As a trainer and nutritionist, I get asked a lot of questions that start with “what do you think about…” or “I heard that you are supposed to…”. I’d like to answer a few of these common questions and hopefully clear up some confusion and misinformation.
1. Don’t eat after 7 pm.
FICTION – The time of day that you eat doesn’t matter, it’s your overall calorie and macronutrient ratios (protein, fats, carbs) that matters. The reason that this “rule” even came to be is because most of the time the food that people are eating late at night is high calorie junk food. If you are hungry before bed, you should eat! Just make it a small meal of real food. That being said, try not to eat a large meal right before going to bed. This is not because your body will immediately store those calories as fat, because if you are within your calorie limits for the day, it won’t. It’s purely for digestive purposes. If your body is busy digesting food you will have trouble falling asleep. So try to eat that light bedtime snack at least an hour before hitting the pillow.
2. Certain foods should be eaten in combination and other foods should not be eaten together.
FICTION – Usually. There are certain food intolerances and other sensitivities that mean that some people have to be careful here, but for the vast majority this shouldn’t be a worry. For the purposes of general, healthy eating, as long as your overall daily nutrition requirements are being met, it doesn’t matter.
3. Drink tons of water.
FACT – You should be aiming to drink 4 litres of water a day. Our bodies and specifically our muscles are mostly water. If you aren’t drinking enough water then your body will hold on to every little bit it does get and this results in bloating. Drinking ample water allows the body to flush toxins and keeps neurologically and hormonally driven physiological processes (like burning fat) running smoothly. So drink up!
4. If you are trying to lose weight you should avoid certain fruits/vegetables.
FICTION – Most of the time. The issue here is portion control. You should be eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in all colours, but keep in mind that certain produce is higher in sugar and carbs than others. For example, dark leafy greens are very low-calorie and high fiber and these you can eat freely. Carrots, bananas, squash, and mango are examples of higher carb and higher sugar fruits and veggies that should be eaten in smaller portions. Check the sugar and carb content of your produce and eat larger amounts of the lower carb options and smaller amounts of the higher carb options.
5. Coffee is bad for you.
FICTION – This myth has been perpetrated from studies that have now been disproved. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.” In fact, recent studies are now showing that moderate coffee consumption can be good for you!1
6. There is a “perfect diet” out there for you that will be easy and effective, you just have to keep trying different diets until you find it.
FICTION – There is a reason that so few people are successful at losing weight and achieving and maintaining a great body. It’s hard work and it takes a long time! There is no magic bullet. Ask anyone who has a physique that you admire how they got that way and I guarantee they will tell you it took months and YEARS of dedicated training and a diligent clean diet. So don’t buy into the hype. It is absolutely possible to achieve your goals, but you are going to have to be prepared to work for it!
This article was researched and written by Follow @DaraCoxPT
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