With so much information and conflicting advice hanging around the internet, it’s easy to feel confused. But unmasking the myths and explaining the science is important in order to unravel what’s truly nutritional and leave behind certain fallacies.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions, and why you can let them go.
MYTH: You can eat all the junk food, and then you can burn it.
It is not so simple. The quality of what you eat matters a lot. And the damage of unhealthy food simply cannot be undone by hard training.
Trying to compensate for poor dietary choices with exercise is actually a double whammy: physical activity puts stress on the body and, without proper nutrition to recover from, it can become weaker. A balanced diet is important for everyone. And if you are regularly active, it is even more important, not less.
MYTH: It’s okay to eat as much protein as you want.
The protein you eat maintains, heals and repairs the tissues of the body. But you only need as much protein as is necessary to carry out these tasks. When you exceed the amount, the excess protein can cause weight loss or weight gain.
To achieve a good balance, include some protein in each meal, but do not go crazy. A good general rule: if you’re active, aim for half a gram of protein per pound of your ideal weight. So, if your goal is 130 pounds, you do not need more than 65 grams per day.
MYTH: Eating after exercising cancels the training.
Exercising has an effect on your body and then your body is ready for recovery: eating a nutritious meal or snack provides your cells with the raw materials needed to heal and repair.
This recovery process is key, because it is not only the training itself, but during this stage the metabolism is increased and your level of fitness improves. To get the best results, choose post-exercise foods that give you vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
MYTH: Fruit is as bad as candy.
A recent Harvard study found that avoiding fruit altogether is not necessary to control weight. The researchers looked at more than 130,000 adults and found that those who ate a daily serving of fruit got rid of that extra half pound over a four-year period.
The fruit is also full of important nutrients, water and fiber. And its natural sugar is less concentrated than other sweet foods. For example, a cup of strawberries contains about 7 grams of sugar, compared to about 17 grams in a tablespoon of honey and 21 grams in gummy bears.
Some research even shows that compared to vegetables, fruit can have a more powerful effect on weight reduction. This is because fruits tend to replace sweets with a greater amount of calories, while vegetables tend to be supplements.
MYTH: Eating fat makes you fat.
Eating the right fats is actually a smart strategy to lose weight. Healthy fats are incredibly satisfying, since they keep you full longer. Research shows that herbal fats such as olive oil, avocado and walnuts increase hormones that suppress appetite.
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