Top 10 Food Myths and Facts
Have you heard the one about the fat-forming
carbohydrate? Food &
is continually faced with the challenge of dispelling common myths about
weight management, ten such myths have been covered below:
Myth: Eating most of your calories in the evening promotes
Fact: No matter when you eat them, you gain weight when you eat more
calories than you burn off. However, mindless munching in front of the TV
night can push calorie intake over the top.
Fat free is calorie free.
Fact: Some people indulge in extra-large
servings of fat-free foods,
such as cookies, cakes and crackers, without realizing that these foods may
contain the same amount or even more calories than regular versions. Get the
facts on fat-free foods by checking food labels for the serving size and number
of calories per serving. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and
calories. However, other low fat or no fat foods may still contain a lot of
calories. To make such foods taste better, extra sugar, flour, or starch
thickeners are usually added. These ingredients are high in calories and may
lead to weight gain.
Myth: Carbohydrates (or sugars) cause weight gain.
Fact: Carbohydrates do not cause weight gain unless they contribute to
excess calorie intake. The same holds true for protein and fat. Findings from
the National Weight Control Registry show that people who successfully maintain
weight loss tend to eat diets that are higher in carbohydrates and lower in
in addition to watching their total calorie intake. However, some people who eat
a diet that is extremely high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat get
hungry sooner, which may trigger overeating.
High-protein diets cause ketosis, which
Fact: Ketosis occurs when fat is used as an energy source
instead of carbohydrate during a
high-protein diet. Ketone bodies are produced,
which turn your breath a bad “fruity” odor. Ketone bodies do not reduce
appetite, however, eating sufficient protein for your body type can help reduce
hunger and support weight loss.
These diets may help you lose weight fast – but most of this weight
that you lose would constitute water weight and lean muscle weight instead of
fat. The best way to lose weight and keep it off without harming your body is by
following a reduced-calorie diet that is well balanced between carbohydrates,
proteins, and fats.
Yoghurt is the perfect diet food.
Many dieters swear by it, but some yoghurt can be as fattening as ice
cream. Greek yoghurt has 10 pc fat.
Fact: Yoghurt is good for people of all ages. Yoghurt is also
important for those wanting to lose weight. As a milk product, yoghurt is
naturally rich in
calcium. Research shows that calcium helps
reduce weight gain.
Even small changes in the calcium levels of fat cells can change signals within
the cell that control the making and burning of fat. What needs to be remembered
is no one food is going to prove magic, it is a combination of effective diet
and exercise plan that will really work. Avoid yoghurt that contains added
sugars or sweetened fruit, as these upset the delicate chemical balance that
allow the cultures to thrive. Sugars also feed the growth on unwanted yeasts, so
you’re better off without it!
Myth: Exercise makes you eat more. Often people shy
away from doing exercise using this excuse.
Fact: However, research has shown that after 20 minutes of
exercise people ate no more than those who had done nothing. The only difference
was that those who had exercised thought the food tasted better.
Myth: Extra protein makes you strong.
Fact: The body has tremendous reserves and is very adaptive. The
idea that you have to eat specified foods in specified amounts every day to
maintain performance is unsound. You do not need to starve yourself to lose
weight. When we are active, our body uses its own fat and carbohydrate for fuel.
A diet that includes animal and vegetable protein supplies all the body needs to
replenish its stores. There is no superdiet for super performance. Besides, high
protein diet often lack key nutrients found in carbohydrate foods. You need
every kind of food. Avoiding any kind of food is just as wrong as ingesting food
Lettuce makes your
Fact: The theory adopted
behind this fact is that, you can eat a food with low energy density, such
as lettuce, and consume a huge amount for few calories. This belief is
true to some extent as lettuce leaves practically do not contain calories.
A tablespoon of butter has the same number of calories as 10 cups of leaf
lettuce. However, generally they are not eaten alone and most lettuce
sauces are high in fat.
Research suggests that losing ½ to 2 pounds a week by
making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and building physical
activity into your daily life is the best way to lose weight and keep it
off. By adopting healthy eating and physical activity habits, you may also
lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high
Myth: You can burn fat by eating certain foods,
like grapefruit and cabbage soup.
require you to eat half a grapefruit before every meal to reap
the benefits of the fruit's so-called fat-burning enzymes. Calories typically
are limited to fewer than 800 a day, although some versions require that you eat
until you are full. Grapefruit has no fat, is low in calories and sodium, and is
packed with vitamin C. But the very low calories — and deficits in protein,
fiber and several important vitamins and minerals — can make this diet
dangerous. Similarly, the cabbage soup diet proponents report feeling
lightheaded and weak because the diet is too low in protein, vitamins and
complex carbohydrates. You may lose weight, but you'll probably be too queasy to
enjoy it. Remember, no foods can burn fat. Caffeine-rich foods may speed up your
metabolism rate for a short time. However, they do not cause any weight loss.
The best way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories you eat and
increase your physical activities.
Processed foods are not as nutritious as fresh foods.
Fact: Many processed foods are just as nutritious or in some
cases even more nutritious than fresh foods depending on the manner in which
they are processed.
Frozen vegetables are usually processed within hours of harvest. There is little
nutrient loss in the freezing process so frozen vegetables retain their high
mineral content. In contrast, fresh vegetables are picked and
transported to market. It can take days or even weeks before they reach the
dinner table and vitamins are gradually lost over time no matter how carefully
the vegetables are transported and stored.
Some processed foods, such as breads and breakfast cereals, have vitamins and
minerals added for extra nutrition. In fact, the growing interest in health and
nutrition has spurred the production of a whole new range of foods with added
health and nutritional benefits (called "functional foods") such as fat spreads
with added fibre to lower
Processing can also make some nutrients more available. For example, removing
phytic acid from grain foods by removing the bran helps to improve the
iron from a food. Processing tomatoes into a tomato paste or sauce
increases the amount of lycopene (an
antioxidant) that is available to the body.
Dated 27 September 2011