Healthy Cook: Busting resolution diet myths

IN THE NEW YEAR I will … In the new year I won’t … Sound familiar? It’s the new year’s resolution. We make ’em. We break ’em. And we feel guilty about it.

My belt seems to have gotten shorter than it was a couple of years ago. I can resolve to rectify that in a number of ways. All of them include losing a few pounds from around the middle. It shouldn’t be difficult. We hear about all sorts of ways that are guaranteed to work.

MYTH #1 — I’ll skip a meal each day. That sounds good. One day no breakfast. The next day no lunch. Nope. That won’t work. Studies have found that people who skip meals get hungrier than if they had a meal, and eat more to make up for it. Not having 100-calorie yogurt in the morning can mean a 250-calorie doughnut midmorning.

MYTH #2 — I’ll go low-fat. No bacon. No butter. No cheese. Nope. That won’t work. Fat makes food taste good. Your body needs fat and having fat makes the body fat burn off. Instead of low-fat or no-fat, make sure you have the right fats. That might mean reading labels. Avoid saturated and trans-fats. Trans-fats hide in French fries and processed baked goods. If you see Partially Hydrogenated on the label, leave it on the shelf. Do go for good fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. You find them in avocados, salmon, olive oil, and nuts.

MYTH #3 — I’ll eat the foods that burn fat. I’ve read about them in magazines. I could live on cabbage soup, grapefruit, and celery while the pounds melt off. Nope. Doesn’t work. Neither does drinking coffee to lose weight. It might speed up metabolism for a short while, but doesn’t help in the long run.

MYTH #4 — I’ll go to the gym four times a week and work out like crazy. That’ll burn fat. Nope. It takes a lot of exercise to burn calories. Walking or running a mile burns 100 calories if you weigh 125 pounds. Studying for 20 minutes uses up only 35 calories. Playing soccer for 20 minutes is good for 130 calories. It’s all a matter of math. Calories in. Calories out. It takes 3,500 calories to make a pound of person. Eat 3,500 calories and you gain a pound. Burn 3,500 calories and you lose a pound.

MYTH #5 — I’ll stop eating carbs. No bread. No potatoes. No broccoli. (Oh, good.) Nope. There are good carbs and bad carbs. The bad guys are the simple carbs, like sugar, juices, potatoes, white rice, white bread, and pasta. Good carbs are complex. That includes fruit, vegetables, and whole grains — and broccoli. They make you feel full for a longer time than simple carbs, so you eat less and are satisfied longer. Mixing simple carbs and fat is doubly bad because the combination sends out signals to your body to store fat. It causes a big jump in blood sugar, which causes an increase in insulin, and tells your body to store fat in your cells. Read the labels to be sure “whole grain” is right up front on the ingredient list. If you don’t have a calculator, you need one. Look on your phone. There’s probably one there or there’s an app for that. Shoot for a loss of one-half to two pounds a week. Add what you eat and subtract what you burn. There’s a resolution that can help you cook-up some success.

Here’s how to lose a pound a week. Figure out the calories you eat on a normal day. Don’t eat 300 of them. Burn off 200 calories (walk two miles in 40 minutes). That’s 3,500 calories gone and a pound of weight with them.


article by TRENT ROWE, CFHN Food Editor

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