Diet Myths = Diet Lies

I wrote the following article in 2013, and it was published on 

Source: 123rf
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Copyright : Nipon Temsakun

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.

Eat Fat To Lose Fat

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Copyright : Vadim Guzhva

What’s all this talk about how consuming certain fats can make your body shed fat? Well, it turns out that it’s all true. So for those of you who shun all types of fat in an effort to lose weight, you may be doing yourself a disservice. That doesn’t mean you should go hog-wild and gobble fat bombs, but if you keep a moderate amount of healthy fats in your meal plan, you’ll have a greater chance of reaching your weight loss goals.

Keep in mind that dietary fat supplies fatty acids which transport certain vitamins across cell membranes, regulate body functions, and are integral components of growth and overall health. Fat can also be stored as energy in fat cells, cushioning internal organs and providing an energy bank which can be utilized in times of starvation.

When you consume dietary fat, you are increasing the palatability and what’s called the “mouth feel” of foods, which makes the whole process of eating more enjoyable. In addition, fat creates a feeling of satiety which lasts longer than if you were to scarf down a carbohydrate-rich meal which is digested much more rapidly. That’s why rifling through a bag of potato chips can often trigger more munching, until you find that you’ve polished off the whole bag, hence the phrase “empty calories”.

Just make sure to stick to healthy fat sources like avocado and nut butters, and skip the trans fats, which are partially hydrogenated, and found in processed and prepared food items like cakes, cookies, margarine, donuts, fried foods, and frozen pizza. Saturated fat intake should also be kept to a minimum (found in meats such as beef, pork, poultry skin, butter, cream, and cheese).

Paleo Meal Plans For Women – The Fat Loss Cure?

Original post can be found at:
Apparently the cave dwellers of the Stone Age knew a thing or two about nutrition, because modern nutrition experts have developed a new craze with the Paleo diet, purporting a myriad of health benefits such as fat loss and a boost in energy. However, though some individuals have reported increased energy while on a Paleo plan, many others have reported a slump in energy levels. For this reason, I want to remind readers that it is essential to determine what works for YOUR body. Paleo may work wonders for you, or it may be a turn in the wrong direction too.

For those of you who are unclear on what defines a Paleo meal diet, let’s look at what food items are allowed on this meal plan: meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds. Foods which are banned from Paleo plans are: grains, legumes, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, dairy. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the Paleo philosophy:

About one-quarter to one-third of the calories you ingest daily will come from protein sources, all of which are from animal sources.
Carbohydrate sources consist of vegetables and fruits and comprise about 40% of your daily caloric intake.
Fat intake is relatively high, consisting of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Paleo plans are low in sodium and high in potassium due to the whole food sources which are allowed.
Benefits of Paleo
Some people may notice a marked improvement in digestion after implementing a Paleo meal plan, which can be explained in part by the large amounts of fiber delivered with this dietary approach. Those who are gluten sensitive or intolerant usually notice a pronounced improvement in gut health after going the Paleo route, since irritating and inflammatory grains are eliminated from the diet.

Since blood glucose levels remain relatively stable due to the low glycemic index of foods ingested in Paleo plans, people may notice mood stabilization, a decrease in food cravings, and better focus and concentration. Another benefit which Paleo diets can confer is weight loss. I have heard of people suddenly dropping those last five or ten pounds rather quickly after following a Paleo plan, so Paleo can be a godsend for those who are at their wit’s end about trying to lose weight.

Negative Aspects of Paleo
If you’re passionate about remaining a vegetarian, you can forget about going Paleo, since it relies heavily on animal protein sources. With so much meat in the plan, some individuals cannot tolerate the high amounts of protein. Others cannot tolerate the sudden massive intake of dietary fat, and develop increased gut permeability, which is ironic since many people who switch to Paleo plans are trying to find a way to heal a leaky gut. Digestive upset which surfaces while on a Paleo diet may also be a result of consuming the excessive supplements which are required to ensure optimal nutrition while on a Paleo plan.

Paleo plans do not guarantee relief from food intolerance either, since foods considered Paleo safe, such as beef or walnuts, can trigger massive inflammation in the gut. The solution is to either get a food tolerance test from your physician’s office, or eliminate foods one by one until your symptoms disappear. However, the problem with food elimination while on a Paleo plan is that you are already quite restricted on the foods which you are allowed to eat. Another problem with the limited number of foods allowed on Paleo plans is that macro and micro nutrients are often inadequate. Some women simply cannot consume the massive amounts of protein which are required on the plan, and caloric needs are often not met because the caloric densities of the staple foods on a Paleo plan are rather low. In addition, the body’s daily requirements for vitamins and minerals is often not fully met, making it necessary to take many supplements to compensate for the nutrient deficit.

I have also noticed that a fair percentage of women (and men too, for that matter) do not function well on extremely low carbohydrate diets. These women would fare better on a Paleo plan which allowed some root vegetables such as potatoes for starchy carbs, or on a non-Paleo plan which incorporated grains.

The Verdict
After all is said and done, the Paleo approach is restrictive, and in my humble opinion, not sustainable for the long term. As one who has followed restrictive non-Paleo contest prep plans, I can honestly say I had more variety with some of them than what I have seen with Paleo plans. I believe that a Paleo diet can be an excellent short-term way to jump start weight loss, especially for someone whose weight loss efforts have stalled.