7 Health and Fitness Myths You Should Know
There’s a lot of noise and claims in the health and fitness world. Whether it’s on TV, the internet or social media, it can be very confusing. It’s difficult to tell what’s true and what isn’t. This can affect your progress to healthier living.
Here are the top 7 myths that you should know about to maximize your health and fitness.
1. Calorie consumption is the only thing that matters
You may have heard that losing weight is as simple as burning more calories than you consume. While calorie counting for health and weigh loss is important, it’s not just about the amount. The quality of calories needs to be the focus. The quality of food matters just as much as the quantity. Too many Americans are not consuming adequate nutritional calories.
It is true that all calories have the same energy content, but different calories can have completely different impacts on your body. For example, 100 calories of vegetables compared to 100 calories of a processed food are not the same. Vegetable are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins. You can consume more quantity of vegetables and feel much fuller and energized. On the other hand, eating processed foods that have fiber and water removed and replaced with sugar and salt, will leave you craving more and feeling sluggish. Processed foods are known as “empty” calories for this very reason.
2. My genetics won’t allow me to be fit
It’s a common belief that a person’s genetic make-up will inevitably be who they become. This belief can be discouraging to those who have particular health and fitness goals and may lead to fall-off.
Yes, your genes do give you a predisposition for certain diseases (diabetes, arthritis, etc.), however, your lifestyle, diet and environment play a much more important role than most realize. Research has proved over and over that physical and mental health play a vital role in whether certain genes are turned on or off. In fact, where it was once thought that your genes have a 70% impact on your health, it is actually exercise and lifestyle that carries that influence (genes are only 30%). So, keep striving for healthy changes!
3. Diet soda is good for you
It’s a common belief that no sugar, zero calorie sodas are good for you. Obviously this stems from the marketing of these sodas have no calories compared to regular soda. However, diet soda is loaded with artificial sweetener and is highly processed. This can lead to inflammation and other adverse health affects. Drinking diet soda can lead to kidney issues, metabolic problems, cell damage and even reproductive issues
In addition to the adverse health effects, there is the weight gain factor. Drinking diet soda can make you gain instead of lose weight! The reason for this is that the body loses the ability to let you know that you are full because there are no nutrients in diet soda to trigger this. As a result, people tend to overeat and can become overweight. Sticking with water, green tea or even seltzer is a much better option.
4. Fruits will make you gain weight
Fruits get punished for because they are a “carb” and have sugar. Many people think that eating fruit will cause them to gain weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is true that fruit contains a relatively high amount of sugar. However, fruit as a whole food such as berries or apples also contain high levels of fiber. This causes a slower breakdown in the body unlike their refined sugar counterparts. The vitamins, minerals and fiber work together to allow the body to process the sugar more slowly and better regulate blood sugar and insulin.
Of course, too much of any sugar can be bad. But when only 25% of Americans are getting the recommended level of fruit per servings per day (2-3), it shouldn’t be an issue to eat more fruit.
5. It’s possible to “spot reduce” fat
This is one that comes up a lot in fitness. Trying to reduce fat in a specific area, or spot reduce, such as the belly or hips just isn’t possible. That being said, it is important to focus your exercise to toning specific areas of the body in combination with cardio exercise to help you burn fat. Proper diet and a good exercise program focusing on cross-training is the best bet for burning fat and improving your overall health.
6. It is important to eat every 4 hours to lose weight and be healthy
For the longest time, experts have promoted “grazing” throughout the day. Eating regularly and snacking every 4-5 hours. This was believed to help regulate metabolism and burn more calories.
More recently, intermittent fasting has become the preferred way to control and even lose weight. Intermittent fasting refers to eating only during certain periods of time during the day. There are a couple of advantages to this. First, you can keep track of your calories better. Second, insulin regulation is improved, which keeps cravings and hunger down.
During fasting periods, your cells are repairing and release more Human Growth Hormone to do so. The release of HGH promotes both fat loss and muscle gain! Grazing and snacking throughout the day, on the other hand, causes the body to produce more insulin and store more sugar.
Intermittent fasting is not something you should just jump into without consulting a professional. Do your research and see the best ways to begin transitioning
7. Coffee is bad for you
I’m sure this one hits home for a lot of us. Coffee has gone back and forth over the years as being good and bad. So, what’s really going on with coffee and our health? As with anything else, moderation is the key. However, studies have shown that there are some great health benefits. Coffee may protect against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, Liver disease and heart attacks.
Of course, this does not refer to coffee with added sugars, creams and syrups. Black coffee or coffee with non-dairy, unsweetened creamers are your best bet. Also, coffee is quite acidic and can cause acid reflux and stomach irritation. A great way to combat this is by trying cold brewing rather than hot brewing, which significantly reduces the acidity.
There are tons of health claims out there that can fool you into thinking you’re being healthy. The important thing is to do your research and make sure the information you are hearing is reputable. Try consulting a nutrition and weight loss specialist as well to make sure you’re doing the right things for your body, health and fitness. This is key to making sure you’re on the right path to a healthy, energy-filled life.