Many of us thought we knew everything about nutrition. We have downloaded the top fitness and healthy food apps, we follow the fitness gurus on Instagram, we seek inspirations from the Deepika Padukones and Priyanka Chopras of the world and we proudly claim we ‘watch what we eat’. However, is that enough?
Let’s admit it. The subject of nutrition, fitness and healthy eating (all go hand in hand by the way!) is like a vast ocean and the deeper you plunge, the more you discover. So we have made the task simpler for you to demystify the concept, busts some myths, give simple solutions to complex problems and show how you can make your life healthier.
Shocking Truths About Nutrition & Fitness
To learn more about fitness, you need to unlearn certain things. Here are some surprising facts about your body that you need to know…
• Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky
This one is especially meant for women. Go ahead with your weights, lifting will increase your metabolism, help better fat burn and tone your body.
• Slimming teas or skinny teas will NOT make you skinny
Do not fall for those ads. It just makes you lose the water weight temporarily with all the diuretics and laxatives added to it. And yes, water is weight too.
• Cutting out gluten will NOT make you lose weight
Gluten itself does not make you fat, but indulging in gluten-containing foods like breads and pastas means indulging in extra calories which makes you fat.
• Eating fat free is NOT better
Just because a product is labeled ‘fat-free’ or ‘low-fat’ doesn’t mean it’s healthier or even lower in calories. In fact, most low-fat or fat-free foods will have sugar and chemicals to make up for the loss in taste.
• Drinking milk daily will NOT protect your bones
Maintaining bone health is far more complicated than just getting calcium from milk . Other nutrients are also essential, such as vitamins K and D and not to forget, lifestyle factors , physical activity, sun exposure, smoking, and alcohol consumption, all contribute to bone health. Unfortunately, cow’s milk contains hormones, antibiotics and cholesterol. We are better off getting calcium from plants like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower which have more calcium, vitamin K, fiber and other nutrients. Other great options include nuts and seeds.
Bust Those Food Myths
A lot of nutrition problems arise because of lack of information. Remove some of these most common misconceptions about food before embarking on any new diet plan.
• Eating carbs will make me fat
Simple carbs, found in sugary foods and drinks and white bread will raise the blood sugar levels in a hurry, causing an insulin spike to mitigate the rise in blood sugar. Over a period of time these spikes and drops decrease insulin sensitivity and may result in diabetes. Complex carbs on the other hand, provide slow, sustained release of energy to fuel you through long days and strenuous workouts. Good sources are sweet potatoes, brown rice and ragi. So don’t shy away from carbs, but eat the right ones at the right time and in the right amount.
• No cheating ever! If I am on a diet I cannot eat my favorite foods at all.
Guys! Relax your diet rules. You will be more likely to stick to it in the long term. But on the technical side, one cheat day a week actually boosts the metabolism by upping leptin production the hormone responsible for maintaining our energy balance.
• Oats is the healthiest breakfast
Okay, it is, but not the instant kind with flavors and sugar in the pack. Steel cut oats, the one that takes time and is cooked slowly and sweetened yourself with some fruits is the best one. Most instant oats are filled with sugar, creaming agents and loads of chemical additives to make them more palatable and convenient in a pouch. They do not have the same nutritional benefits as the slow cooked ones.
• I’m in India, I need not worry about vitamin D.
Surprisingly most of us we see are deficient in Vitamin D, and the primary reason is we spend a lot of time indoors. Low vitamin D levels can result in slow metabolism and the feeling of tiredness. Get your levels tested.
• Coffee is bad for you.
Black Coffee is full of antioxidants. It is a stimulant that can amp up your metabolism and prevent cell damage. Skip the milk, cream, sugar and the fake sweeteners and don’t exceed more than 2 to 3 cups.
Ingredient of the week: Turmeric
If you can lay your hands on fresh turmeric, yes the one that looks like ginger, make tea with it and benefit from its healing powers. It can relieve aches and pains, colds, depression, improve brain health and memory and its antibacterial property clears skin. Trust me, the list just goes on.
It’s also great for all athletes and gym goers as exercise causes oxidative stress, producing free radicals which can damage cells while lifting weights causes inflammation. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant so it helps counteract this and protect your body.
Boil fresh turmeric in water with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, cloves, ginger and lemon and sip on!