IN today’s health-oriented world, the four major players – diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol abuse – are in the spotlight. Diet weighs heavily on this equation and has also been a subject of a lot of pervasive myths and misinformation. Today, we shall review some of the most popular misconception about diet.
Fasting is the best way to start.
Fasting is the wrong way to start, or even “punctuate,” your dieting schedule. Fasting has no place at all in controlling weight or quality of nutrition for our body. The temporary weight loss resulting from fasting is thru water loss (dehydration). The best way to maintain your weight is to burn the calories your take in daily (example: if you take in 2000 calories, you should exercise off 2000 calories that day). It is a matter of intake and output, an obvious common sense approach. If one is overweight and wants to lose weight, then the calories burned should be higher than the calories ingested, until the goal is reached…and at that point, the maintenance intake and output formula should prevail. Those who want to gain weight to reach the ideal weight, obviously, should have more intake than output of calories.
Low carb – hi protein diet is best.
Not true. Those on low carbohydrate diet alone, but on high protein (meats, egss, etc) had good initial weight loss, but regained the weight after six to 12 months, as shown by some studies. They faired better than those on low fat diet, which is actually more healthy as far as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic illnesses and cancers are concerned. However, low carb diet, combined with low fat diet and exercise, has been found to be the best regimen. This means the diet mainly consists of fish and bean curd, beans, grains and nuts (as the main source of protein and oil) and a lot of green leafy and other vegetables, and fruits. Among diabetics, fruits should be included in the calculation of the total daily restricted calorie intake.
Enemas aids in dieting.
False! This is a myth that is unhealthy. Enemas for cleansing “to get rid of toxins in our body,” is not medically accepted as a means of detoxification and weight control. To detoxify our body, the best way is to abstain from smoking, minimize alcohol intake and exposure to other toxic agents, eat a lot of vegetables, nuts, some fruits, and to exercise daily. There have been reports of deaths with frequent self-prescribed enemas. They could lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, heartbeat irregularity, and bowel perforation. The so-called designer coffee enema for colon cleansing is not only expensive but also useless and very dangerous.
Eating late at night leads to more weight gain and fats
This is no more true than the myth that Elvis Presley is alive. Of course, it is best not to have a full stomach close to bedtime. Going to bed 3 to 4 hours after a meal is fine. The calories taken at night have the same effect as those taken during the daytime. While you burn less calories while sleeping, you lose these when you get up in the morning and start your daily routine, especially if you exercise every day.
“Slimming tea” works
This is a myth. “Slimming Tea,” or other drinks that are advertised as effective for weight reduction, are per se, useless and a waste of money. Any beverage, so long as they are zero calorie drinks, can help in weight reduction, if taken in lieu of a ton of calories. And I repeat, in lieu of. Not together with thousands of calories. If you drink them and still eat more calories than you burn, then you will gain weight, regardless of what fluid you drink. There is absolutely NO beverage on the market that will lead to weight reduction, per se. There is no easy solution to overweight; it takes education, discipline, determination and hard work. But the dividends are worth the sacrifices.
Drinking a lot of water leads to weight gain
Only if you heart or kidney is not healthy. Heart or kidney failure patients tend to retain water, so water restriction is part of the treatment among many of them. However, for someone who is otherwise healthy except for excess body weight, drinking two glasses of water before each meal is a great strategy in appetite and calorie control (it “fools” the brain into thinking the stomach is already full), which reduces the food intake, and, subsequently, the weight. The recommended fluid intake is at least 8 glasses of water a day. However, if the beverage ingested is loaded with a lot of calories (like regular cola drinks, fruit drinks, smoothies, etc.), then rapid weight gain results. Fruits juices (fresh fruits are better than the juice) should be limited to 4 oz a day since it has a high concentration of added sugar. Sugar-loaded pop beverages are among the top culprits in the calorie explosion of today, and should be avoided. Purified water is the healthier and cheaper universal beverage for all seasons.
Eating grapefruit will help burn body fats
A caveat to remember: there is no food known to man today that can burn or “melt” body fats, or that can reduce weight without proper dieting. Eating grapefruit is good, if done (again) in lieu of eating tons of calories. Grapefruits, like many fruits and multi-colored and green leafy vegetables, are loaded with good anti-oxidants that protect our body from the ravages caused by free radicals. So, eating them daily is healthy for us, but for fat and weight reduction, the only guaranteed formula is our basic common sense principle: output must be equal to intake (calories taken in = calories burned) in order to maintain a certain weight. And you can extrapolate from there to suit your personal goal.
Are sodas/soft drinks safe?
Soft drinks, regular or diet, cola or uncola, caffeinated or not, are not only unhealthy but toxic to the body, especially for children. They increase the risk for the development of metabolic syndrome, number one killer among diseases. For those on a diet, drinking soft drinks is like pouring water on someone who is already drowning. Taxes for soft drinks, like taxes for cigarettes, are being increased through legislation to discourage people from using these toxic agents.
Diet without exercise
While dieting or watching our diet, pushing ourselves away from the dining table less than full to maintain a healthy weight, body, and mind, doing this disciplined strategy, adding exercise to this healthy lifestyle regimen, more than triple its beneficial effects as far as boosting our immune system, our our physiology, disease prevention, and overall well-being for health and longevity.
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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States. For more data, visit philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected]