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5 Myths About Diet & Exercise

Don't be surprised at the myths!
Surprised? Don't keep
passing on the lies!

There are a few diet and exercise myths that just won't die. No matter how many times they've been debunked, they keep reappearing. To put an end to some of the nonsense, I'd like to present my list of 5 diet and fitness myths you should STOP believing.

Cardio is better than strength training to burn calories. Wrong.

An intense strength training workout and a strenuous cardio session can both burn a lot of calories. After a workout, most people continue to burn calories at an elevated level for approximately two more hours. Once the elevated effect of the workout is over, your metabolism returns to normal. However, the people with greater muscle mass continue to burn more calories all the other hours of the day. Strength training builds those calorie-burning muscles, cardio doesn't.

The only way to KEEP the weight off is through dieting. False.

When you cut calories, you tend to lose weight. But if all you're doing is eating less, you're actually setting yourself up for failure. As you lose weight, your metabolism drops. Then you eat even less, which causes further drops in your metabolism. At some point your metabolism is so slow, you can't cut out any more calories without starving your body.

If you build muscle, it boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight. When given a weight-loss choice between simply eating less or exercising more, the exercise route is the best way to go.

If you want to lose weight, you have to give up all those good tasting "bad" foods. Nope.

Anytime you put foods into "good" or "bad" categories, you risk creating temptations. Bad foods will start to occupy your mind and you'll associate them with rewards and happy feelings. The reverse of that is all the foods that are good for you, you'll start to think of as punishment and unpleasant.

The reality is many foods categorized as "bad" can be healthy options with a few minor changes. For example; if you like pizza, buy a whole wheat crust and cover it with lean meats and vegetables. You get healthy food and you can quench that craving for pizza. If there's a food with no redeeming value, eat it in moderation and practice portion control. You'll decrease those cravings and be more able to stop yourself from binging should the urge arise.

Some foods (like celery) don't count at all, they have "negative" calories. Not true.

Adding more vegetables to your diet is a great way to lose weight, but eating a piece of celery won't make you lighter once you've eaten it. The act of chewing and digesting all the food you eat in a day takes about 10% of your total calorie intake. That means if you eat a 2,000 calorie a day diet, about 200 of those calories are going to be burned off by eating the food. That still leaves 1,800 calories that have to be burned off in other ways.

Foods that are high in fiber, low in calories and water-rich like cucumbers and celery are good things to eat. But you still need to track them. Taking in too much of any food can cause weight gain.

Fresh foods are better for you than frozen. Maybe.

The minute you pick fruit or vegetables, they begin to lose nutrients. The difference is in the preservation.

When a food is flash-frozen, the nutrients are "locked in." Since freezing typically happens within just a few hours of picking, the nutrient levels are still high. Fresh food can travel for hundreds or even thousands of miles, often over several days. During that trip, the fresh food continues to lose nutrients.

If you aren't picking it from your own garden and eating it the same day, frozen fruits and vegetables (with nothing added) are actually a better choice. They're also often cheaper and they don't spoil as quickly either.

BONUS! Is there really a five-second rule for dropped food? No.

It's something almost every child is taught. Drop food on the floor and it's still OK to eat if you pick it up within five seconds. It's as if there's some magic bubble around the food that will keep everything safe if you just grab it in time.

Don't do it. If there are bacteria on the floor when you drop your food, they're going to transfer to the food on contact. They don't sit there with little stopwatches counting down "5...4...3..." before they jump aboard. As tempting as it is to dust it off and eat it, you're safer just throwing it away.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.