What you may have been taught
Starting from a young age, depending on the family we are brought up in, culturally, we learn what to eat and when, by those adults taking care of us. Then comes elementary through secondary education where most of us are taught about general nutrition, which tends to include discussions around the food pyramid.
While there are surely some wise nuggets we can grab from these teachings along the way, there’s a lot of misinformation and assumption baked into the messages we learn.
Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
There are tons of people who’ve been hearing this for most of their lives. Are you one of them? The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is based on a very clever (and clearly effective) advertising campaign originated by Grape Nuts Cereal Company in 1944. This propaganda became a part of American culture in the middle part of the century and made its way through the generations as an adopted idea of a healthy diet approach.
There’s nothing wrong with breakfast, as long as we’re not talking donuts and cinnamon buns, but what’s even better is micro-fasting. Micro-fasting, or intermittent fasting, is one of the most popular health practices across the world. It’s the practice of eating the right type and amounts of food (think protein, vegetables, and fruits in general) in a 7-8 hour window. The remaining 16-17 hours of the day, you’re going without and drinking water instead. Studies show that this approach to eating meals supports hormone regulation and weight management. We see this in our weight loss program every single day. Micro-fasting has also been shown in research to support stem cell regeneration and boost immune function; some experts even believe that a common factor in disease is based on eating too often. If our bodies are constantly digestions, it doesn’t have an opportunity to be in repair and rejuvenation mode. Additional research also suggests that many of these benefits can increased with calorie restriction in addition to intermittent fasting.
Myth #2: I need dairy 3 times a day
Definitely Myth. The dairy industry is backed by an effective and powerful marketing machine, advising people that they should be including dairy three times a day for a healthy diet. Aside from the growing amount of people who experience dairy sensitivity, the research behind the claimed benefits of dairy have become debunked in several cases. One article talks about the increase in fracture risk related to dairy consumption and can even deplete calcium from your bones. Another article actually shows evidence of increased risk of death with large amounts of dairy in the diet.
You can get plenty of calcium and vitamins from green vegetables and in fact, it’s been found that the calcium in greens is more absorbed by the body than the calcium in dairy(32% from dairy while greens provides over 50% absorption).
So load up on greens like avocado, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale!
Myth #3: Just count calories and you can lose weight
Yes and no. Restricting calories to a healthy range for your body can allow you to lose weight. It’s important to note that if you restrict calories TOO much without supervision of a professional, your body will be using muscle to burn for fat. You don’t want that, obviously.
But the quality of calories also matter above everything.
When you decide to eat quality foods; plenty of vegetables, fruits, and lean meats (or if you’re a vegetarian, plant based protein), you can essentially eat until you’re satisfied and the calories the ingredients of the food go where they need to. With foods rich in natural fiber, like produce, you’ll get full from the right foods and your digestion will be healthier as well.
The good news here is that if you simply eliminate refined sugars and processed foods from your diet for even a week, you’re likely to see results on the scale, in your waist, and with regard to bloating.
Myth #4: Avoid fat to lose weight
Fat is not something you want to avoid, especially if you’re looking to burn fat. It’s important to know that it’s critical for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb nutrients. It’s true that it also helps the body burn fat, says nutritionist and owner of Nutritious Life meal system, Keri Glassman, RD, who recommends that about a third of any weight-loss plan’s calories come from dietary fat.
Some examples of healthy fats for your body are coconut oil (high-octane fuel for your body and brain which are immediately available to burn by your body), avocados, eggs with yolk, olive oil, raw nuts, beans and legumes.
Bottom line is, even a small change in the right direction will provide you with some measurable results. And once you see an improvement, it’s very easy to stay motivated and you’ll start to get hungry (pun intended) for more healthy and positive changes you can make in your day and for your body. Just make sure you’re applying research backed approaches to see that benefit.