6 big myths and misconceptions in healthy eating

healthy eating myths debunked

When it comes to healthy eating, there are many myths and misconceptions that just won’t die.  Some of them may be silly, while some others may be dangerous, because following them may lead to the results opposite to what you would expect (to the detriment of your health).

The funny thing is that most people who propagate them by trying to “educate” their friends have no idea why they need to follow these “guidelines” – they were just told to, at some point, by another friend, a popular magazine or even doctors, who got stuck in the last century and didn’t care to update their knowledge with the latest research.

Are any of these myths worth believing in?  See for yourself!

Myth # 1: Low-fat food

For many years, caught in the semantics and mislead by mass media (and even some very authoritative sources), people have been equating dietary fat (the fat you eat) to body fat (the fat you store).  The solution, in the age of prevailing heart disease and stroke and total cholesterol hysteria, seemed simple – remove fat from your food and you will be forever lean and healthy.

As it turns out – that’s not quite the case.  In fact, the effect is often the opposite – if you get overzealous, you risk developing quite a few health problems.

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Working out but not losing weight? Here is how to avoid the biggest 10 gym training mistakes

Working out but not losing weight

If you are working out but not losing weight – it’s likely not because your genetics are, somehow, unique.  It’s more likely that you are making one or several of the biggest 10 gym training mistakes.

It’s true that you can lose weight without exercise – but, just as well, you can exercise and not lose weight.  So your training needs to be approached and planned the right way to properly complement your diet.  And it really isn’t rocket science or anything that requires some enormous willpower or anything else out of the ordinary.  The rules of the game are simple – and avoiding the 10 gym training mistakes below is even simpler if you take some time to identify them.

This is a complete waste of time – exercise should be structured and help you reach a specific goal.  Depending on that goal, the specifics may vary, but there at least should be a training protocol.  Of course, you can (and should) still engage in unstructured physical activity for fun (outdoor team games, hiking, climbing, swimming, etc.), but if you are going to the gym to meet a specific goal, make sure you do everything right to reach it.

Properly structured exercise has several benefits:

  1. You eliminate unnecessary time-wasters and reduce your gym time to the minimum, while getting more results;
  2. You actually reach your goals (and faster, too!) – whether those are to lose weight, gain strength or get ripped;
  3. And, as an added benefit, you do both while ensuring maximum safety – which, in turn, ensures consistent progress with no sudden throw backs and loss of traction due to unexpected injury.

So let’s discuss how to exercise properly by looking at the following 10 gym training mistakes people make in the gym that you can easily avoid.

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Skinny Fat: When Losing Weight is Not Good

skinny fat parade

The very first time you hear “skinny fat” – it almost sounds like an oxymoron.  Except – it isn’t.  It actually describes a condition that is quite common, especially among young individuals.  Sure, there is a medical term for it that you might prefer – MONW (Metabolically Obese Normal Weight), but “skinny fat” is a term that, like a harsh wake-up call, shakes you out of the blissful ignorance and actually highlights everything that is wrong with this condition, instead of hiding behind scientifically sounding terms.

So what is “skinny fat”?  Simply put, it describes a body type that is slim and “low-weight”, but with high proportion of body fat to lean muscle tissue.  On the outside, the problem is not very visible (unless you know what to look for) – skinny fat people can fit into normal-size clothes, eat small portions of what they consider “healthy food” and display no obvious signs of obesity you would typically expect – such as large flabs of body fat, big baggy clothes and heavy mass – so everything seems just fine.

But, generally speaking, “obesity” is a condition where a person has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on health – and for the skinny fat, given the relative proportion of such body fat to bone and muscle mass – the definition still holds true.   And even if super skinny people may look healthy, atrophied muscles and low-density bones – coupled with other negative metabolic effects of their chosen lifestyle – significantly elevate the risk of chronic diseases.

Are you skinny fat?  Do you know how to spot the signs?  Let’s see why this is so bad and how to fix this.

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Yoga and the Magnificent Illusion of Fitness and Health

yoga

Remember when we first talked about how women who are trying to pursue better fitness and health goals should actually totally rethink their present routines?  Today’s article is going to be along the same lines.  We are going to talk about something that is near and dear to many females’ hearts – yoga.

Yoga is one of those concepts that have been totally hijacked (along with “cleansing” and “detox” – which yoga often appears coupled with, given that the quest for spiritual cleansing often inevitably leads people onto the path of experimentation related to physical cleansing) and overused to ultimately create a multi-billion dollar industry.  In the US alone, the self-reported amount spent each year on yoga equipment, clothing, yoga classes and accessories is close to a staggering $30 billion.

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Calories and why counting them is not a good idea

counting calories

One of the most frequent questions I get is something along the lines of: “I am only eating 1000 calories per day, which is far less than my calculated number of calories to maintain weight, how come I’m not getting slimmer?!”

It appears that everyone has been conditioned to think in terms of calories all the time, when evaluating nutritional value of foods and effectiveness of exercise.  Food manufacturers are trying to convince us that a specific product is awesome simply because it has zero calories (diet Coke, anyone?) and equipment manufacturers incorporate all sorts of displays to show calories burned during exercise.  Calorie calculators are abundant on the net and apps, programs and even smart kitchen scales exist to let you easily determine – and maintain – your specific daily caloric intake.

Calories have long become a cornerstone of modern nutrition – the concept of a calorie is realtively easy to explain (and even easier to sell).  But it would probably surprise you to learn that this system is completely useless for all practical purposes – counting calories to maintain weight (or calories needed to lose weight) is too unpredictable, hard to adhere to and often detrimental.

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Strength training for women: how to burn fat and look awesome

Today, once again, we are going to talk about strength training. For women the benefit of lifting weights for weight loss don’t seem to be apparent.  After all, many generations of females have been conditioned to resort to aerobic exercise any time they had a goal of trimming off body fat.  Strength training for women isn’t really a mainstream approach, because lifting weights has traditionally been perceived as a masculine activity and reserved for men.

But if you are a woman and consciously avoid free weights – you are missing out on a LOT of benefits.  Burning body fat is just one of them. This is the best kept secret of the fitness industry that we are going to explore.

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Being vegan: facts beyond the marketing hype

Vegan diet

In case you’ve been living in a bubble last 10 years or so – there is a huge vegan movement going on in a lot of countries that is changing the way people eat, dress and even choose regular consumer products.  Veganism is taking the world by storm.  The web is full of vegan recipes, publishers – big and small – produce hundreds of huge vegan cookbooks, vegan restaurants pop up even in the most remote areas and, vegan diets are considered by many the healthiest alternative of the modern day.

The majority of people however, seduced by the widely advertised allure of healthy eating, lack of animal cruelty and other general benefits jump on the bandwagon without fully understanding true impact on health, limitations and consequences – which is very unfortunate, because most sources are not telling you the full story.

What happens to your body when you go vegan, or even vegetarian?  Why do vegan diets continue to be popular and what makes unsuspecting converts believe that they are doing the right thing?  Is there a flip side that you do not know about?

Let’s take a look at a few facts – and you can decide for yourself.

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Debunking 7 health myths and nutritional misconceptions

Throughout our lives, we accumulate a huge baggage of health-related tips and facts that we hear from our parents and grandparents, read in magazines, pick up from marketing materials or get forwarded on the internet by concerned friends and just accept as “common knowledge.”  We rarely stop to think and question them, even though a lot of the tips and advice we take for granted and consider useful may actually be a collection of myths that just never die.

While falling prey to some of these myths may only mean a minor inconvenience, following some other bits of this common advice may have far reaching consequences.  In today’s article we will look at just a few of those pseudo-facts and try to understand what they are really worth.

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