Are you eating as well as you think you are? Studies show that most people are not!
Many of us work hard at eating the right foods, avoiding the “bad foods” (which that in and of itself is controversial), read labels, read nutrition books, and try to buy the right vitamins. You feel pretty darn good about the choices that you are making with your food.
Before you hang the medal around your neck, let’s take a closer look! Nutrition experts say most of us think we are eating a lot better than we actually are.
Most people “think” they are making healthy choices, even very educated people. Unfortunately, it becomes very easy to buy into some pretty popular nutrition misconceptions. Some things are down right myths and others are sort of half-truths that ultimately find us making far fewer healthier food choices than we realize.
Here is a list of seven common nutrition mistakes that you may not even realize you are making and ways to avoid them:
Myth 1: “I am making good food choices”
We have all been fooled. We see products labeled “fruit juice” and assume that it contains 100% natural juice. We see “vegetable soup” on a label and assume that is a healthy food item. We pick multi-grain bread out of the multitude of choices in the bread aisle and assume we are making a healthy choice. The labeling makes you think that you are choosing healthy products.
If a label says “multi-grain bread,” it sounds pretty healthy, right? However, unless that bread actually contains at least four grams of dietary fiber, it is really white bread with a brown coat. It is no different. It has no valuable “health” properties. Many of the “whole wheat breads” these days are just that – brown white bread!
Another common area of misconception is with “granola bars.” How many times have you thought you were eating a healthy, fiber-containing bar, only to realize it is about the equivalent of a candy bar! It’s all marketing! These labels describe a product that promotes health, yet they are glorified candy bars with huge amounts of sugar, very little protein, and no fiber at all.
Many people also think that eating canned vegetable soup or canned vegetables for that matter is just as healthy as eating the fresh vegetable. Most canned soups are completely devoid of nutrients due to the processing. Canned vegetables contain the least amount of nutrients when you compare fresh, to frozen, to canned. Fresh is always better. Soup made from scratch with fresh vegetables is much better than canned soup. However, don’t cook them until they are unrecognizable! Then you are creating a product similar to the canned soup.
Another common mistake: Substituting fruit juices for whole fruits.
Are fruit juices healthier than soda? Yes. But they are also concentrated sources of sugar that don't give you anywhere near the same level of nutrients and/or fiber that you get from whole fruits. In addition to that, if you are trying to lose weight, you won't get the same sense of fullness from a glass of juice that you will from a piece of fruit due to the lost fiber content. Instead, you'll just take in a lot of calories, yet still feel hungry. In addition to that, many of the products that are labeled “juice” actually only contain 10% or less actual fruit juice. So in reality, you are just getting sugary, chemical water! Who wants that?
Solution: Whenever possible, eat whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods. The more you eat of these types of foods, the better you will feel. We recently traveled to another part of the country on a medical missionary trip. Upon returning, we both experienced indigestion, fatigue, and constipation because we were being fed processed, chemical-containing, non-natural food. Our bodies are not used to it and react strongly against it when we eat it.
When buying packaged foods, make sure to take some time to read labels and select products that contain real food, not chemicals, dyes, sugars, and additives.
Don't just assume a product is healthy, even if you are shopping in a “healthy grocery store” or in the health food section of a regular grocery store. You've got to read the labels!
Myth #2: All carbs are bad!
Many Americans are losing weight by following a low carbohydrate, high protein diet. Many are nearly completely eliminating carbohydrates from their eating plans. But before you jump on the low-carb bandwagon, there are a few things should know.
Some carbs are good, and some that are less good, but your brain and body must have some carbohydrates every day. That being said, you know that we advocate figuring out your Metabolic Type in order to determine what diet is best for you. Some people feel good and lose weight on a high protein, low carb diet, but others do not. Do not just assume that because your friend lost a lot of weight on this diet that it will be beneficial to you too.
Moreover, because complex carbohydrates (those rich in whole grains and fiber) keep you feeling full longer, they also help you to eat less -- and lose more! They also keep your bowels regular! And we all know that it is no fun to be constipated!
Also realize that you cannot just eat the “good carbs” ad lib in any amount. Overeating, eating of the good foods, will produce weight gain.
