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3 Food Myths About Weight Loss

3 Food Myths About Weight Loss

Humans and other animals have been genetically designed to respond to food. When I was young, medical science assumed food was just the sum of its calories. According to diet gurus, you could lose weight eating nothing but ice cream sodas as long as you counted your calories properly.

Today we know that food is information for our bodies. Food turns DNA switches on and off and either makes us healthy and slim or fat and sick. According to Dr. Hyman, author of The UltraSimple Diet program I’m starting in a couple of days, if you’re fat you’re sick and if you’re sick you’re fat. It’s a 1:1 correlation.

Before you can lose weight, you have to improve your health. Period.

How do you improve your health? By eating the right foods — real, whole foods unadulterated by chemical pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or other man-made “ingredients.”

Here are just a few of the weight loss myths we’ve all been told. I’ll post more of these Food Myths from time to time.

Myth 1: To lose weight, you have to reduce your dietary fats.

Since the country went on its low-fat craze during the 1990’s, we’ve become more obese than ever, and the incidence of diabetes is through the roof.

Actually, fat is vital to the healthy functioning of our brains and internal organs and many of us need more fat in our diets — but it has to be healty, undamaged fat. No trans fats, no fats damaged in processing. It’s not saturated fat that makes us sick, it’s damaged fats.

You find hydrogenated fats in most baked goods — pies, cakes, cookies, breads and the like. Most brands of peanut butter and all margarines or other fake butters rely on hydrogenated fats for consistency.

Myth 2: The biggest culprit is sugar, so switch to sugar substitutes

Yes, sugar is a big player in the obesity epidemic. The average American consumes over 156 pounds of sugar each year — compared to a measly one pound a year 100 years ago.

Sugar does terrible things to your body. No question about it. So you should switch to aspartame, sucralose or other substitutes, right?

Wrong! Man-made sugar substitutes are much worse for you than sugar. Serious side effects include

  • brain tumors
  • multiple sclerosis
  • epilepsy
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s
  • mental retardation
  • lymphoma
  • birth defects
  • fibromyalgia
  • diabetes

Less serious side effects include headaches or migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain. And those are just some of the side effects from aspartame (brand names NutraSweet, Equal).

Another popular sugar substitute is sucralose (brand name Splenda). It’s made from sugar, to which they add chlorine. Oh, yum! It also contains lead, arsenic and methanol in addition to two compounds of chlorine.

In animal tests sucralose created the following:

  • shrunken thymus glands
  • enlarged liver and kidneys
  • decreased red blood cell count
  • aborted pregnancies
  • low-weight fetuses
  • diarrhea

Myth 3: If You Eat a Healthy Diet, You Don’t Need Supplements

Oh, boy, don’t get me started.

Theoretically, this is true. But how possible — let alone likely — is it that you are able to eat a diet that provides all the nutrients your body requries to maintain, heal and grow?

Not very — unless you’re consuming thousands more calories per day than your body can handle.

First rule of farming: the crop can’t contain something that wasn’t in the soil to begin with. Our food growing practices are terrible and our soils are so depleted of nutrients that crops today don’t contain as many nutrients as they used to. A recent study indicated, for example, that spinach grown 50 years ago contained 40 times more iron than today’s spinach.

And foods grown 50 years ago were less nutrient-rich than foods grown 50 years before that. I remember when I was in college reading one of pioneer nutritionist Adele Davis’ books that contained a chapter titled, “Which Apricot? Grown Where?” to point out that the food on your plate might not contain what the books said it should.

Does this mean you should rely on supplements instead of food for your basic nutritional needs? Not at all. You just need to be realistic. Know what your body needs, and supplement where appropriate.

More food myths to come. . .

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