The Truth About 6 Common Food Myths

maria pontillo Fitness With Maria Food MythsThe Internet has given people across the world convenient access to information and knowledge — unfortunately, a lot of that information is misleading, especially regarding health and food topics.  False nutritional, fitness and health information is believed by the masses in part because of billion dollar advertising campaigns and deceitful food labeling.  Calculated marketing ploys combined with the viral effects of social media have convinced millions of people to practice food and health habits that are more harmful than beneficial.  It amazes me when I hear my fitness clients talk about inaccurate health information and theories that they are practicing. So many people are leading what they think is a healthy lifestyle, when in actuality, it’s not. Although it’s only a tiny percentage, my lifestyle & health consultation services have allowed me to promote and correct health and fitness information among many South Floridians.

Did you know that food manufacturers hire million dollar advertising and marketing agencies to promote their food products with sensationalized propaganda that is sometimes convincing, but usually not valid and only offers a skewed version of the truth?!  Sensationalized and twisted information is perpetuated across various mediums including television, online, radio and print outlets to promote misleading information which ultimately lead to food corporations increasing their bottom line while deteriorating your overall health.

I am commonly asked, “What do you eat,” and to be honest, my diet isn’t a diet at all.  In fact, I basically eat whatever I want.  I have never been a believer in eliminating a particular food from my diet nor would I ever promote such a tactic.  Normally I practice a healthy lifestyle diet because honestly, that’s what I genuinely enjoy eating. Foods such as salads, brussel sprouts, wheat bread, eggs and almond milk are some of my favorite foods! To me, it’s simple — calories in versus calories out are the way you should look at your diet. For example, if you only burn 1,200 calories in a day between your daily activities and working out, don’t eat more than that! Better yet, eat less than that and successfully reach your weight loss goals! This is a simple yet brilliant strategy for maintaining a healthy weight. The key to a healthy diet is consistency and moderation!  Let’s face it; too much of one thing is never good for you.  Check out the six tips below and learn the real truth about common food myths.

Myth #1: All saturated fats are bad for you

Many medical experts tend to say that the consumption of saturated animal fats are bad and can cause heart disease. Foods like coconut oil, meat, butter and dairy products, which have tons of saturated fats, when eaten in moderation, actually offer a lower risk of heart disease. In the past few years, this diet has been marketed as the very popular paleo diet. In fact, many people who follow the paleo diet, which contains mostly meat (and offers a plethora of saturated fat) have experienced rapid weight loss from their midsections and improved their blood sugar and blood pressure problems.

Myth #2: Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol

Several recent cholesterol studies, where volunteers were fed 2-4 eggs a day, have shown that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population. The remaining 25% of the population are referred to as “hyper-responders.” In this group, dietary cholesterol does modestly increase both LDL (“bad cholesterol” and HDL (“good cholesterol”), but it does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL or increase the risk of heart disease. In other words, see your doctor and find out if you are a “hyper-responder.”  If not, eating cholesterol in moderate porportions isn’t going to give you a heart attack. You can ditch the egg-white omelets and start eating yolks again as eggs are a great source of protein!

Myth #3: Eating lots of fruit is good for you

I have had many clients try to follow a fruit-only diet in an effort to lose weight, but for many, it doesn’t produce the best results. When you are eating nothing but fruit, your sugar intake will skyrocket, which is never a good thing for health and weight loss goals!  Although the sugar in fruit is natural and unprocessed, too much of it can inhibit your weight loss and stall your health goals. Remember, it is important to focus on portion control and moderation. Fruit in moderation is still a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and can help maintain your weight and reduce your risk of developing disease.

Myth #4: Butter = Bad

Have you heard of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)? Many bodybuilders take CLA supplements for lean muscle development. Well, I have great news for you. Butter has one of the highest CLA concentrations of any food and can assist in the acceleration of fat loss while also acting as an effective cancer fighting agent. Again, moderation is the key!  If you are using butter in moderation with healthy foods, it can be your friend. That is the difference between frying chicken with a boat load of butter compared to using a moderate amount of butter to cook your asparagus.

Myth #5: Eat the majority of your carbohydrates in the morning to boost your energy

Although it is important to eat a healthy and complete breakfast every day (and two cups of coffee does not count!), eating breakfast will not exactly boost your metabolism and improve your ability to lose weight any more than any other meal of the day. There is no clinical evidence to prove this theory. Be aware that although it doesn’t exactly offer a huge boost of energy, eating breakfast can help curb late morning cravings. We all know that those ugly cravings can lead to a session of unhealthy food binges that usually consist of high-calorie junk food!

Myth #6: All fiber is good for you

Not all fibers are created equal and not all are good for you. Wheat bran helps move foods along while oat brans lower cholesterol and insulin in addition to supporting a healthy intestinal and gut. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes are the best sources of fibers, although marketing plows will make you think your sugary yogurt, morning cereal and energy bars are more appropriate when in actuality, they aren’t at all! Most processed foods like cereal and yogurt do not naturally offer a ton of fiber, leading many manufacturers to add their own unnatural fiber. Stick with whole grains (NOT multi-grains) and eat Greek yogurt as it is usually the least processed yogurt in the food market.

The important point to remember is that nothing is absolute and 99.99% of the time, health advice that you hear or read usually depends on several factors including how often you eat something, how much of a particular food group you eat, etc. If you haven’t already noticed the main theme of this blog post, remember this: Eat in moderation and try to stay away from eating too many processed foods. Fasting for two weeks on fruit or liquids won’t help you reach your health goals in the long run. Neither will starving yourself or binge eating as they can have serious and harmful effects on your body.

If you would like to learn more about my lifestyle and health consultations, email me at [email protected]! Also, follow me on Twitter and Instagram for daily fitness, health and physical therapy tips and advice!

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