Tag Archives: calories

4 things you need to UN-learn about nutrition

Are you believing one of these four diet myths

This is a shared post from my sister site, Start Where You Are Today.

Researchers are learning new things about diet and nutrition that are turning the tables on some of the advice we’ve been hearing so long, we believe them as hard cold facts. Are you believing one or more of them?

Unlearn this: What I eat influences my body chemistry.

Learn this: This one is not really new news, but I think it’s a core truth that we don’t really comprehend: What you eat doesn’t just affect your body: it literally becomes your body chemistry! And your body tissue, bone, blood, muscles, brain, hormones, etc. And the fuel you run on. The food you eat is disassembled in your digestive system, then reassembled to make you. This is why what you eat is so important!


Learn more: Want it all spelled out scientifically? Here’s an 11-minute video from Kahn Academy, explaining the basics of metabolism:

.

Unlearn these: Eating fat is what makes you fat. Low fat = healthy. Eliminate as much fat as possible from your diet. Saturated fat is especially bad.

Learn this: Your body needs fat! It uses fat from your diet for energy, for making cells and other important parts of your body, and yes, some of it is stored as fat. (However, carbs are also stored as fat!)

Also, most grocery store products labeled “Low Fat!” have amped up sugar and other unhealthy carbs to compensate for the lost fat; definitely not a healthy move!

Learn more: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which concludes that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.”

.

Unlearn this: Eating high cholesterol foods is bad for your health. 

Learn this: New news, as of Feb. 2015 — “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel — The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food.” While about one quarter of people may be cholesterol-sensitive, for most of us, medicine is now saying it’s not the problem we once believed.

So how did we get convinced that cholesterol was so bad? Some misunderstandings about how body cholesterol gets made, and its exact role in our circulatory system. Oh, and the fact that in one early, influential study, the researchers used rabbits. Turns out, rabbits are unusually vulnerable to a high cholesterol diet!

To learn more: The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol,Washington Post

.

Unlearn this: It’s all about calories in, calories out.

Learn this: How nutrition affects our health is incredibly complex, so it’s too simplistic to say it’s all about one thing. But if it were, it wouldn’t be about calories in/calories out! And it would be definitely be more about the content of your diet. Over the long term, you will lose more weight, keep it off, and be healthier eating 1700 calories a day of whole, nutrient-dense foods than you will on 1200 factory-manufactured, “low fat” calories a day. And it will be easier, because you’ll be more satisfied!

To learn more: Four Biggest Myths About Calories, CBS

What percentage of daily calories should come from fat?

olive-oil-bottle-640



Excerpt from a Q & A with Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health and Amy Myrdal Miller, M.S., R.D. of The Culinary Institute of America. 

Do I need to watch my percentage of calories from fat?

Willett: No. When you cook or read nutrition labels, don’t fixate on fat percentages. As long as you use healthy fats, and you keep your portion sizes modest, it doesn’t matter if your dish or meal has 30 percent, 40 percent, or more of its calories from fat. The same is true for your overall diet: Don’t worry about the percentage of calories from fat. Focus on choosing foods with healthy fats.

(Now, if experts could only agree on what is and isn’t a healthy fat! Most everyone agrees that olive oil is healthy, and all agree that trans fats are nothing but bad. However, butter, cream, lard, beef fat, coconut oil, and peanut oil are all hotly debated.)

photo credit: USDAgov via photopin cc

Apology from a former weight loss consultant

weight-loss-trap-550x350
Excerpts from An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients, by Iris Higgins:
I’m sorry because I put you on a 1,200 calorie diet and told you that was healthy. I’m sorry because when you were running 5x a week, I encouraged you to switch from a 1,200 calorie diet to a 1,500 calorie diet, instead of telling you that you should be eating a hell of a lot more than that. I’m sorry because you were breastfeeding and there’s no way eating those 1,700 calories a day could have been enough for both you and your baby….
I’m sorry because it’s only years later that I realize just how unhealthy a 1,200 calorie diet was. I stayed on a 1,200-1,500 calorie diet for years, so I have the proof in myself. Thyroid issues, mood swings, depression, headaches… 
I’m sorry because you were in high school and an athlete, and I pray that you weren’t screwed up by that 1,500 calorie diet. Seriously, world? Seriously? A teenage girl walks in with no visible body fat and lots of muscle tone, tells you she’s a runner and is happy with her weight… but her mother says she’s fat and has to lose weight and so we help her do just that. As an individual, as women, as a company… as a nation, we don’t stand up for that girl? What is wrong with us?…
Because I’ve been played for years, and so have you, and inadvertently, I fed into the lies you’ve been told your whole life. The lies that say that being healthy means nothing unless you are also thin. The lies that say that you are never enough, that your body is not a beautiful work of art, but rather a piece of clay to be molded by society’s norms until it becomes a certain type of sculpture.
I owe you an apology, my former client and now friend, who I helped to lose too much weight. Who I watched gain the weight back, plus some. Because that’s what happens when you put someone on a 1,200 calorie diet. But I didn’t know. If you’re reading this, then I want you to know that you have always been beautiful. And that all these fad diets are crap meant to screw with your metabolism so that you have to keep buying into them. I think now that I was a really good weight loss consultant. Because I did exactly what the company wanted (but would never dare say). I helped you lose weight and then gain it back, so that you thought we were the solution and you were the failure. You became a repeat client and we kept you in the game. I guess I did my job really well.
And now I wonder, did I do more harm than good?…
I am sorry because many of you walked in healthy and walked out with disordered eating, disordered body image, and the feeling that you were a “failure.” None of you ever failed. Ever. I failed you. The weight loss company failed you. Our society is failing you.
Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.

photo credit: madamepsychosis via photopin cc

The best low carb salads at Panera

panera-chopped-chicken-cobb-avocado

I love Panera! Even though I rarely get bagels or sweets there any more, I love their salads and appreciate the fact that they provide some nutrition info right up front. The calories are listed right on the menu. Pretty bold!

However, I don’t believe that counting calories is all that useful. (Here’s why, at least partially.) So I went to Panera’s website and downloaded the nutrition info and did a little spreadsheet work. If you’re focusing on controlling diabetes and/or eating low carb (South Beach, etc.), a useful thing to consider is the protein to carb ratio. That is, are there more protein than carbs, and in what proportion?

Based on my personal study into food’s effect on insulin and blood sugar, my approach to healthy eating is to try to keep an approximate balance between carbs and protein. More protein than carbs is okay; more carbs than protein is not. So in my protein-to-carbs (P-to-C) approach, I’m looking for a ration that 1 or higher.

Here’s an example: If your “protein bar” has 10 grams of protein, but 30 grams of carbs, it has a  P-to-C  ratio of 0.33 — not good! However, a spoonful of sugar-free peanut butter has 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs; a ratio of 1.25 — much better!

I looked at all of Panera’s whole salads, including the dressing. Here are their four lowest-carb salads, with their respective ratios.

ALL of the other salads on their menu are below 1.0.

Of course, there’s more to healthy eating than carbs and protein, but as I said, if you’re looking to control your blood sugar (glucose) or trying to lose weight by watching carbs, these are some important numbers to know.

I am not employed by or affiliated with Panera Bread, and this is not a sponsored post. I am not a medical or nutrition expert; just someone who cares about my health enough to dig for the facts.