5 Diet Myths Exposed: Start Losing Weight the Healthy Way!
66.3% of American adults age 20 years and over are overweight or obese.
This can be the year you finally drop
those excess pounds, achieve a strong, streamlined body, and give your health a
huge boost with a commitment to sensible eating.
But in order to reach your healthy
weight and keep it there, you'll have to sidestep a lot of diet minefields. So
many nutritional myths and faddish ideas are out there, you could easily wind
up sabotaging your weight loss efforts and compromising your health, without
even knowing it.
58% of consumers are actively trying
to lose weight to improve either their appearance, health or both, according to
the Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database.
MYTH #1: YOU HAVE TO GO ON A DIET TO LOSE WEIGHT.
REALITY: Most diets don't work.
Instead of following the latest fashionable weight loss program, you should
develop healthy, fat-burning habits and make them part of your daily life.
Atkins, Zone, Ornish...How do they
stack up? A recent study tracked the weight loss results of obese people who
followed popular diet plans for one year. In order to achieve a healthy Body
Mass Index (BMI), most subjects needed to lose 41.8 lbs. At the end of 12
months, those on the Atkins low-carb plan lost 10.4 lbs; Zone moderate-carb
dieters lost 3.5 lbs; and Ornish low-fat dieters lost 4.9 lbs. With all three
diets, most of the participants started out as clinically obese...and ended up
as clinically obese, with only a very modest weight loss to show for their
year-long dieting efforts. On all three diets, the subjects experienced most of
their weight loss in the first two to six months, and then began regaining most
of their lost pounds.
GOOD HEALTH TIP:
It's easy to get discouraged about
dieting when you keep trying the latest trends... and failing. The best way to
achieve permanent weight loss is to incorporate reasonable, nutritious, and
enjoyable changes into your life that you can stick with over time.
Consumers employed several lifestyle
changes to help manage their weight in the past year.
Smaller portions at mealtime
Making slight lifestyle changes
Regular and consistent exercise
Eating smaller more frequent meals
Making drastic lifestyle changes
Working with dietitian/nutritionist
MYTH #2: DIET FOODS ARE A GREAT HELP FOR LOSING WEIGHT
REALITY: Many "low-fat"
foods are surprisingly high in sugar content - and calories. That's because
manu-facturers often add sugar to compensate for the diminished flavor and
texture that results from removing fat.
GOOD HEALTH TIP:
Secrets of Sneaky Sugar: A sugar by
any other name is still sugar. Your "diet" food can contain added
sugars in different guises you may not recognize. Here are some names to look
for on the ingredient list: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose,
fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose,
maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose, syrup.
So what's a conscientious dieter to
do? As always, the battle of the bulge is ultimately won in the arena of
calories. Carefully check food labels for total calorie content...even when
they're branded "diet" or "low-fat."
The Great Cookie Caper: Let's
compare calories of a regular chocolate chip cookie and a reduced-fat chocolate
chip cookie. The regular cookie has 3 fat grams and 49 calories; the
reduced-fat cookie has 2 fat grams and 45 calories. A 4-calorie difference is
not going to get you into that bikini by summer! On the other hand, some
low-fat choices can significantly slash your calorie intake. Don't want to give
up cheddar cheese? One ounce of regular cheddar cheese has 6 fat grams and 114
calories; the same-sized low-fat portion has 1.2 grams of fat and an
impressively reduced 49 calories!
When the weight loss aim is to
improve their health, consumers seem to eat a more balanced diet (e.g., less
sugar, less carbs, etc.). In the past year consumers limited their sugar,
carbohydrate, and fat intake more often than they used diet food/products to
help manage their weight.
MYTH #3: YOU HAVE TO STARVE YOURSELF TO LOSE WEIGHT.
REALITY: Yes, you do have to limit
your calories to shed pounds, but there's no need to starve. You can cleverly
choose foods that fill you up, not out - and keep you satisfied and stoked with
energy all day long. What's your best bet for filling foods? Fiber-rich fruits,
vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Most Americans get only half of the
recommended daily intake of 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber, putting them at
risk for obesity and a host of serious health problems.
* 46% of consumers are choosing to
eat fiber rich foods as part of their weight management plan.10
* Consumers who eat fewer
carbohydrates to lose weight also eat fiber rich foods (66%) and participate in
regular and consistent exercise (61%) to achieve their optimum weight.
Fiber comes in two types, each with
its own starring role to play in protecting health and promoting weight
management. Soluble fibers dissolve in water, and are associated with
regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol. Insoluble fibers or
roughage can't dissolve in water, but can absorb water. This causes them to
swell, making them good bulking agents that improve gastrointestinal functions
and speed up elimination. By eating sufficient amounts from both fiber types,
you'll enjoy their full range of health benefits. Soluble fibers: apples,
citrus fruits, pears, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, squash, legumes,
lentils, barley, oats, oat bran, oatmeal. Insoluble fibers: Cabbage, beets,
Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes,
whole wheat bread, wheat cereal, wheat bran, rye.
GOOD HEALTH TIP:
Here are a few ideas to help you incorporate more whole
grains into your daily diet:
* Create a whole grain pilaf with a
mixture of barley, wild rice, brown rice, broth and spices. For a special
touch, stir in toasted nuts or chopped dried fruit.
* Try rolled oats or a crushed,
unsweetened whole grain cereal as breading for baked chicken, fish, veal
cutlets or eggplant parmesan.
