(This was originally written for RxGirl.com and published in 2013.)
MYTH: You should avoid eating fat.
FACT: Despite the fact that fat carries more than twice the amount of calories per gram when compared with carbohydrates and protein, fat takes longer to empty from the stomach and thus keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. Fat also adds flavor to foods and heightens the dining experience. In addition, you must consume some fat in order to maintain proper cellular health. Omega fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, all of which are healthy forms of dietary fat, actually lower LDL cholesterols in the blood.
MYTH: Healthy foods are more expensive.
FACT: Many unprocessed foods such as grains, fresh vegetables and fruit are extremely cheap. Think about it. You can purchase a five pound bag of potatoes for a couple of dollars, or you can buy a bag of potato chips for $3.49 or more. And I don’t need to tell you that the bag of potatoes will provide sound nutrition and far more food bulk than the chips. I am not a big fan of certain natural food markets because they are grossly overpriced, so I visit other markets which have very reasonable prices on their unprocessed foods. Processed and fast foods may be more convenient, but they are more costly over time, especially if you eat them frequently.
MYTH: Late night meals will make you fat.
FACT: Your body doesn’t process food differently once the sun comes down. The problem that many people have is that they restrict their caloric intake too much during the day, usually by skipping meals. By the time they get home from a busy day, they are starving, and will eat an excessive amount of calories to satisfy their hunger. Another issue is the mindless munching on snack foods which people often do while watching TV or sitting at the computer.
As long as you eat a reasonably sized, healthy meal, nighttime eating shouldn’t result in weight gain.
MYTH: You can eat any foods you want as long as you do it in moderation.
FACT: It’s okay to indulge in a calorie dense or unhealthy food item once in a while, but if you make it a regular practice to eat junk foods every day, you are doing your body and your health a huge disservice. Trust me, a chiseled physique can never be built on a pizza diet (I know, wishful thinking, right?). Your body requires high quality protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed or minimally processed carbohydrates to function optimally and to support a healthy metabolism.
MYTH: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
FACT: Spacing your meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism running in high gear. It is true that breakfast is an important meal because it provides essential nourishment, regulates mood and energy levels and boosts mental clarity. People who skip meals are notorious for eating excessive amounts of food when they actually do eat, and those meals are usually unhealthy and of poor nutritional value. If you are prone to skipping meals, try keeping a food journal to monitor your meal consumption throughout the day.
MYTH: Carbohydrates will make you fat.
The truth is, carbohydrates are usually consumed in excess by many people. What this does is cause a sharp increase in blood glucose, which triggers insulin release so that the glucose can be converted to glycogen for storage in the liver and muscles. Only a certain amount of this glycogen can be stored, with the excess being stored as body fat. Once the blood glucose level falls below normal, carbohydrate cravings are triggered which many individuals succumb to.
When you cut carbohydrate intake, you will experience a rapid weight loss initially as the body drains glycogen stores for energy. What also occurs is that water is released as the glycogen is utilized, resulting in weight loss from the increased urination which results. But after about two weeks, the increased urination ends, and along with it, the rapid weight loss.