Tag Archives: fat

Common Nutrition Myths

Proper nutrition should not be as complicated as it’s been made by all the conflicting information out there.  When reading about the ‘latest’ study keep in mind that quite often these ‘stats’ are mean to steer you towards buying certain products.  Let’s look at a few nutrition myths that probably have you a bit confused.

Nutrition Myths

  1. Fat makes you fat.

Fat has gotten a really bad rap over the years.  You’ve been told that fat makes you fat so everyone did their best to cut out fat and look what happened.  The obesity rate continued to rise and people continued to become more and more unhealthy.

The truth is you need fat in your diet in order to be healthy.  When food manufacturers want you to buy their product they’ll steer you towards it by making you think that the alternative will make you fat.  When food is made into a low fat or non-fat products manufacturers add sugar and other artificial ingredients to make the food palatable.  Sugar and chemicals wreak havoc in the body and affects your brain/mood negatively.

You need natural fats in your diet.  Even saturated fats such as butter have health benefits, just watch your portions.  Avoid trans fats.  When in doubt ask yourself if the fat you’re about to consume came from nature or a lab.  If it had to be manipulated in a lab leave it in the store.

  1. Carbs make you fat.

Carbs have also gotten a really bad rap.  It’s true that highly processed carbs should be avoided but natural whole carb sources are a healthy part of your diet.  Processed carbs are made to be super flavourful and addictive and they’re rarely very filling despite being high in calories.  Whole food carbs such as minimally processed grains as well as fruits and vegetables are an essential parts of a healthy diet.  When you eat whole foods, you won’t feel the need to binge on them because they’re providing the nutrients and the fibre you need.  Processed carbs are stripped of their good components and are basically just sugar.

  1. Too much protein can damage your kidneys.

If you already have kidney disease you should cut back on protein.  If you’re healthy you don’t have to worry that a high protein diet might cause kidney damage.  Numerous studies done on athletes who consume a high protein diet has shown it to be perfectly safe.  In fact, a higher protein intake lowers blood pressure and helps fight type 2 diabetes.  Protein also reduces appetite which supports weight loss.  Healthy people are fine to eat 0.8 to 1g of protein/pound of body weight.

  1. All calories are created equal.

This is simply not true.  If you took two people and one was eating 2000 calories/day of healthy whole foods and the other was eating 2000 calories/day of highly processed junk you’d have two very different bodies and minds.  Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and have very different effects on your hormones.  For instance, eating a diet high in protein can increase your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite.  Highly processed foods and foods high in sugar cause blood sugar spikes and dives which increases your appetite.  Because processed foods are stripped of their nutrients your body will signal you to eat more because it needs more nutrients.

  1. Only people with celiac should avoid gluten.

People with celiac have a very severe gluten intolerance and have to avoid gluten in order to avoid becoming very ill.  But they’re not the only ones who should avoid gluten.  A lot of people have a degree of gluten intolerance and don’t even know it.  They don’t realize that certain symptoms such as low grade inflammation that are bothering them are actually caused by eating gluten.  There have been studies that have shown that a gluten-free diet can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy.

Keep in mind though that you should be searching out foods that are naturally gluten free such as plants and animals, not gluten free ‘products’.  Gluten free junk food is still junk food – even if it’s organic!

  1. One diet fits all.

As a health and fitness professional I get asked quite often what I eat.  I’m happy to tell people but just because my diet works for me does not mean it will work for another person.  Everyone has different genetics and different food sensitivities.  Everyone needs to figure out what works for them.  Start with a whole food diet and then try manipulating your macronutrient intake to see what works for you.  Pay close attention to how your body reacts to certain foods and keep a diary.  Be prepared to spend a bit of time figuring this out and don’t get frustrated.

Keep It Simple

Proper nutrition means eating natural foods in the correct amounts.  If you’re eating whole natural foods you won’t have that urge to binge because you’ll be supplying your body with what it needs.  Eat like you have to hunt and gather your food.  In other words, if food has been manipulated in a lab do not put it in your body.  Only eat what you could find in nature if there were no such things as grocery and convenience stores.

It may be tough to give up processed foods at first.  They’ve been made to be addictive!  Believe me though, the effort is totally worth it.  Don’t you want a healthy mind and body?

Fat Facts!

We absolutely need fat in our diet, but it has to be the healthy kind.  There’s a lot of confusion regarding fat.  We once believed that fat made us fat and many people cut fat out of their diet which resulted in poor health and weight gain.  Healthy fats are needed to build cell membranes, and the sheaths surrounding nerves.  They also help you absorb some vitamins and minerals and are essential for blood clotting and muscle movement.   Just make sure you’re getting the right fats in your diet.

Good Fat

Good fats are found in vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish.  The two types of good fat are called monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Sources of monounsaturated fats:

You’ll find monounsaturated fats in olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, avocado and most nuts.

It became apparent that these fats are healthy when it was found that people in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region had a low rate of heart disease despite the fact that they ate a diet high in fat.  Their main source of fat is olive oil.

There is no recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fats, but the Institute of Medicine recommends using mono and polyunsaturated fats as much as possible to replace saturated and trans fats.

Sources of polyunsaturated fats:

Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats which means they are required for normal body function but  your body can’t make them.  You have to get them from your diet.  Good sources include flax seeds, walnuts, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Bad Fat

The absolute worst type of fat is trans fat.  It’s the byproduct of a process called hydrogenation which basically turns healthy oils into solids to prevent them from going rancid.  If you see ‘partially hydrogenated oil’ on the label DO NOT EAT IT!  That’s just a fancy term for trans fat.

Trans fats are found in such things as solid margarine, vegetable shortening, commercial cookies and pastries and fast food French fries.  These unhealthy fats increase the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in your blood and decreases the amount of beneficial HDL.  They also create inflammation which is linked to stroke, heart disease, diabetes as well as many other chronic conditions.  It also contributes to insulin resistance which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Scary fact: Research from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%!  There are no health benefits from consuming any trans fats in your diet so stay away from them!

Not Bad But Maybe Not The Best Fat

Saturated fats are kind of in between.  These are solid at room temperature.  Sources of saturated fats are red meat, cheese, butter, coconut oil and many commercially prepared baked goods.

Eating a lot of saturated fat can increase your total cholesterol, most of it being LDL, which can lead to blockages in arteries.  However, it was actually found that there was not enough evidence to conclude that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.  Most nutrition experts recommend keeping total consumption to no more that 10% of your calories.

Eat Fat To Be Healthy!

Just like healthy proteins and carbs, your body needs healthy fats.  Eat the healthy ones so your body functions properly and stay away from trans fats aka partially hydrogenated oils.