Sunday, August 7, 2011

Outdated Diet Rules



No carbs here, no fat there; we’ve all grown accustomed to hearing some of the common rules when it comes to what we eat. But from the time when some of these rules became popular till today, are they still true? Have we been wasting our time on some things that really don’t matter much when it comes to weight loss? Let’s see.

Outdated rule 1: Cleanse your body to lose weight.  Some of you will hate me now, but recently, doctors have told us that cleanses are just a temporary way to starve your body. It’s almost like saying “I won’t eat for a week.” Of course you will lose weight! Your calorie count has dropped drastically, and so the number of calories your body has to burn is significantly less. But the one thing about cleanses people don’t seem to understand is that it is temporary. When you go back to your regular diet, nothing has really changed. Now, doctors seem to support cleanses only if you are using it as a way to jumpstart a diet program, meaning that you are not going back to your regular diet once it’s over. Plus, our bodies were already created to do their own detoxifying so it is difficult to understand the point when people say cleanses help them get rid of toxins. The summary is: You can do it if you must, but cleanses have not been shown to keep weight off long-term.The best way to keep weight off is to start eating right.

Outdated rule 2: I can eat anything I want as long as I exercise. Bummer. This is so not true. Let’s talk a little about how weight loss happens. When you consume 3500 calories more than your body burns, you put on 1 pound (i.e. 7700 calories to put on 1kg). So in essence the reverse is true as well. You need to burn 3500 calories in excess of what you consume to lose 1 pound (or 7700 calories to lose 1kg). The good thing is that all that 3500 calories is not burned just during exercise. It includes all your movements and bodily activity throughout the day (which could be up to 1500 calories depending on your own body). On the other hand, this tells you how difficult it is to lose just 1 pound. Running for half an hour can burn anywhere from 200 to 600 calories depending on your weight, your age, your sex, and your speed. Standing in line at KFC, you would probably see meals that range from 300 to 1500 calories. So if you choose the right dish at every meal, you could be saving yourself thousands of calories throughout the day, where it could take you hours to burn off even just 1000 calories at the gym. I’m sure we all took Math in school. Which do you think holds more weight?

Outdated rule 3: Eat your dinner before 7pm. Please help me understand this rule. If you eat after 7pm, will the gods come after you? Your body really doesn’t tell time, you know. The reason this rule was ever created was because bedtime used to be a standard 10pm type of deal, especially for those that went to work during the day. With the different lives that we lead, people go to bed at all hours and wake up at all hours. The real idea was that people should try not to eat over 3 hours before bed. But why is this important anyway, you ask? Watch your cravings one day. For some reason, we tend to do most of our mindless eating late at night. And so establishing a ‘food curfew’ is like forcing yourself to control your nighttime snacking. Also, during the day, you tend to burn as you eat because you walk around, exercise, chat, and do a bunch of other stuff. Late at night, you tend to wind down and chill. If you’re eating a ton of calories at this time, you’re not really burning too much. So it’s less about dinner after 7pm, and more about controlling what you eat right before bed.

Outdated rule 4: Eliminate all carbs from your diet. Your body needs energy, and carbs are the best way to get it. I understand the reason this rule ever came to being though. Humans have spent a lot of years creating processed food, and so when we think of carbs, we think of processed carbs. Processed carbs do contain a higher number of calories than unprocessed carbs. And they tend to digest much faster leaving you hungry again pretty quickly. The trick is not to eliminate carbs from your diet, but to try as much as possible to stick to unprocessed carbs like oats, brown or local rice, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread, or whole grain pasta. Hopefully, you got my point with all the ‘whole grain’ in there. When there are too many ingredients in your food that you can’t pronounce, something is up.

Outdated rule 5: Skipping meals is a great way to lose weight. The truth is that some people are successful with this because it all comes down to calorie count, right? If you skip a meal, you probably have cut out a few hundred calories from your day. However, in my experience, if you work out a lot, your metabolism increases. In this case, skipping meals only means that you’re still going to be hungry and might either go on a snacking binge, or get ravenous and eat more than you would have during your next meal. Skipping breakfast for me means anything I see between breakfast and lunch hours is a potential meal (yes, including people). Rather than skip meals, eat smaller portions during regular intervals. Try not to give your body the chance to get too hungry.

Outdated rule 6: Energy drinks are the way to go. When you buy your next energy drink, look at the calorie content on the bottle. It is baffling, isn’t it? Sometimes, energy drinks are sold as these tools to help you work out. But if the difference between drinking and not drinking that 200-calorie energy drink is that you burn an extra 100 calories, it really has added an extra 100 calories to your day rather than decreased your total calorie count. Plus, most energy drinks are just sodas with more caffeine. If you are lacking energy, eat a fruit. The natural sugars give you a boost, and most fruits are low in calories. A similar theory goes for protein shakes. Be very careful when you select protein shakes or protein bars. All that glitters is not gold. They should be low in calories (about 100 to 150 per serving) and contain a large amount of protein (20g or more).

Outdated rule 7: Drinking diet soda will help you lose weight. While diet soda might be better than the regular version, the reason it contains less calories is that it is made with substitute sweeteners instead of sugar. These sweeteners have been proven to cause us to crave more food. So if you’re drinking a Diet Coke, there is a higher probability that you’ll snack or eat more during your next meal. And we all know how I feel about over-processed foods. Why not stick to 100% juice, lightly sweetened zobo (dried hibiscus juice), or other local drinks which contain natural sugars and usually contain fewer calories? Or better yet, stick to water or tea, which contain no calories?

Outdated rule 8: Steer clear of fast food. No, I’m not saying go ahead and make a regular dinner date with KFC. But nowadays, a lot of fast food restaurants have low calorie options. McDonalds now has the breakfast sandwich for 300 calories, and the Premium grilled chicken sandwich for 350 calories. KFC has a Honey BBQ Sandwich that contains 320 calories. I’m still a little scared of Taco Bell though. No one really knows what’s in their meat…

Outdated rule 9: Organic is always better. In theory, organic is better; it is more natural. However, here is the truth most people don’t know. The word ‘organic’ does not really mean too much because there is no standard for what can be called organic and what can’t. In other words, the manufacturer decides whether he wants to slap on the name organic or not. So it’s not about the food being natural – unprocessed is good – it’s about the fact that organic does not necessarily mean unprocessed. So what can you do? As a consumer, it is your job to pay attention to what you buy. For example, if a jar of peanut butter says ‘organic’ but it has more than five ingredients, steer clear. Rather than focus on that word, focus on the contents of the foods you are paying for.

Do you have any more outdated diet rules to share? I could go on all day, but then who is going to read pages and pages of that?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: Health24.com

2 comments:

  1. I especially liked the one about organic foods. I read somewhere that some fruits and vegetables are not even worth the extra we pay to have the label slapped on them since by their nature, the pesticides and chemicals do not find their way into the parts we eat any way...

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  2. hmm my dear i think i will do the detox thing. Cos i am trying to lose weight. i have added some kilos and i know its cos of my not eating right.
    Love your blog though, i am your new avid follower.
    www.secretlilies.blog

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