March 4th, 2011
Having trouble getting the most out of your attempts to lose weight?
We’ve all heard about the dangers of carbs, wonders of diet foods and side effects of the saltshaker, but are the rumors for real?
Registered dietitian and chef Michelle Dudash shares five diet myths to watch out for in order to stay on track and eat a balanced diet.
Myth 1: Cutting carbohydrates helps you lose weight.
Truth: You need healthy carbohydrates for energy and important nutrients. At the very least, 100 grams are what is needed daily for brain fuel.
The best way to go lower-carb if you choose is to cut back on refined carbohydrates such as soda, candy and foods made with white flour. Instead, load your diet with healthier carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Myth 2: Going gluten-free helps you lose weight.
Truth: The gluten-free diet is not a low carbohydrate plan, and unnecessarily eliminates many foods in the hopes of losing weight.
The diet is designed for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disorder causing intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and most oats. Those suffering from gluten intolerance and other related diseases can benefit from going gluten-free, but for most healthy individuals it simply isn’t the case.
Instead of eliminating gluten from your diet, a more nutritious path includes limiting refined grains and instead reaching for hearty 100% whole grain breads and cereals, whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur. These foods offer fiber to keep you feeling full longer.
Myth 3: Eating diet foods are the best way to help you drop pounds.
Truth: Prepackaged diet foods can have added sugar, trans fat, refined white flour, and less-than-appetizing artificial ingredients. As with carbohydrates it’s the quality of the fat that makes the difference. Monounsaturated fats in foods such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados, and the polyunsaturated variety from corn, safflower, and fish are believed to be beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Consider boosting your diet with good fats, while keeping portion sizes in mind, by adding some almonds to your morning cereal or avocado to your salads. Just
Myth 4: The more you cut calories, the more weight you’ll lose.
Truth: Cutting your calories too far below 1,200 a day may slow down your metabolism. Though it will likely help you lose body fat, it will also decrease muscle mass.
To get the most out of the calories you do eat, choose produce, fresh meat and fish, and whole grains that are as close to their natural state as possible to retain fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
Myth 5: Cutting out the saltshaker is the best way to lower sodium intake.
Truth: Though salt doesn’t directly make you fat, it can cause people to retain water, which equates to excess poundage. The saltshaker only accounts for a small percent of sodium in most diets.
It is the restaurant and packaged foods that can get you into trouble, with canned food, cured meat, condiments, and fast food being among the biggest culprits. But it all boils down to reading the label. Keep in mind that 140 milligrams is considered a low sodium food. Read labels carefully on packaged food and fill your diet with foods closer to their natural state.
By Katie Fisher
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