Cleaning up your diet is always a great idea but along the way, don’t fall prey to some food myths you shouldn’t believe, no matter how promising they may sound. From women's magazines to health food product ads, it's easy to get confused about what foods are healthy and which ones aren't. I’ve been there myself so I’d like to share with you some food myths you shouldn’t believe no matter what the cost. Avoid these like the plague and instead, just eat smart and move your body to look and feel your best!
1. Less is More
It’s easy to think if you just eat less, you’ll lose more but this is one of the worst food myths you shouldn’t believe. Eating too few calories for your activity levels disrupts your blood sugar and your metabolism, causing your body to store every calorie you eat as fat, not fuel. Instead, aim to eat smaller meals four to five times a day and stop when you’re 80% full.
2. Calories in, Calories out
When food turns into a numbers game, it can cause an unhealthy mindset around food really quickly. Instead of counting away each time you eat, just fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, a little healthy fat, and small amounts of complex carbohydrates if you tolerate them. Remember, it's not about the calories, it's about the quality of the foods you're eating.
3. Total Fat Grams Matter Most
Instead of stressing yourself silly over fat grams on a food label, read the ingredient list. Recognize the items on there? Is sugar listed as one of the main ingredients? What about hydrogenated oils? The ingredient list will always tell you how healthy a food is or is not. Try to choose foods with no more than 5 grams of sugar and always aim for the least processed foods possible.
4. Fruit is Bad
The sugars in fruit might not be the best choice for someone with very sensitive blood sugar levels, however lower sugar fruits like berries, citrus, and green apples are all fruits anyone can enjoy. If your blood sugar levels are fine, then feel free to eat any fruits you enjoy whenever you like. Fruits and vegetables are always the best choice above processed foods, no matter what.
5. Natural Sugars Are Healthy
You're probably seen all the new trendy sweeteners like coconut sugar, agave, coconut nectar, palm sugar (coconut sugar), and brown rice syrup. While these are less processed and lower glycemic choices than white sugar, cane sugar, or evaporated cane syrup, they're still extra sources of calories that affect your sugar cravings and lead to weight gain. If you need a healthy sweetener, choose pure stevia extract, which is calorie-free, sugar-free, and not artificial.
6. Gluten-Free Means Healthy
Gluten-free foods are often thought to be healthier but most processed gluten-free foods have more sugar than their non-gluten counterparts. They may also be low in fiber and just as high in unhealthy fats. If you have a gluten intolerance, then choose whole food sources of gluten-free foods over processed foods like cookies, chips, and low-fiber cereals.
7. Organic Means Fewer Calories
It’s great to buy organic fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat if you eat it, however just because a food on a shelf is organic, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. For example, foods like organic cereal, granola bars, cookies, and nondairy yogurt may be organic but most are also extremely high in sugar, additives, and ingredients you should try to avoid when cleaning up your diet.
The best way to feed your body is give it simple, healthy foods. Don’t fall for marketing ploys, diet myths, and commercial diet products. This won’t only save you stress, but time and money too. What’s the worst food myth you’ve ever heard?