Looking back to my earlier years when I was growing up, I can remember the boom of the “low fat” or “no fat” craze of the food world. Salad dressings, cookies, pudding, and almost anything else you could think of had a lower or no-fat variety. Scientists back then told us that eating fat was bad. As a result, many of us took this to mean that if something doesn’t have much fat in it, we can eat a lot of it! Bring on the Snackwells cookies and white bread! Now, some scientists are starting to realize that they were wrong.
There was a great article in Time Magazine back at the end of June called Eat Butter: Ending the War on Fat that outlined how scientists were wrong to tell everyone that saturated fats were the enemy. More recent research has shown that it is actually carbs, processed foods, and refined sugars that are to blame for the obesity epidemic. Those who follow Mike Dolce or a paleo diet are likely thinking “tell me something I don’t know!” but keep in mind that the average American doesn’t spend time investigating what’s healthy for them. They’re influenced by what the television is telling them and what the labels on the packaging in grocery stores are trying to sell as a healthy option.
You may have noticed on these same grocery store shelves a lot of products proclaiming to be “trans fat free.” This means that the artificial trans fats once used to enhance the flavor of foods are slowly being eliminated. We now realize that trans fats raise the bad kind of cholestorol in our bodies while lowering the good kind of cholestorol. This reduction of trans fats only applies to the artificial trans fats used as an additive (often listed as “partially hydrogenated oils”) and not the natural trans fats found in meat and dairy items.
So what does this mean in the end? Not a whole lot to anyone who’s been eating healthy or done a little bit of research on a balanced diet in the past few years. Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates, eat more natural foods, and eat a balanced diet. Everything is fine in moderation, so if you slip and have a bad day where you eat some cookies, don’t dive right in and eat the whole bag. Put it back in the cupboard, right the ship, and get back on course towards your healthier life.
For some guys out there, I’m sure this seems like the ultimate diet. Eat only sausages and drink only beer and still lose weight. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not. It’s just a matter of numbers.
About three years ago, Arizona resident Evo Terra changed up his diet to include just beer and sausages, inspired by Octoberfest. Over time, Evo managed to shed 14 pounds. His health wasn’t impacted that negatively, either. According to his doctor, Evo’s cholesterol actually dropped by a third in addition to the weight loss.
So how is the possible? As I alluded to earlier, it’s a matter of numbers. Let’s say that Evo consumes 1,500 calories worth of beer and sausage on a particular day. If he burns anything over 1,500 calories on that day through work or exercise, he’ll be at a calorie deficit. Evo will be burning off more calories than he actually consumes.
This is the key to his diet, as wacky as it sounds: watch your calories, and burn off more than you eat. You could replace beer and sausages with anything that you want to eat on a daily basis, like Oreos and milk or pizza and Diet Coke. So long as the calories you take in are less than the calories you burn, the weight will fall off. Of course, most people like a bit of variety in their lives, so limiting themselves to a diet of sausages and beer, for instance, isn’t that appealing.
There are a lot of myths and conspiracies in the world, from UFOs to 9/11 and ghosts as well, and there are a wide range of shows devoted to these topics. But myths can apply to your health, too. These are in the forms of myths like eating fatty foods can make you fat, foods with carbs can make you fat, and things along those lines. But which ones are fact and which are fiction?
I read many blogs, with one of my favorites being Lifehacker. Recently Lifehacker posted an article (linked below) which outlines a number of these myths and misconceptions. For instance, fatty foods don’t necessarily make you fat. In reality, our bodies need fat, the key is which fats you eat, and in what quantities. The right fats can also help you to feel full, and as a result, aid in weight loss.
Years ago the Adkins craze was in full swing, with tens of thousands of people cutting carbs out of their diets completely. Once again, moderation proves to be key rather than completely eliminating something from your diet. In the case of carbs, much like fats, the type of carbs you eat is what’s important.
Check out the full article for more details about food myths, including the ones mentioned above, along with others related to MSG, gluten, and high-fructose corn syrup. What the article finds is that some of these things may not be bad for you at all. There are also some myths related to exercise–such as exercises that purport to burn fat in specific areas–that I think readers of this blog, and those who are looking to lose weight and get healthier could really benefit from.