Archive for July, 2013

All that talk about all the posts I was going to have coming and it’s taken me two weeks for another one. AND this one is going to be short. I am taking a much-needed mini vaca home to Pittsburgh for the fourth where I HOPE to bust out a few upcoming blog posts.

In the meantime, I ran across this article the other day about nutrition myths that people still believe. I could probably come up with about 50 more, but for the sake of brevity, here are the 4 myths Dr. Mark outlines:

1. It’s all about the calories.

Okay, so I think I stopped believing this one about ten years ago but you’d be shocked at the number of people still tracking their calories. Programs such as Livestrong, FitDay, LoseIt, and tons more now even have apps where you can track your daily calories and bump it up against your physical activity.

A CALORIE IS NOT A CALORIE IS NOT A CALORIE. Common sense should tell you 100 calories of Mountain Dew or 100 calories of McDonald’s french fries does not equal 100 calories of grilled chicken. I mean, seriously? As Dr. Mark so eloquently puts it, “Eating less garbage or choosing the lower-calorie garbage doesn’t make the garbage any better for you. It’s still garbage, and garbage doesn’t nourish your cells.” We need to focus on the nutritional profile of the foods we are consuming, not the number of calories we are eating.

But what if I’m trying to lose weight, Rachel? I get it- you want to be careful about what’s going into your mouth. But as long as you are eating your veggies and meats, not eating grains, watching your fruit (sugar) intake and not shoveling cups of macadamia nuts down your throat, calories will not be an issue for you.

2. Low fat diets are healthy.

This one takes a little more convincing for some people. I personally struggled with this a ton post-college: those low low-fat-diet-cartoon-265x300fat cookie packs or switching to skim milk or my personal favorite: fat free cheese. I mean, really? It’s CHEESE. It is supposed to have fat. Taking fat out of something with fat inherent in it can’t be good for you, right?

Studies are now showing those medical beliefs that were conjured up in the 80’s and 90’s about fat leading to weight gain and heart disease are just flat out wrong. As Dr. Mark points out, the largest clinical trial ever conducted on diet proved that low-fat diets do not result in weight loss or lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The important thing to learn is our bodies need fat; but we need to consume those healthy fats in conjunction with a diet low in processed foods and grains in order to stay trim, have more energy and maintain balanced insulin levels.

3. Sodium is bad and causes high blood pressure.

We all have heard the medical stories of sodium = high blood pressure and heart attacks. Thing is, there are a number of controlled trials that show no correlation between sodium restriction and a lower risk of heart attack.

A good point he makes: real food is naturally low in sodium. So just try to eat real food! Problem solved.

4. Cholesterol is bad and causes heart disease.

Ah. This is my absolute favorite one. If I had a dime for every time someone commented about using egg whites only, how their doctor told them to stay away from cholesterol, or how they want to stay healthy so they only eat cholesterol-free foods… I would be retired on a beach in Bora Bora.egg

Here’s the breakdown. 80% of cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver. Cholesterol is important for a number of things, including creating cell membranes, fixing damaged cells, and synthesizing a bunch of vitamins and hormones. Thing is, a typical American diet is full of processed carbohydrates, low in fiber and extremely nutrient deficient. What does that mean in relation to cholesterol? Your liver starts producing a bunch of cholesterol to make up for all the inflammation going on in your body due to eating this type of diet. Essentially, anywhere you find naturally-occurring cholesterol is a good thing to put in your body!

Bottom line of this article: Eat real food. Eat real food that has sodium. Eat real food that has cholesterol (that means EAT THE YOLKS OF YOUR EGGS FOR SOBBING OUT LOUD.) Eat real food that has fat. Eat these healthy fats without processed carbs. And when you start eating read food, you don’t have to count calories.

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