* Freeze leftover cooked brown rice,
bulgur, or barley. Heat and serve it later as a quick side dish.
Decode the Food Label to Find Whole Grains
* Choose foods that name one of the
following whole-grain ingredients first on the label's ingredient list: brown
rice, bulgur, graham flour, oatmeal, whole-grain corn, whole oats, whole rye,
whole wheat, wild rice.
* Food labeled with the words
"multi-grain," "stone-ground," "100% wheat,"
"cracked wheat," "seven-grain," or "bran" are
usually not whole-grain products.
* Color is not an indication of a
whole grain. Bread can be brown because of molasses or other added ingredients.
Read the ingredient list to see if it is a whole grain.
MYTH #4: FAT MAKES YOU FAT
REALITY: Your body needs fat to
function. Fat provides you with energy, allows you to absorb key vitamins, and
helps build cell walls and membranes throughout the body. Don't deprive
yourself of health-giving, energy-producing fat.
41% of consumers employed a low fat
diet in the past year to manage their weight. And consumers were heavily
invested in the use of reduced fat food/beverages.
The trick is to consume the right
kind of fat - and in the right amounts. If you're like most Americans, you may
be getting far too much of omega-6 fatty acids...and not nearly enough of
omega-3 fatty acids.It's easy to take in excess quantities of omega-6 fatty
acids because the common vegetable oils in the American diet - such as corn,
safflower and sunflowers oils - are packed with omega-6. So are meat, milk and eggs.
Unfortunately, when you consume large quantities of omega-6, you not only gain
weight, thanks to its high caloric content, you may also grow more susceptible
to inflammation and thickening of the blood.
Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other
hand, are hard to come by. The reason you're probably not getting enough of
these health-giving powerhouses is because many manufacturers remove them to
keep products fresh. You can ramp up your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids by
nibbling on soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and alfalfa, and by adding cold water
fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines to your menu.
Here's a handy guide for getting a
healthy balance of fat in your daily diet: Keep total fat intake between 20 to
35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated
and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
GOOD HEALTH TIP:
Sip green tea, lose weight? The
Chinese have long appreciated green tea for its remarkable ability to promote
digestion, improve mental faculties, and regulate body temperature. Now an
intriguing new study in Japan suggests that green tea may also have a helpful
role to play in losing weight. Over a 12-week period, one group of men drank a
bottle of tea containing 690 mg of catechins (from green tea) every day, while
the other group consumed tea containing only 22 mg of catechins. The results
showed that the men drinking the tea with higher catechins had lower Body Mass
Index (BMI), body weight and waist circumference compared to the other group.
So the next time you pour a soothing cup of green tea, consider that each sip
may be helping your body break down fat, along with all its other benefits.
MYTH #5: SKIP BREAKFAST TO SLASH YOUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE.
REALITY: While you may be tempted to
miss your morning meal to save on calories, studies show that skipping
breakfast can sabotage your diet efforts. A recent study examined the role that
breakfast intake plays on body mass index and studied the effect of different
types of breakfasts. After adjustments for sex, age and race, the results
showed that people who ate different types of cereal had a lower body mass
index than those who ate meat and eggs or those who skipped breakfast.
And, for girls, here's a fascinating
look at the strong link between a healthy weight and breakfast: a recent
analysis of government data on breakfast eating in teenagers (ages 12 to 16)
showed that the thinnest girls are the most likely to eat breakfast. On the
opposite end of the spectrum, the most overweight girls are the most likely to
skip breakfast. Of course, not all cereals are created equal. You won't lose
weight by heaping your bowl with sugary cereal, then drowning it in whole milk.
Choose a low-calorie, high fiber cereal and limit your portion size to about
150 calories. Oatmeal is an excellent option for a satisfying, high-fiber
jumpstart to your day. And try skipping the fruit juice, and eating the fruit
instead. By eating a healthy, filling breakfast, you'll stay more in control of
your appetite and be less prone to overeating later in the day.
GOOD HEALTH TIP:
Breakfast bonus: Eating small meals
more frequently may help lower your cholesterol. British researchers recently
found that people who ate more than six times a day had lower cholesterol (by
about 5%) than those who ate once or twice daily. The key is to eat small,
healthy meals every three or four hours.
Who Skips Breakfast? People who are
losing weight to improve their appearance tend to skip meals more than those
who are losing weight to improve their health.
Frequent Weight Loss May Affect Immune Function
You already know that going on fad
diets can be frustrating, unhealthy and ineffective, because the weight you
lose comes right back on, every time. Now there's another reason to end the
"yo-yo diet" syndrome - it may compromise your immune system.
Investigators studied a group of healthy, overweight, post-menopausal women and
discovered that the more often the women had lost 10 pounds or more, the
greater the suppression of their immune systems.
See All LifeSource
Vitamins Diet & Weight Loss Products, Articles, and Studies: Click
TO SUM IT UP: 5 DIET MYTHS EXPOSED
1. Avoid fad diets and concentrate
on making healthy lifestyle changes.
2. Check the labels of low-fat
"diet" foods for sneaky added sugars and high calorie content.
3. Stave off diet-destroying hunger
pangs with filling high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole
4. Add salmon, mackerel, sardines
and other cold water fish to your menu to
increase your intake of
health-giving omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Every morning, eat a delicious,
low-calorie, high-fiber breakfast such as
oatmeal with fresh fruit.
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Wellness Library Report