Welcome to the second chapter of my nutrition and fitness myths destroying saga. If you are ready to dismantle old statements believed to be written in stone, fasten your seat belt, and enjoy the ride. :-)
WE SHOULDN’T SNACK. If we plan our nutrition only on three meals a day, we will more likely overeat and gain weight. Unless we are snacking on foods loaded with empty calories (such as those high in sugar), eating frequently will allow us to never feel hungry. We should consume small frequent meals throughout the day, and never go more than 4-5 hours without having something to eat. This will also help us regulate our blood-sugar levels.
THE BEST STRATEGY TO LOSE WEIGHT IS SKIPPING MEALS. As I wrote above, when we go a long time without eating, we will more likely consume an enormous amount of calories on our next meal. It’s a counterproductive tactic that will lower our metabolism, and therefore decrease the calorie-burning capacity of our system. We are actually making it worse.
IF I EAT BREAD I WILL GET FAT. Not necessarily. Bread - like every other food - has calories, so eating bread in excess is like eating anything in excess: it will add up around our waistline. I usually discourage people from choosing bread made with white flour, mostly because it doesn’t contain much nutritional value, and it’s less filling than other types of bread. While it’s true that unbleached whole wheat bread contains just about the same amount of calories than white bread, its higher content in fiber, minerals and vitamins makes it a much healthier option for our system. A slice of bread rich in these nutrients will fill us up much more than its bleached counterpart, so that we will less likely eat a lot of it. When somebody tells me they eliminated bread from their diet, I can’t hide my disagreement. As above described, the right type of bread can actually help controlling our body weight, because the fiber in whole grains increase digestion time, and keeps us full longer. For example, bread made with organic sprouted wheat is a much healthier choice than white bread, but there are countless other types of bread with similar properties and characteristics; as long as they have as little sugar added as possible, they are all valuable options. It’s not the bread that makes us fat; it’s what we put on it.
NATURAL SUGAR IS BETTER THAN WHITE SUGAR. “The orange juice I usually drink is good for me, because it doesn’t have any added sugar; it’s all natural sugar.” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this statement, I could fly home with my private jet. Although there are structural and functional differences between sucrose and fructose, if consumed in excess they are both harmful to our system. Sugar is being linked every day more and more to heart disease and stroke, and represents one of the main culprits – if not the most significant - in the obesity epidemic. Low dosages of sugar don’t seem to negatively affect us (up to 140 calories/day for men and 100 calories/day for women), but since most food/drinks manufacturing companies add – and hide - it to enhance the taste of their products, we often end up consuming more sugar than we should…. without even knowing it. On a personal level, I have a sweet tooth. Limiting sugar consumption for me takes a lot of effort, as it has been a true addiction for years, physically and mentally. Nevertheless, I’m doing something about my dependency. I have decided that the sugar I consume must be 100% worth it, and I’m done with anything sweet I’m not completely in love. I don’t drink anything containing sugar (or sugar substitutes), I have eliminated it from most foods, and I allow myself to break the rules once or twice a day with a small serving of dessert. Even the bad things are fine if consumed in moderation.
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