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Food Myths Debunked: Continued
  Kurt Ellingson 12:00 AM
Myth #5. Avoid carbohydrates to lose weight:

As a personal trainer and run coach, this myth kills me every time I hear a client tell me they are trying to eliminate 'carbs' from their diet.

The key message that many low-carb diets convey is that carbohydrates promote insulin production (excess sugar), which in turn results in weight gain. Therefore by reducing carbohydrate intake, you can lose weight. Unfortunately, this is just another nutrition myth. (Tseng, 2003)

Many low-carb diets actually do not provide sufficient carbohydrates to your body for daily maintenance. Therefore your body will begin to burn stored carbohydrates (glycogen) for energy. According to Tseng, a registered dietician, when your body starts burning glycogen, water is released. Therefore the drastic initial drop of weight at the beginning of a low-carb diet is mostly the water that you lose as a result of burning glycogen.

The truth is that low-carb diets are also often calorie-restricted! Followers only eat an average of 1000 - 1400 calories daily, compared to an average intake of 1800 - 2200 calories for most people. To lose one pound a week, you only need to eat 500 fewer calories per day in your normal diet. Therefore, it doesn't matter if you eat a high- or low-carb diet; you will lose weight if you decrease your caloric intake to less than needed to maintain your weight

Myth #4. Avoid nuts as they are fattening:

Nuts are a personal favourite in the snack department but do have to be eaten in small quantities.

It's a nutrition myth that nuts should be avoided. In fact, nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) as well as plant sterols, all of which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.

In 2003, the FDA approved a health claim for seven kinds of nuts stating that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (45 grams) per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, the best approach is to eat them in replacement of foods high in saturated fats (Tseng, 2003)

Myth #3. Eating for 2 is necessary during pregnancy:

If only this one were true! But it's not.

Energy requirements vary among individuals. Unfortunately, the idea that pregnancy is an ice cream free-for-all is a nutrition myth. It is generally recommended that pregnant women increase their daily intake by 100 kcal in the first trimester and 300 kcal in the second and third trimesters. An extra snack before bedtime consisting of a fruit, a serving of milk or yogurt, and a few biscuits is often enough.

Myth #2. Skipping meals can help you lose weight:

I don't know why anyone would want to do this! Food is just to delicious. Many people think that by skipping a meal, they will be eating less food and therefore lose weight. As we now know, this is a nutrition myth. People who think skipping meals means weight loss do not understand how our bodies work.

If you skip a meal, your body will think that you are in starvation mode and therefore slow down the metabolism to compensate. You then tend to overeat at the next meal. Often, skipping a meal and then eating too much at the next one means that you have a higher total caloric intake than if you just ate more frequently throughout the day. A better approach is to eat smaller frequent healthy meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar balanced.

AND last but not least Myth #1: Red meat is bad for your health:

This one I have heard quite a lot over the years.

It is true that some studies have linked red meat with increased risk of heart disease, partly due to the saturated fat content. In fact, even chicken can contain as much saturated fat as lean cuts of beef or pork. For instance, a serving of sirloin beef or pork tenderloin has less saturated fats than the same serving size of chicken thigh with skin. It is true that poultry like chicken and turkey is naturally lower in saturated fats. But it is only true IF you do not eat the skin.

It is a nutrition myth, however, that red meat is altogether bad for your health. Instead of excluding red meats, choose leaner cuts of beef and pork. For beef, choose eye of round, top round roast, top sirloin and flank; for pork, choose tenderloin and loin chops.

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