False news is a popular topic these days, but it’s really nothing new. We’ve been inundated with “information” that is so far from accurate about so many things, and among them, diet and nutrition just might be the most myth-filled subject of all. Here are some truths to help you make healthy decisions:
Myth: Grain products such as bread, pasta, and rice are fattening. I should avoid them when trying to lose weight.
Fact: A grain product is any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples include brown rice and whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.
People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet may lower their chances of developing some chronic diseases. Government dietary guidelines advise making half your grains whole grains. For example, choose 100 percent whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, and brown rice instead of white rice.
Myth: “Low-fat” or “fat-free” means no calories.
Fact: A serving of low-fat or fat-free food may be lower in calories than a serving of the full-fat product, but many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods—or even more calories. These foods may contain added flour, salt, starch, or sugar to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These items add calories.
Myth: Eating healthy food costs too much.
Fact: Eating better does not have to cost a lot of money. Many people think that fresh foods are healthier than canned or frozen ones. For example, some people think that fresh spinach is better for you than frozen or canned. However, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables provide as many nutrients as fresh ones, at a lower cost. Healthy options include low-salt canned veggies and fruit canned in its own juice or water-packed. Remember to rinse canned veggies to remove excess salt. Also, some canned seafood, like tuna, is easy to keep on the shelf, healthy, and low-cost. Canned, dried, or frozen beans, lentils, and peas are also healthy sources of protein that are easy on the wallet.
The bottom line: To lose weight, reduce the number of calories you take in and increase the amount of physical activity you do each day. Create and follow a healthy eating plan that replaces less healthy options with a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and low-fat dairy:
- Eat a mix of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
- Limit added sugars, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat.
- Eat low-fat protein: beans, eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts, and poultry.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for treatment for obesity and the health issues related to it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team can help you find the right treatment for you.