PJ's Fitness Blog

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The 7 Most Stubborn Diet Myths

Most people still don’t get it. It’s no wonder though, and the general population really isn’t to blame. They are just being misled. If you don’t do your own research, you won’t have the right information. Even the American Dietetics Association is decades behind in the research. Most nutritionists and dietitians are still giving most of  their recommendations to clients based the ADA.

Physicians are the worst though. The overwhelming majority of the Md’s today have not had one single nutrition course in medical school. They have been given extra classes on drugs instead, so they are programmed to be (unknowing) sales reps for the drug companies who fund their schools (both directly and indirectly). Drug companies don’t want people to know how to eat right, because since God created our body to heal itself through proper care and if we all ate right and exercised properly, then every drug company would be out of business, instead of making bazillions of bucks every year!

OK, I’ll step of that soapbox now and leave it for another day, but for now, here my top picks for the 7 most stubborn diet myths of 2011.

Myth #1: Using the “Calorie-in, Calorie-out” theory is the best way to lose weight. Dietitians, nutritionists, doctors and health professionals often reference the law of thermodynamics which states that if you burn more energy than you take in, you must lose weight. Well, the law or thermodynamics applies great to machines, but not so much to humans. We are dynamic beings with metabolisms that adjust to many different factors. Our metabolism will adjust down to match a lowered calorie intake, so restriction doesn’t work after a while. Millions of dieters prove the “Calorie-in, Calorie-out” theory wrong every year.

Exercising to burn more calories is helpful, but you have to exercise a whole heck of a lot to burn off even one Twinkie. High Intensity exercise however, like we do at the X Gym is best, because our 21 minute workout will boost your fat burning metabolism for 4 hours or more. Traditional exercise will work for a short while, but since God also created us to adapt, that will become less effective with time.

Myth #2: All calories are created equal. When I talke to a dietician who believes this (and most of them do), I just ask them one question: “If I were to eat 3,000 calories of cheese and crakers every day, what do you think would happen? They always reply, “You would gain weight.” I say, “Agreed. Now what would happen if I ate 4,000 calores of spinach every day?” At this point they typically look down at the ground, shuffle their feet a bit, and (usually) respond, “You would lose weight.” Then I say, “Wait a minute. I’m eating 1,000 calories more than the cheese and cracker diet that made me gain weight, so how am I losing weight now on more calories, if all calories are created equal?” You see, cheese and crackers have about the same carb to protein ratio as spinach, but one will make you gain weight like crazy and the other will make you lose weight like crazy. This example busts this myth as well as the bogus “law of thermodynamics” don’t you think?

Calories in the same category can be opposite as well. Not even all carbs are created equal! Fiber carbs are very different from sugar carbs. One will help you lose fat, the other will make you gain fat, but they are both carbs! Fiber-rich foods require more chewing. They also help you feel fuller. Fiber takes more work by your digestive system to break it down, process it and excrete it, so your body is burning more calories while it’s in you.

Protein is a metabolic powerhouse, above an beyond fat calories or carb calories. Your body burns drastically more calories digesting and metabolizing protein than any other nutrients. Protein also slows the time it takes for food to move from your stomach to your intestines, helping you feel full longer. Protein also ensures that you build and maintain muscle mass, which incinerates calories. Protein is a great appetite suppressant by stabilizing blood glucose levels. Protein won’t turn to fat like some carbs will either. It’s more work for the body to convert it to fat than it is to just burn it off or use it, so it can be thought of as a “negative fat” food as long as it is clean enough (meaning organic, clean and wild sources).

Certain types of fat can even help you burn body fat. CLA is one of those types. So is Omega 3 fat, to a lesser degree. Trans fats and many non-organic fats on the other hand, can make you gain fat. Again, as you can see, calories are definitely NOT created equal – even among the same TYPE of calorie!

Myth #3: Eat low fat to lose fat. Ancel Keys started this myth on a large scale, back in the 70’s, and it’s still hanging around today. If there was such thing as a Nobel booby-prize, for the people who do the biggest dis-service to others, Keys should have received it with high honors. Most diet foods are low fat. Most diets foods fail dieters as well. It’s eating certain kinds of CARBS that make you fat, not eating fat itself. My diet is considered high fat even by the most liberal dietitians. My calories are also considered high, but I maintain a body fat percentage of 5-8% all year long. I don’t eat “low carb” either. I am just careful about the kinds of carbs I eat. I get plenty of carbs through green veggies nuts, and more. Heck, I even eat pancakes, pasta, and lemon bars! Check out the recipes here: www.hardbodcafe.com

Myth #4: Diet soda is part of a good weight loss plan. Diet soda has been show to raise your hunger level for bad foods. That’s why fast food places love to sell the stuff. They know they will sell more food to those who order diet soda, and that soda costs just as much as the full sugar stuff! Diet soda also contains toxins that make your fat cells resistant to being burned off. If you must have soda, drink Zevia brand. It’s flavored with natural ingredients and tastes great.

Myth #5: Eating fruit will help you lose fat. Yes, fruit is good for you because of the vitamins and minerals (as long as it’s organic), but it also has fructose, so it should be consumed in moderation. Fructose and alcohol are both processed by the liver and half of the calories consumed are turned into fat. As for the other half, well, that depends on if you are in a state to burn it off or not. If not, some or most of that will turn to fat too. Personally, I stick with veggies to get my nutrients. Compare a handful of greens to a handful of any fruit, and the greens win easily on the nutrition scale.

Myth #6: Whole wheat, oatmeal, and other whole grains are part of a good weight loss plan. Yes, it is true that fiber can help you get rid of fat off your body, but most whole wheat products still have to many fast carbs and will cause you to gain weight. Oatmeal has some great quality fiber, but the same problem exists with it as with bread. If you must eat bread, get it from julianbakery.com. If you must eat oatmeal, then you should also be prepared to accept a slower weight loss rate, live with a plateau, or even weight gain.

Wilford Brimley made a lot of money endorsing oatmeal for years. Did you ever see him thin? Now he is endorsing diabetes supplies. Things that make you go, “Hmmmm….”

Myth #7: Eating late at night makes you fat. Not the food I eat and I never go to bed hungry. If I’m hungry I eat, no matter what the time of day. I often eat right before I go to bed, and as long as it’s clean meat and/or green veggies, I’m good to go. In fact, dark green veggies are a “negative fat” food, so if I’m looking to get leaner (like right before a stair race), I’ll purposely gorge on broccoli before bed time, so my metabolism has something to work on and burn fat off me while I sleep!