergreen, as did parsley and chives. Even stuff you normally throw away–the greens atop beets–pack more

Myth 2: High Fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar

Reality Check:Sugar is the master of disguise, according to new research in Zero Sugar Diet. Maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, dextrose, sucrose–it’s got more alter egos than the Avengers. But it’s most well known costume is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Whether HFCS is worse than plain ol’ table sugar has long been a contentious issue. Here’s what you need to know: In a 2014 review of five studies comparing the effects of sugar and HFCS, there was no difference found in changes in blood glucose levels, lipid levels, or appetite between table sugar consumption and HFCS consumption. In other words, your body can’t tell one from the other—they’re both just sugar. HFCS’s real sin is that it’s super cheap, and as a result, it’s added to everything from cereal to ketchup to salad dressing. Is it a good idea to minimize the HFCS in your diet? Absolutely. It’s best to cut out all unnecessary sugars.

Myth 3:  Sea salt is healthier than table salt

Reality Check: Everyday table salt comes from a mine and contains roughly 2,300 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. Sea salt comes from evaporated seawater, and it also contains roughly 2,300 milligrams of sodium. That makes them, well, roughly identical. Advocates point to the fact that sea salt also contains other compounds like magnesium and iron, but in truth, these minerals exist in trace amounts. To obtain a meaningful dose, you’d have to take in extremely high and potentially dangerous levels of sodium. What’s more, traditional table salt is regularly fortified with iodine, which plays an important role in regulating the hormones in your body. Sea salt, on the other hand, gives you virtually zero iodine. The bottom line is this: If switching from table salt to sea salt causes you to consume even one extra granule, then you’ve just completely snuffed out whatever elusive health boon you hope to receive. Plus you’ve wasted a few bucks.

Myth 4: Diet soda keeps you trim

Reality Check: The obesity-research community is becoming increasingly aware that the artificial sweeteners used in diet soda—aspartame and sucralose, for instance—lead to hard-to-control food urges later in the day. One Purdue study discovered that rats took in more calories if they’d been fed artificial sweeteners prior to mealtime, and a University of Texas study found that people who consume just three diet sodas per week were more than 40 percent more likely to be obese. Try weaning yourself off by switching to carbonated water and flavoring with lemon, cucumber, and fresh herbs.

A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that more obese adults drink diet soda than healthy-weight adults and that, among the overweight and obese adults studied, those who drank diet soda ate more calories than those who consumed sweetened/regular soda. Researchers have also linked regular diet soda consumption with decreased response to artificial sweeteners and a decreased link between sweet tastes and energy value, meaning their bodies may grow to disassociate sweetness with satiety cues, making it easier to overeat and, therefore, gain weight. See where your soda ranks on this list of 70 Top Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are!

Myth 5: The bacteria in yogurt is good for digestion

Reality Check: Sure, some yogurts contain beneficial bacteria that can send reinforcements to your gut when you need them. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the bacteria you want to look for, with yogurts that say “live active cultures.” But most yogurts are so high in sugar that they do more to promote unhealthy gut bacteria than anything else. (Unhealthy bacteria feed on sugar in your belly the same way they do around your teeth.)

Myth 6:  Low-fat foods are better for you

Reality Check: As it applies to food marketing, the term “low fat” is synonymous with “loaded with salt and cheap carbohydrates.” For instance, look at Smucker’s Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. To replace the fat it skimmed out, Smucker’s added a fast-digesting carbohydrate called maltodextrin. That’s not going to help you lose weight. A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that over a 2-year span, people on low-carb diets lost 62 percent more body weight than those trying to cut fat. (Plus, the fat in peanut butter is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat—you’d be better off eating more of it, not less!) And if you are looking to improve your diet and shed weight, don’t miss these 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds—Fast.

Myth 7:  Egg yolks raise your cholesterol

Reality Check: Egg yolks contain dietary cholesterol; this much is true. But research has proven that dietary cholesterol has almost nothing to do with serum cholesterol, the stuff in your blood. Wake Forest University researchers reviewed more than 30 egg studies and found no link between egg consumption and heart disease, and a study in Saint Louis found that eating eggs for breakfast could decrease your calorie intake for the remainder of the day.

Myth 8: You can eat whatever you want if you exercise

Reality Check: Unfortunately, a half hour trot on the treadmill isn’t going to help you lose weight if you reward yourself by downing a few slices of cake and an order of French fries. We know the treadmill told you that you burned off 500 calories, but those estimated machine readouts are not at all accurate—sorry! The bottom line: It’s near impossible to out-exercise a bad diet unless you plan to spend half your day in the gym. You must workout and eat smart to see results.

Myth 9: You can eat as much as you want of healthy foods

Reality Check: Avocados, oatmeal, nuts and their creamy, delicious butters are indeed healthy, but low in calories they are not. Sure, you’re better off eating 200 calories of oatmeal then 200 calories of sugar-spiked cookies made with the grain, but that doesn’t give you free rein to eat as much of the stuff as you want. The bottom line: Nutritious or not, portion size counts with every food. If you find that you have trouble sticking to reasonable portion sizes for some of the more caloric healthy foods in your diet, look for portion-controlled packages. Emerald makes 100-calorie almond and walnut packs, Wholly Guacamole sells 100-cal guac, numerous brands sell small oatmeal packages and Justin’s has a line of individually-portioned nut butters. Buying mini sizes in lieu of bigger tubs of food helps keep calories in check and teach you what a proper serving looks like.

Myth 10:  Protein bars and shakes help you lose weight

Reality Check: Although packaged protein products can be a part of an all-around healthy diet, they aren’t any better than a sit-down meal comprised of similar nutrients. However, depending on which bars and shakes you pick up, you could actually be putting your health at risk. Many popular products are filled with bloat-causing additives like carrageenan and whey in addition to caramel coloring, which has been shown to cause cancer in humans. A number of the pumped-up foods also use artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar, which can increase cravings for sweet treats and cause weight gain over time. Our advice: If you want to include bars and shakes in your diet, opt for one of our Best Nutrition Bars for Weight Lossand whip up your own protein shakes at home using fresh fruits, veggies, milk or water and a low-sugar vegan protein powder. We like Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Protein. Also, be sure you’re substituting your shake or bar for a snack or a meal—not consuming them in addition to your regular diet. This can cause weight gain, not loss.

Do you agree with this list?  Is something missing?  Share your comments!

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