We’ve all been handed advice about food and its effects on the body, on how certain foods are good while others are pure evil. Here’s the scoop on six of my favorite nutrition myths.
There are good foods and bad foods.
TRUTH: The only bad food is one you are allergic to, can’t tolerate, or just don’t like. Diets that categorize foods as good or bad are much too restrictive, causing people to unnecessarily eliminate foods from their eating plan.
Eating after 6 P.M. puts on the pounds.
TRUTH: Your body doesn’t know what time it is. Eating later is only a problem if you’ve already consumed your calorie requirements for the day. Eating immediately before you go to bed may result in a sleepless night, but if you eat dinner at 6 and are up until midnight, you might save a few calories from dinner and have an evening snack.
Some super chewy and spicy foods may help the body burn more calories.
TRUTH: Sorry, chomping on celery or gulping down jalapenos may give you an upset stomach, but it won’t make you lose weight any faster. For weight loss to occur, calories in must be less than calories burned. So incorporating low-cal items like celery and peppers into your diet is fine, but it’s the amount you eat and exercise that really makes the difference!
Fat-free foods are better for you.
TRUTH: Many fat-free foods have as many, if not more, calories than their regular counterparts. Carbohydrates typically replace the fat, resulting in something that doesn’t taste quite as good, is not as satisfying, and leaves us wanting more. Fat provides between-meal satiety, so you’re not as hungry as soon. So rather than inhaling half of a box of fat-free cookies, sit down and savor a great piece of Godiva.
Toasting bread decreases the calories.
TRUTH: Thumbs down to this one. The calorie costs of plain and toasted bread are the same. Toasting the bread simply increases the sweetness and may make the bread more flavorful.
Grapefruit burns fat.
TRUTH: While it doesn’t burn fat, this citrus fruit takes a while to eat and is high in fiber, so you may feel fuller longer. Just don’t get the juice in your eye—that really does burn!
Leslie Bonci is a registered dietician and is sports nutritionist for the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cell: 412-559-5974; email:firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @lesliebonci