Posts Tagged ‘Abnormal Heart Rhythm’

Don’t Believe These Diet Myths

Every time a new fad diet comes out, people jump on the bandwagon believing that this one will be the one that actually works. We desperately want it to be true.

With two-thirds of adults in the U.S. overweight, including one-third who are clinically obese, the status quo clearly isn’t working. These statistics are double the numbers from 30 years ago. Even so, people continue to spend more than $40 billion on diet-related products and quick-fixes every year.

Obviously, something is wrong with this picture. All of that time, effort and money have not made us any healthier.

You’ve probably heard some of these myths before. Here are the facts:

Diet Myth 1: Fad diets help people lose weight permanently.

Fact: Although fad diets usually promise fast and easy weight loss, they are not a good way to lose weight or keep it off.  They require either that you eat only certain foods, or that you avoid many types of food. You may actually lose weight at first. But these diets are difficult to follow because of the limitations, and most people quickly tire of them. Once the diet ends, any weight lost is usually gained right back.

Fad diets may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs, which is unhealthy. Also, losing weight too quickly (more than 3 pounds a week) increases your risk of health problems such as gallstones or an abnormal heart rhythm, which can be fatal.

Tip: Losing 1/2 to 2 pounds a week by making healthy food choices, using portion control, and increasing physical activity is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. This may also lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Diet Myth 2: Natural or herbal weight-loss products are safe and effective.

Fact: The words “natural” and “herbal” do not mean a product is necessarily safe. Rarely are these claims supported by scientific testing which proves that they are safe and will work. One popular ingredient found in some herbal products is called ephedra, and it is now banned by the U.S. Government due to the serious health issues it has caused. It is even linked to some deaths. Some products are now ephedra-free, but that doesn’t mean the new ingredients used to replace ephedra are necessarily safe.

Tip: Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before using any weight-loss product. Take control of your own health by ensuring that what you are taking has been tested and is safe.

Diet Myth 3: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are good for weight loss.

Fact: There isn’t enough scientific research to know for sure what the long-term health effects of this type of diet are. Yet, we do know that getting the bulk of your daily calorie intake from high protein foods such as meat, cheese, and eggs, will not provide you with a balanced diet. Consuming an abundance of fat and cholesterol are known to raise your risk of heart disease and other illnesses.

Your body needs carbohydrates. A lack of them can lead to ketosis, the build-up of partially broken-down fats. There are illnesses associated with not enough carbohydrates in a diet, such as gout (a painful swelling of joints,) and a risk of kidney stones. It is especially important that pregnant women and people with kidney disease and diabetes include carbohydrates in their diet.

Tip: Beware of the danger of short-term weight loss on a high protein/low carbohydrate diet. These diets succeed in weight loss due to a limited low calorie diet. With few choices, dieters get bored from eating the same limited menu. It’s much smarter, and healthier, to eat a well-balanced diet with many choices of reduced calorie foods. A portion plate can help you lose weight while eating a variety of foods and remaining healthy.

Diet Myth 4: Limit starchy foods while dieting, since they are fattening.

Fact: There are many foods that are high in starch but low in calories. Rice, pasta, beans and fruits, when eaten in small quantities, are a great part of your diet. They contain complex carbohydrates that provide a vital source of energy for your body. Skip the high fat toppings, including sour cream and butter, and keep helpings small.

Tip: Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains into your diet, as well as protein from lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and eggs. Be sure to avoid trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium from salt, and added sugars.

Diet Myth 5: Certain foods are high fat burners, such as grapefruit, celery, and cabbage soup, which will help you lose weight.

Fact: Unfortunately, there aren’t any foods that burn fat. The caffeine found in some foods can increase your metabolism temporarily, but will not cause weight loss.

Tip: To lose weight, it’s best to increase your physical activity and reduce your caloric intake. Using portion plates can be an excellent tool for learning proper portion control and reducing food consumption.

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