Eating Healthy: Debunking Healthy Eating Myths

Man Eating Salad
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one-third of adults in the United States are obese. As such, some people are looking for quick fixes to get rid of their unwanted bulk. According to IBISWorld, an industry research resource, Weight Loss Services is a $3 billion industry. It employs roughly 56,375 people, and 37,399 businesses can partake of its revenue pie.

Despite these figures, the industry is currently reeling from a decline of 0.8% of its annual growth. While many want to lose weight, many of them are turning to do-it-yourself fitness and dietary regimens. However, business is expected to pick up again in the next five years.

For this reason, it only goes to follow that there are many weight loss “hacks” that are designed to fill the business coffers and not really help you lose weight. We’re going to debunk some of these myths today.

Fad Diets

The University of Pittsburg Medical School (UPMC) defines a fad diet as “a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.” It is targeted towards those who want to shed pounds without putting in the hard work through exercise. The hospital warns that in some cases, it can be “harmful to your health.” How so?

Many of fad diets focus on eating only one food (for example, grapefruit or just meat). This means that your body is deprived of the nutrients it needs from other food sources. When you eat too much meat, you may be exceeding the amount of protein that your body needs to function, putting a strain on your kidneys and liver.

On the other hand, other fad diets that use certain food combinations are typically low in protein and, again, lack the vital nutrients from your body.

In light of this, UPMC warns that fad diets can potentially trigger poor long-term weight control, increase your risk of chronic disease, reduce athletic performance, give you kidney stones and gout, or lead to ketosis. The group warns that if the diet promises “quick weight loss” and “sound too good to be true,” then it probably is a fad diet.

Counting Calories

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion provided a detailed table indicating the estimated calorie intake each person must take depending on their age, gender, and physical activity level.

The data revealed that sedentary males from the ages of 21 to 40 would need 2,400 calories, moderately active males from the same age group would need at least 2,600 to 2,800 calories per day, while active males would need 2,800 to 3,000 calories per day.

For females, sedentary lifestyles from the ages of 21 to 40 would need 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day. Moderately active ladies would need 2,000 to 2,200, while active ladies would need 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day.

Based on this data, you can immediately gather that each person’s calorie intake requirement varies, depending on their needs. However, many people who want to lose weight assume that they would need to strictly count calories before they can shed the pounds.

While calorie counting can be a good starting point to help you figure out what you need to cut back on to lose weight, the reality is that you need to focus on the quality of the calorie. For example, consuming 300 calories worth of unhealthy sources (such as sweets and soda) is highly different from eating 300 calories worth of healthy sources (such as brown rice, vegetables, and fruits). How so? Your body burns through processed food faster, which leads you to be hungry faster as well. This means you’ll be eating more processed food, without really giving your body the nutrients it needs.

Therefore, you have to focus on what you’re eating to ensure that your body is getting the vital vitamins and minerals that you need.

On-The-Go “Healthy” Food Isn’t Healthy

While making your healthy meals at home is recommended, the reality is that you cannot have all the time in the world to prepare food every single day. As such, many people would purchase on-the-go healthy food – but others would say that these choices aren’t healthy at all!

Actually, some of them are. If you are on a night out with friends and you don’t want to eat a big meal, then order a salad. If you’re in the grocery store, look for the “hot bar” where you can see pre-packed healthy meals in the form of salads and pasta. All the ingredients are clearly indicated on the label, so you would know exactly what you are eating.

Also, some restaurants and stores offer “organic” choices for the health conscious. Opt for wheat bread, brown rice, organic tofu, organic chicken, or fresh vegetables when you are going out.

Debunking Healthy Eating Myths

Kids Hate Eating Healthy

While most kids don’t like eating vegetables, this is more of coming up with ideas to make eating healthy more appealing to them. Start them young by giving them vegetables and showing them that you are eating them, too.

When it comes to enticing your kids to eat healthily, the trick is usually just to make it more interesting for them. There are some ways through which you can entice them – all that’s limiting you would be your imagination and willingness to try. For example, you can make them bento lunches. Bento lunches look very appealing to children as they usually mimic the form of their favorite characters. The catch, however, is that the characters are made of healthy ingredients, such as brown rice and vegetables.

Also, start them young on the habit of eating on time and on finishing their plates. This way, they would be able to bring these healthy eating habits when they grow older.

These items do not begin to cover the various ways myths propagate the weight loss services industry. In light of this, the key to eating healthier is to simply focus more on the quality of food you are ingesting, rather than on the quantity. Eating high-quality food will ensure that your body has the nutrition it needs without having to overeat to overcompensate for the empty calories.