Wednesday, August 25, 2010

4 Diet Myths Debunked

I have perhaps one of the most awesomest (yeah, it's a word) leaders in the world of Weight Watchers.  She sends her members (who sign up) emails with recipes.  Emails with tips.  Emails with points values for things you would love to eat.  Most recently she sent us a quick email busting some of the most popular dieting myths! So I thought I would share them with you. 

Despite all we know about sound nutrition, myths lurk everywhere -- from a friend's misguided counsel to the latest fad-diet bestseller. Get the facts right here.

MYTH: The healthiest diet is fat-free.
FACT: "You need some fat for your body to function properly," says Karen Miller-Kovach, MS, RD, chief scientist at Weight Watchers International.Fat helps transport vitamins A, D, E and K to tissues throughout your body. And some dietary fats help regulate your hormones and keep your nervous system humming. "It also contributes to satiety," says Miller-Kovach, so you don't walk around perpetually hungry. The general recommendation is to keep your fat intake between 20 to 30 percent of your total daily calories. So don't be fat phobic, she says. "There's no need to shun all foods that contain fat."

MYTH: Sugar is fattening.
FACT: There's little scientific evidence that a high-sugar diet leads to obesity. Not that you'd want to (since sugar doesn't provide any of the vitamins and minerals needed for good health), but you could consume 2,000 calories worth of sugar a day and not gain weight — if your body requires 2,000 calories a day to maintain your current weight, says Columbia University nutrition professor Audrey Cross, PhD. Sugar is pure carbohydrate. Your body processes it the same way it does any carb, including bread and fruit. Of course, many sugary favorites, such as doughnuts, are not the best choice not just because of all the sugar, but also the fat. Fresh fruit, at just 1 to 2 POINTS® values per serving, is your best bet if you have a sweet tooth.

MYTH: Food cravings are best ignored.
FACT: "Ignoring a food craving can lead to backlash," Miller-Kovach says. If you feel deprived, you might give up and overindulge in the craved food. A better idea: "Go for the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie item in the category you're craving, say chocolate frozen yogurt for a chocolate fix," Cross suggests. Or have a small amount of the real thing, such as a square of high-quality chocolate. If neither curbs your craving, look at the bigger picture. Cross adds that a craving that persists could mean your diet is too limited, or that you could be craving emotionally, perhaps due to anxiety, anger or stress.

MYTH: Eating at night leads to weight gain.
FACT: It doesn't matter what time you eat; your body burns calories 24 hours a day. "Although your metabolism does slow down at night, it doesn't slow down enough to make a difference," says Miller-Kovach. So go ahead and eat dinner at 8 p.m., or have a midnight snack without feeling guilty. But do factor those choices into your POINTS Tracker! Overall, says Miller-Kovach, it's the number of calories you take in over the course of a week

What dieting myths have you heard that need busting?


KK said...

Good to know!

Sandra said...

I like these factoids! I especially like the one about the sugar. I can't stay away from it, and belive me I have tried. I like this better!