Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dispelling the Top 10 Nutrition 'Myths'

Lay off the carbs. Take vitamins. Avoid eating eggs. We’ve heard these pieces of nutritional advice for years, but are they accurate? Not necessarily, say exercise physiologists Wendy Repovich and Janet Peterson, who provide their top 10 “nutrition myths.” You'll find the “M” word – moderation – crops up often. 1. Eating carbohydrates makes you fat.Cutting carbs from your diet may result in short-term weight loss, but it’s from a loss of water. Eating carbs in moderation may not directly lead to weight gain.The body uses carbs for energy, and going too long without them can cause lethargy. 2. Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Repovich and Peterson recommend replacing water lost through breathing, excrement and sweating each day, but that doesn’t necessarily total 64 ounces of water. It’s hard to measure the exact amount of water you have consumed daily in food and drink, but they say if your urine is pale yellow, you’re doing a good job. If it’s a darker yellow, they add, drink more water. 3. Brown grain products are whole grain. Brown dyes and additives can give foods the deceiving appearance of whole grain. Read labels to ensure a food item is whole grain. Try to get three-ounce equivalents of whole grains per day to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, Repovich and Peterson suggest. 4. Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol. Egg yolks have the most concentrated amount of cholesterol of any food, but not enough to pose health risks if consumed in moderation. Studies suggest that eating one egg per day may not raise cholesterol levels and that eggs may actually be a great source of nutrients. 5. All alcohol is bad for you. Again, moderation is key. Six ounces of wine and 12 ounces of beer are considered moderate amounts, and shouldn’t pose adverse effects to the average healthy adult. In fact, you’ll find disease-battling antioxidants in red wine. 6. Vitamin supplements are necessary for everyone. If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, moderate amounts of various low-fat dairy and protein and the right quantity of calories, you don’t need a supplement, the exercise psychologists say. Most Americans do not, so a multi-vitamin might be good. Special vitamin supplements also are recommended for people who are pregnant or have nutritional disorders. 7. Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass. Contrary to claims of some protein supplement companies, consuming extra protein may do nothing to bulk up muscle unless you simultaneously are weight training. Even then, the increased requirement could easily come from food. A potential problem with supplements: the body can become “distressed” when it works overtime to get rid of excess protein. 8. Eating fiber causes problems if you have irritable bowel syndrome. There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber, which doesn’t dissolve in water, can cause problems, but soluble fiber – found in most grains – is more easily absorbed by the body and helps prevent constipation for those with the condition. 9. Eating immediately after a workout will improve recovery. Endurance athletes need carbohydrates immediately after a workout to replace glycogen and a small amount of protein with the drink enhances the effect. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk or a "sports drink" like Gatorade is better for the body, because they replace glycogen lost during exercise. Protein is not going to help build muscle, so strength athletes do not need to eat immediately following their workout. 10. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating foods low on the glycemic index. High levels of glucose are not what “cause” diabetes; the disease is caused by the body’s resistance to insulin. Foods high on the glycemic index can cause glucose levels to spike, but this indicates the presence of diabetes, not the root cause. QualityHealth News

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