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Food and Fitness: Fact from Fiction
How many times have you said to yourself, "I have to start eating better and exercising more"? We all want to try and improve our health, but many times it ends up being easier said than done. There is so much information out there about what you should be eating and what you shouldn't, that sometimes it's hard to know what to believe and what to ignore. It's the same thing with exercise.
WeCare Medically Supervised Weight and Exercise Management at Community Care Physicians, P.C. recently had a free educational lecture on common food and fitness myths. Follow this link to see a schedule of all their upcoming educational lectures. Here are 10 things learned from watching their lecture:
- Fiction - Diet Soda is better for you than regular soda. Facts - People often think they are doing themselves a favor by drinking diet soda because it has zero calories and no sugar, they think they won't gain weight. However, study after study has shown that artificial sweeteners lead to increased waist circumference. Abdominal fat is a major cause of type II diabetes.
- Fiction - Diet or Fat Free foods. Facts - Many packaged foods are marketed as diet, fat free, or low fat. It is often thought these foods are better for you and will prevent weight gain. The reality is fats aren't the only things that make you gain weight and when the fat is removed, it is replaced by something else for flavor, usually an added chemical with no nutritional value that is potentially harmful to your metabolism.
- Fiction - Fats are bad for you. Facts - It is often thought that fats are bad you. They will clog your arteries and make you gain weight. The fact is, however, your body needs fats to survive. Fats will make you feel more full from the foods you eat and can actually help you to eat LESS. Unsaturated fats are the good fats, found in things like fish, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and all natural peanut butter. Even saturated fats, which are linked to bad cholesterol, are not all bad. Trans fats, from margarine, shortening, and many fried foods, are bad for you and should be avoided at all costs.
- Fiction - Bad cholesterol is bad. Facts - Everyone should know we have good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). However, there are 2 types of LDL cholesterol, and not all bad cholesterol is actually bad. Small, dense LDL particles are the ones that can lead to heart disease but large fluffy LDL particles are mostly harmless, and may actually protect against heart disease. Foods with a lot of saturated fat can raise your LDL, but it is animal based foods (like red meat, processed meat, and dairy) that raise the small dense LDL particles and plant based foods (like coconut or palm oil) that can raise the large fluffy LDL.
- Fiction - Low carb/no carb diets are good for you. Facts - Carbohydrates are the latest dietary villain, but like every essential nutrient, they aren't all bad. Carbohydrates provide your body with its primary fuel source, glucose. Glucose is essentially sugar and our body must produce insulin to process glucose for energy. What you need to be more aware of is the glycemic index of the carbohydrate you are eating, or how fast it raises your blood sugar, and therefore your insulin.
- Fiction - Complex carbs are always better than simple carbs. Facts - Simple carbohydrates contain sugar, and little else in the way of additional nutrients. In addition to sugar, complex carbs contain nutrients like starch and fiber, so the body has to break them down and digest them before your body can use them as a glucose source. Many simple carbs, like candy, soda, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are bad for you, but some, like fruit and dairy, are good for you. Complex carbs like whole grains, potatoes, beans, and vegetables are good, but breads, pastries, cereals, chips, and cookies are bad. So instead of thinking complex vs simple carbs, think about processed foods (candy, soda, pastries, chips, cookies, breads) vs whole foods (oatmeal, whole grains, potatoes, beans, fruit, and vegetables). Processing foods tends to strip away their essential nutrients, leaving nothing but sugar behind.
- Fiction - You can sweat off the excess weight. Facts - Exercise alone cannot make you lose weight. Diet and exercise go hand in hand. Without a proper diet, all the exercise in the world won't help you. You simply do not burn enough calories during exercise to undo all of the effects of a poor diet.
- Fiction - Always stretch before you exercise. Facts - This may not necessarily be the best advice. You should warm your muscles up with some moderate activity before stretching. Stretching cold muscles too vigorously can lead to injury, so ease into exercise before stretching.
- Fiction - Strength training won't help you lose weight. Facts - When you exercise, it takes about 20 minutes before you start burning stored fat. For the first 20 minutes of exercise, your body is burning stored sugars in the muscles. Strength training can help to burn off the stored sugar in your muscles, so you get to fat burning quicker. If you are trying to lose weight, it could be beneficial to do strength training prior to starting a cardio workout for best results.
- Fiction - No pain, no gain. Facts - The gain from exercise begins 10 minutes after you begin exercising and continues through the rest of your workout. Any pain, particularly muscle pain, isn't usually felt for a day or two. While you may feel a slight burning in your muscles or some weariness as you approach the end of your workout, you should not be experiencing significant pain. Real pain could be indicative of an injury, and nothing can be gained from pushing through an injury.
It's hard enough to stay motivated about exercising and eating right, and learning to separate fact from fiction is an added challenge. WeCare Medically Supervised Weight and Exercise Management at Community Care Physicians, P.C. works with you to create an individualized plan that fits your lifestyle, schedule, and budget. They provide a comprehensive approach to weight loss and fitness through a program of medical management, nutrition education, fitness education, and behavior change to provide a structured, supportive environment to help patients achieve long term health and wellness. follow this link to learn more about what WeCare has to offer.
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