Earlier today, my coworker was telling me how she "drank beer for her dinner." It was OK, because she was on a low carb diet.
She then went on to tell me that chicken thighs were "fattening" while she was eating some McNuggets and fries... On a low carb diet.
Every year around this time, anyone who has ever managed to lose a pound becomes a source of infinite intelligence about losing weight. From your Aunt saying that eating after 6 pm makes everything turn to fat to your neighbor that doesn't eat fruit because it has too much sugar, they misguide people who may have a chance at losing weight.
Most of this article is written in jest; I'm really not raging over bad nutritional advice. So let's get to poking fun at some of the worst nutritional advice I've ever heard.
6 Signs You Don't Know Squat About Nutrition
Sort of like the classic Jeff Foxworthy, you may not know squat about nutrition if...You only eat egg whites because the yolk has too much fat
While egg yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg, yolks have been blamed for raising your cholesterol.
In a study to see how eggs affect your cholesterol, 70% of people had no effect on their cholesterol. In the other 30%, which they deemed as hyper-responders, noticed a rise in HDL (good) cholesterol and they turned the LDL (bad) particles into the large and fluffy kind, which is not harmful.
Eggs have many antioxidants, full of high-quality protein, fats, and choline. 90% of people do not get enough choline. The other 10% must be those in the bodybuilding community.
Eggs are nature's perfect food. You aren't getting fat because you're eating whole eggs - you're getting fat because you can't count calories.You say low-fat foods are a healthier alternative
If you think a highly-processed low-fat microwave meal is healthier than eating the whole food natural version, you need to listen up. Nutritious fats are what help regulate hormones, control our appetite, and help us absorb more fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
Let's take sour cream for example. It is loaded with nutritious fats and relatively calorie dense. Since this is the case, low-fat or no-fat versions were created.
If we look at the ingredients of regular sour cream versus the low-fat version, you may start to understand why the low-fat version is actually worse for you.
Regular Sour Cream Ingredients:
- Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Cream and Milk
Low-Fat Sour Cream Ingredients:
- Cultured Milk
- Nonfat Dry Milk
- Modified Corn Starch
- Sodium Phosphate
- Guar Gum
- Calcium Sulfate
- Locust Bean Gum
- Vitamin A Palmitate
We've essentially turned a nutritious source of flavor and fats into a genetically modified disaster. Instead of opting to save 40 calories per serving, why not just use a normal serving?
You tell someone to eliminate an entire food group
While macro manipulation does help with weight loss, getting stronger, and building muscle... But telling someone to cut out carbs, fats, or protein shows that you have no understanding of the human metabolism.
If you are fat like me, you know you eat too much and don't get enough exercise. Quit lying to yourself and quit setting up other people for failure.
You think a calorie is a calorie
While one of the basics of losing weight is calories in versus calories out, eating one slice of the Cheesecake Factory's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake, is the equivalent in calories to eating 2.79 pounds of chicken.
Eat whatever you want to eat, but focus on getting calories from nutrient dense foods, not calorie dense foods.
You call anything "fattening"
The only thing that is fattening is when you eat too much of it.
You think you have to eat every 2 hours to keep your metabolism going
I'll give it to you, there is a (small) thermogenic boost when you maintain this unrealistic feeding schedule.
Your metabolism doesn't slow down from not eating after a few hours; do you really get up during the night to eat too?
Why eating more frequently can work:
- Eating more frequently will help you fight off hunger, which will help with temptation.
- It's similar to the difference between going to the store hungry or full; you'll almost always buy something that wasn't planned.
Why eating more frequently may not work:
- Eating more frequently requires planning and meal prep.
- If you can't cook, eating high-sugar processed snacks won't do your body any good.
- It takes careful planning and outstanding willpower to not turn those 6 meals from 400 calories each to 600 each. You'll essentially gain a pound every three days if you're unknowingly eating too many calories.
Follow Sound Nutritional Advice
Since I keep poking fun at people who give this type of advice, here is some sound nutritional advice that everyone should know.
Limit or Remove Drinking Sugar Calories
Sodas and other high-sugar drinks are not registered in the brain the same way as eating the same amount of calories in solid foods.
Eat More Nuts
Nuts are high in fat, nutritious, and loaded with magnesium, vitamin E, and other nutrients.
Studies have shown that eating nuts can help you lose weight, fight heart disease, and may help fight type 2 diabetes. In one study, almonds increased weight loss by 62% compared to complex carbohydrates.
Eating nuts will help you feel fuller and boost weight loss.
Opt for Real Food When Possible
Between not having time to cook, not being able to cook, or just too lazy to cook, we are getting fatter from these convenience foods.
Highly-processed foods have been engineered to be "hyper-rewarding" which means we want to eat more than we need. Sound familiar?
Aside from that, processed foods give you all of the calories without all of the fiber, protein, and nutrients you should be getting.
Eat More Fatty Fish
Everyone knows that fish is healthy, but did you know it also lowers risks of different diseases?
Fatty fish, like salmon, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that lower your risk of heart disease, dementia, and depression.
If you've never had a perfectly cooked crispy skin slab of salmon, you're missing out.
Get More Sleep
While this isn't directly related to food, sleep may be as important as diet and exercise, if not more.
Not getting enough sleep is the strongest individual risk factor for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that there is an 89% increased risk of obesity in children and a 55% increase in adults who were short on sleep.
Poor sleep screws up your appetite hormones, reduce your physical and mental performance and skyrockets your insulin resistance.
Use More Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Considered one of the healthiest fats on the planet, EVOO is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Drizzle some EVOO on a salad with some cracked black pepper and sea salt and know that you are lowering your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.
Be More Adventurous With Flavors
Using plenty of herbs and spices when cooking adds flavor and many overlooked benefits.
Both ginger and turmeric have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Next time you are in the grocery store, take a stroll down this aisle and pick some up.
Quit Going on a "Diet"
Dieting has been noted as one of the strongest predictors of future weight gain.
They deprive your body of something, depending on which spectacular crash diet you choose, and can be harmful to your body.
Losing weight is a natural side effect of making better food choices and getting healthy. Instead of deprivation, think nourishment.
You don't have to be an aspiring bodybuilder or powerlifter to lift weights.
Lifting heavy objects and putting them down lead to massive improvements in your physique, metabolic health, and improves your insulin sensitivity.
If your excuse is that you don't want to get too big, you should stop trying to sell me those body wraps and read a book.