Every year around the holidays, I hear people say they must “diet” once the parties are over. I cringe at the word “diet” and dislike using it because it has a negative connotation when it comes to people wanting to lose weight and be healthy. The reality is there’s not short term fix as the word “diet” conveys. “I’m going on a diet” says, “I’m going to do something for a short period of time to get the results I want and then go back to my old ways”. While it may be effective and most likely will get you results you’re hoping for, sadly, the outcome is short-lived. 🙁
Commercial diets are as trendy as fashion. They come and go, are short-lived, superficial, and will be out of style in a few months.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the new popular diet trend or believe in a program that sounds like the perfect diet for you because it tells you to eat a ton of something you love. I’m still waiting for a new sugar diet to come out so I can eat as much sugar as I want! j/k. 😛 Whatever you choose, I hope it is sustainable and nonrestrictive. Of course, there are situations where a diet may need to be restrictive, especially if suffering from disease. But, for most of us, the more non-restrictive and healthy habit-forming, the more sustainable it will be.
A synonym for “habit” is tradition. It’s what has happened over time through repetition. Not in 14 days or 30 days. Think about it….When you were a kid, how long it did take you to build a habit of brushing your teeth every morning and night? I’m pretty sure my mom told me every day for at least a couple of years! The point is, build healthy habits over time. One small change after another.
While I know many of you are jumping on board with a program to help you get on track again, I want to share with you some oh-so-common food myths when it comes health to help guide your decision. I’m super excited to share these because these myths gnaw at my brain when I see people fall into the plague of false information. 😉
5 Food Myths That Do More Harm Than Good
Myth 1: Eat more protein This is a big one. Protein is essential to a healthy diet. It is necessary to have sufficient protein every single day. You may be getting enough protein every single day, but not getting the right kinds of protein can affect the way you feel and overall health.
When did we all come up short to where many of us are counting our grams of protein!? It feels like everyone is trying to increase their protein consumption when nobody has been told they eat too little of protein. Am I missing something!? All of this craze has got me thinking about how highly influential these commercial diets and products are in forming our opinions of what a healthy body needs.
Fact: If you eat a diet full of whole foods, it is not necessary to count calories, grams of fat, protein, etc. With a variety of whole foods, your protein intake is sufficient. Most of us get more than enough from meat, cheese, and yogurt. While these have high levels of protein, there are definitely some risks to over-consuming them (which most of us do). I always like to encourage eating more plant-based proteins than animal products. Plant protein foods don’t come with health risks and concerns. Plant-based foods also come loaded with other additional nutrients. Great examples are nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, broccoli, lentils, peas, and beans. These are also foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut for better mental health in addition to overall health.
Dr. Axe says it best, “Of course, eating a well-rounded diet that is varied in terms of foods is important for optimal health. To sum it up, protein plays a big part in a healthy diet but quality is key, plus you don’t want to simply load up on protein foods all day long without eating enough vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.
Myth 2: Drink dairy milk for calcium and strong bones From a young age, we’ve been taught the best source of calcium to build strong bones comes from eating dairy products, in particularly cow’s milk. A few decades ago, scientists raised the bar on how much calcium we needed. This was influenced by the dairy industry which then began telling us that we needed to consume more cow’s milk. Remember all the ads telling us to drink more milk: “Got milk?” In fact, research shows, the more cow’s milk one consumes, the higher the risk of fractured bones; especially in older women.
Fact: Again, you can rely on plants (dark leafy greens) for sufficient calcium and doesn’t come with inflammation and unhealthy fats.
Myth 3: Low carb high protein diet Most people associate carbs with weight gain. This all goes back to the many commercial diets that have been created by ingenious multi-million dollar campaigns (like Adkins diet, South beach, Zone, Paleo). The low-carb high-protein diets generally are copycats of one another. They have become so popular because people love to hear good news about their bad habits. They want to be told they can have as much steak and eggs as they want. This sounds good to people. Right?!
Fact: While there are some benefits to these diets (like, lower risk of type 2 diabetes), in the long run, research shows these low carb-high protein diets lead to many diseases like kidney and artery disease because of the high levels of fat, and cholesterol, and little fiber and nutrients. In addition, most of them fail to point out it’s the simple carbs that should be limited (sugar and white flour) and not the complex carbs. Complex carbs are loaded with nutrients, have many health benefits, and come from our earth. Don’t fall for these multi-million dollar diets because they won’t bring health in the long run and have never been known to resolve illnesses and improve diagnosed disease. I highly suggest reading The China Study. This book is backed with decades of meticulous research and hundreds of references to help cut through all the misinformation of health.
Myth 4: Buy everything organic because organic means it’s healthy This is another skewed idea that needs clarification for many of us. While buying all of your food organic is the ideal, it’s not possible for many of us. And it is not necessary!
Organic food means: organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
I was once told by a friend she’d rid her house of white sugar and replaced it with organic sugar. But, sugar is sugar. It will have the same adverse affect organic or not.
Fact: Don’t waste your money buying crappy food organic. Instead, stop buying the junk and look for quality, health-promoting foods. Buying organic cookies doesn’t turn cookies to a health food.
Myth 5: Gatorade is good for people who work out Million-dollar campaigns have convinced many of us that it’s important to give sports drinks to our kids or ourselves when we exercise, play sports, or recovering from the stomach virus. While the electrolytes are great, the amounts of added sugar and artificial ingredients and colors outweighs the benefits.
Fact: If you need electrolytes, simply take fresh lemon juice, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt, and a teaspoon of honey, and mix it with water. Unsweetened coconut water is also great to replenish electrolytes. Otherwise, just drink water when exercising, playing sports, or recovering from stomach virus.
I hope dispelling some of these myths has helped bring clarity to some of the confusing ideas out there. While each one of these only has a brief explanation and each myth deserves its own blog post, I’d love to hear your additional thoughts below! 🙂
*Check with a dietitian or physician for your own personal dietary needs.