We have the best intentions when we set new goals and begin pursuing optimal health for ourselves. As we gather information, it can quickly get overwhelming and make our heads spin. There are thousands of books, articles, and websites with programs, tips, diets, products, and information out there claiming to help you get healthy fast. The problem is that science is corrupted by commercial influences and there are many misconceptions about what we can eat and do to be our healthiest selves, but look no further. We are here to the rescue! Here are some debunked myths to help set your mind at ease just in time for Christmas and the New Year:
Eating fat makes you fat. You should not fear fat. A diet that is low in refined carbohydrates and high in healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil is an effective way to maintain weight and is good for the heart. These healthy fats help to raise your good cholesterol and decrease your risk for heart disease. The only fat you should avoid is trans fats.
You should eat only fresh fruits and vegetables. As it turns out, raw vegetables aren’t always healthier. Cooking vegetables can boost the number of antioxidants such as lycopene. The heat breaks down the plants’ thick cell walls and aids in the body’s uptake of some nutrients that are bound to those cell walls. The amount of vitamin C can be reduced by cooking, but it is only by 10-30%.
You need to lose a lot of weight to see the health benefits. Dropping just a modest amount of weight can have significant health benefits. For every 2 lbs. you drop, you can see your cholesterol decrease by as much as 3 points. Less than 10 lbs. can result in a reduction in blood pressure.
Don’t eat late at night. Calories can’t tell time. This myth came from the poor choices we usually make for late night snacking. If you do have a late-night craving, be mindful to avoid processed foods and go for a piece of fruit instead.
Diet foods help your diet. Labels like “low fat” or “low carb” don’t necessarily mean “low calorie”. “Diet” foods are often loaded with hidden dangers, like artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and preservatives. It’s much better to go with a smaller portion of the real thing.
-Catie Doucette, Nutrition Health Coach