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Kernels of Truth

So you've decided to start eating healthier. Great. But before you stock up on those gluten-free snacks or begin a cleanse, make sure you separate fact from fiction.

Article
Ryann Gordon
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
December 1, 2016

Living a healthy lifestyle is a common goal for most people, most certainly in this modern age where we understand the real-life consequences of the unhealthy choices many of us make. But it’s not always easy figuring out what and how to eat, especially considering all the different guidance we’re inundated with from self-help gurus, doctors, infomercials and our friends.

How many calories? How many carbs? Where did it come from? Is it gluten- free? Dairy free? Non-GMO? What about MSG? And don’t get us started on animal byproducts.

We hate on food chains that can’t track the life and livelihood of the chicken or cow we’re going to town on, and yet we sometimes blindly trust in those who promise the legitimacy of their meat. Even McDonald’s, long-believed to be perhaps the lowest grade of food in the world, has retained their fast-food superiority by transitioning toward a healthier menu of food containing less GMOs and preservatives and only antibiotic/hormone-free meat.

We should all aim to be healthy by providing our body with all the essential nutrients while also monitoring our diet, eating more fresh and less processed foods, limiting our intake of preservatives and staying active along the way. But before you drop an entire food group from your diet strictly for weight loss, make sure that you check the facts to see what that change is actually going to do to your body.

Raw Food Only
It has been said that raw foods are essential to providing vital plant enzymes necessary to the diet. Don’t turn off the grill just yet though, because although eating foods at 118 degrees or higher inactivates plant enzymes, studies have found that these enzymes are already doomed to be denatured (deactivated) the moment they hit our stomachs.

No More Fats
People have hated on fats since the beginning of food science, but some fats are good for you. Unsaturated fats and those found in whole foods like milk, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil are actually beneficial to your diet and help you feel full for longer than other saturated foods.

Carbs are Evil
Carbohydrates are often eliminated from diets, like the Atkins Diet, because they provide our main, initial energy source and force our bodies to burn fat when not consumed. However, carb elimination will make you feel sick and sluggish for a couple of days and eventually quit working as a fat burner. Stick to whole grains and wheat over sugar carbs though.

Food Intolerances Affect Your Weight
According to studies done at UCLA, the belief that gluten and dairy intolerances cause weight gain is illogical and false. Because food allergies and intolerances limit us from processing certain foods in our bodies, this would mean we should be losing weight from the foods we can’t process, not gaining.

Gluten, the Enemy
Avoiding gluten, despite the rave it has caused in the dieting world, can actually be damaging to your health and leave you deficient in certain vitamins and nutrients. Although wheat allergies, gluten intolerances and Celiac disease are all real, they have also become cultural trends of a sort. And thanks to recent studies in a paper published in The Journal of Pediatrics by Dr. Norelle Reilly, gluten is officially our friend again.

MSG is Always a No-Go
MSG has taken a hard hit in recent years, most certainly among fast foods. And although MSG is not a chemical to eat in every meal, it’s mostly just a marker for high-processed foods. Small amounts of MSG, though, will not harm your health or physique.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Worse than Sugar
While high fructose corn syrup is far from good for your health, it has been given a bad rap as being much worse than real sugar. Sucrose (sugar) and HFCS are actually not much different in composition and how they impact your health. The environment, on the other hand, could stand for more regular sugar.

Never Eat Past 9 P.M.
Many of us believe that eating after a certain time, typically 9 p.m. or later, is worse for us than eating early when we are moving and our digestive tract is working consistently. But Dr. John Foreyt at the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor says, “Calories are calories are calories” — what matters is the total amount you eat. Bring on the late-night cereal.

Eat Mini-Meals Throughout the Day
When we eat, our metabolism gets revved slightly to burn the food we ate. And although this may seem like a for-sure way to lose weight, its not. The calorie difference between eating several small meals rather than three bigger ones is so small, it doesn't help you burn the fat.

Fast, Fast, Fast Some More
Fasting has been regarded as a beneficial method of cleansing toxins from our bodies. Luckily, our bodies have an elegantly designed system for doing this on its own — the filtration system. Leave it to your liver, kidneys and spleen to do the cleansing, not a day of starving yourself.