Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nutrition Myths

It's been a rough day, so I've decided to take a little mental break and read some fitness articles from HFPN (see side bar for link).  I'm hoping that you can all view this link, but if not, I'm going to basically repost it below.

I mentioned briefly in my last post that it's easy to get bogged down in the flood of fitness information, tips, and tricks provided by magazines, the news, coworkers, even books displayed as fitness books, written by MDs....scary stuff. 

How to drill through it to the real stuff?  Go to associations.  Just as you would with anything else, go to the center of the shared and agreed upon knowledge of that industry.  You go to AAA for car things, go to places like HFPN, AFAA, NASM, etc. for articles.  These are written after research is done...not after someone wanted to make a buck and wrote an article for a magazine or had a publisher approach them.

That's not to say that everything you read or hear about elsewhere isn't true, it's just that sometimes it's not explained well.  Case in point, this artcle, Nutrition Myth Buster, by Dominique Adair, RD (look! RD!)

Myth 1: If I eat late, I'll gain wait (or won't lose).
Not true.  "The studies on meal ingestin patterns, and the associated weight or fat gain or loss do not suggest that reducing late eating is an effective weight control mechanism."
My commentary: If you banish late night eating and you feel that you're losing weight, consider what you stopped eating.  Most people who snack at night snack on chips, ice cream--me, I'm a big wine person.  If you tell yourself "nothing after 9pm" then you'll take out the opportunity for you to snack when you don't need to. But timing of your meals doesn't affect your weight.

Myth 2: Carbs make you fat.
"Savvy nutritionists have said for years, "pasta won't make you fat, but too much will."  Like any calorie containing nutrients, if you take in more than your body needs and you are in calorie surplus, your body will convert it and store it as body fat."
My commentary:  Thank you and thank you.  This could not be more true.  I cannot stand exclusion diets--the ones where you don't eat a certain food or food group.  STOP DOING IT ALREADY.  Everything is okay in moderation.  Except trans fats. I'm not really cool with those.

Myth 3: Exercising on an empty stomach improves fat burning.
"Like cars, the human body performs very well when fed properly.  In fact, most athletes have found out the hard way how a missed meal can impact their performance...Picture a well-running factory with many interdependent production stations.  When food slows down or comes to a halt, so does production."
My commentary:  I'd never really heard this myth before, but it's true.  If you're one of those people who feels sick when working out after eating, give yourself some space, but it's always a good idea to be well fed when maintaining an exercise regiment.

Myth 4: Body builders need expotentially more protein than other athletes do.
"The most important consideration when bodybuilding is taking in adequate energy or enough calories....These calories should be distributed proportionally across all three macronutrient categories."
My commentary: I think everyone freaks about protein when doing muscle building because it's low in fat and easy to make taste better.  Think: powder for shakes.  I can't really comment on this since I have no experience in it.  Chalk it all up to good marketing by the supplement people.

Myth 5: High sugar fruits and vegetables will make you gain weight.
"This myth is interesting because in reality the opposite is true.  The carbohydrate found in fruits is called simple carbohydrate.  But, far from making you gain weight, fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, which are essentially non-caloric and contribute to a lower calories, higher nutrient intake."
My commentary: Sweet and low cal alternative to dessert and snacking.  Love fruit.  Just remember.  A million calories is a million calories.  Think about the density of the calories for the food--low density = high saiety and vice versa.

Myth 6: Drinking water helps you feel full and eat less.
"Some well-recognized research...indicates that when water is mixed with food...subsequent intake is decreased, but when ingested separately as a glass of water it does not seem to decrease appetite or intake."
My commentary: Studies probably prove this, but when I'm feeling an emotional eating attack come or (or bored eating), a glass of water fends it off.  Regardless. Keep drinking water.  It can only help.

Side note: apologies that this was just now posted.  I do have 4 more myths for you all...work just got a bit crazy and I got a bit exhausted this weekend.  Update with a training schedule to come!

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