With the dreaded low-fat phase, people were flocking to fat-free products like mad. They figured that if a meal or food item contained no fat, it had no calories, and that therefore you could eat as much as desired. Since the onset of the low-fat craze America has actually gotten fatter! Similarly, people have come to believe that a low carb food can be eaten in infinite quantities without gaining weight, and that is simply not true. Eat enough of anything, and you'll gain weight.
The solution: Do not cut any food group completely out of your diet, including carbohydrates. Learn what balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat is best for your individual body type by getting Metabolic Typing. You’ll find a lot more information on this topic in our upcoming book, The Hauser Diet: A Fresh Look at Healthy Living.
Myth #3: I don’t eat too much.
Whether you're filling your plate with low-fat, low-carb, or even healthy, nutritionally balanced foods, overestimating how much food your body needs is among the most common mistakes. We ourselves fight with this every day. This is especially difficult for people who love food and the whole eating experience.
Many people believe they should feel not just satisfied after a meal, but stuffed. Many of us have lost touch with the sensation of having had enough food. We can’t tell you how many times we leave the table thinking, “boy, I know I just ate too much…why did I do that?” Give yourself some time to digest your food and produce the feeling of satiety (fullness). Don’t rush through your meals.
Also remember, just because you may be making good food choices and eating foods that are part of your diet doesn’t mean you can eat them in huge quantities and not gain weight. You must watch your portions. This is especially true as we age. Our metabolic rates slow down so that we are unable to continue to eat the same amount of food as we once did. Adding in a regular exercise program will help balance that out.
The solution: Remain conscious of portion sizes. Have a visit with someone like Nicole who can show you just exactly what standard portions are. Many of us have no idea what the amounts should look like. Do not use restaurant portions as your guide -- they super-size everything!
Myth #4: I only need to eat one meal per day
If you don't eat at regular intervals throughout the day, you risk disrupting your blood sugar and insulin levels, which in the end can promote fat storage and lower your metabolism, both of which lead to weight gain, diabetes, and a myriad of other health problems. Remember, breakfast is called breakfast for a reason. It is the meal that breaks the “fast” that occurred during sleep. You need to jump start your metabolism with some energy in the form of food!
The solution: Eat something every four hours and never let yourself "starve" from one meal to the next. It will only cause you to overeat at the next meal.
Myth #5: I take supplements therefore I don’t need to worry about my diet
People tend to forget that a vitamin is a supplement -- it's meant to complement your diet, not act as a stand-in for the foods you don't eat. Every vitamin and mineral and phytochemical in our body works in concert with one another, and it's easy to knock that balance off if you are taking concentrated doses of single nutrients, or even groups of nutrients.
Most Americans to not get enough nutrients from their foods because they are consuming nutrient-poor foods. A healthy eating plan that utilizes organic, whole foods will provide you with most of the nutrients you need for health maintenance. We do recommend a nutritional supplement program for disease prevention.
The solution: We recommend that you consult with a natural medicine physician before you start supplementing your diet with individual nutrients, herbs, or other vitamins. These vitamins should be taken in the proper dose and form. Many bad vitamins exist out there. You need pharmaceutical grade, pure vitamins and herbs from a reputable company.
Myth #6: I don’t need to exercise
Many people believe that nutrition is all about food. However, we are concerned not only about the foods that are put in the body, but how well the body uses the food ingested. This is where regular exercise plays a role.Without adequate exercise, you cannot maintain a high enough metabolic rate to burn your food efficiently. Dieting can't do that for you; foods alone can't do that for you. Exercise is the only way to achieve it.
The solution: Make exercise a regular part of your life. Be realistic, but make a plan. It will help you become more disciplined. If you miss your routine in the morning, don't wait until the next day and try to do twice as much. Instead, try to fit in some exercise -- even if it's just a little bit -- every day. Build up your endurance each week by adding more than what you did the prior week.
Myth #7: I believe everything I read about nutrition and weight loss.
Take caution when you are reading books, articles, e-newsletters etc. Just because someone writes a diet book or a nutrition guide does not mean they are an expert.
If you're turning to a book for nutritional guidance look at author's credentials and ask yourself, “Is this person a dietitian or a physician or someone who would have knowledge on this topic? Or are you buying this book because it's written by a celebrity who you think looks good? These people may have some good things to say about what worked for them. But be careful.
The solution: Even if an "expert" is behind your nutrition or diet plan, it's important to make sure the plan is based on solid research and/or clinical experience. Remember there is no one diet or nutrition plan that is right for every person!