The 7 Biggest Diet Myths
We’re bringing back this fabulous dieting-myths article for all you new Bettys who didn’t see it the first time!
Thanks to the Internet, there’s a ton of nutrition information available. Unfortunately, some of it comes from unqualified people writing about their own theories or companies pushing their products. It’s no surprise, then, that misinformation is repeated as often as it is – and that it often comes to be taken as truth. BettyConfidential went to Keri Gans, MS, RD, a highly-regarded registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, to help set the facts straight once and for all.
1. Myth: White foods offer little nutritional value
Truth: Many white foods are nutrient-dense. White potatoes, white asparagus, cauliflower, white cranberries, white beans, and white onions are just a few of the foods that offer a variety of powerful health-promoting nutrients. For instance, raw cauliflower beats raw tomatoes for antioxidant content. But Gans suggests that if foods become “white” due to processing—for example, when whole grains are stripped of their naturally nutritious, fiber-containing bran and germ in order to become “white” grain foods–their overall health value decreases. So stick to plant foods that are naturally white.
2. Myth: Celery has negative calories
Truth: No food has negative calories. The theory of negative calories is that you expend more calories chewing very low-calorie foods, like celery, than the food actually has. Gans cautions, “‘Negative’ calories is a myth and does not actually exist.” However, celery can aid in weight loss. One large stalk, for instance, provides only 10 calories. Additionally, it provides fiber and has a very high water content (95% of total weight). That can boost a feeling of fullness, which can then play a role in weight loss. But the actual activity of chewing most foods may burn only about five calories in an hour. Any way you slice it, though, the positive news is that munching celery or any other raw veggie can help you get to, and keep, a healthy weight.
3. Myth: Drinking diet soda will help you lose weight
Truth: Don’t we all wish it was that easy? However, Gans does give us a little hope. She says, “Drinking diet soda will only help you lose weight if you are drinking it in place of regular soda and don’t at the same time increase your calories.” As for the research, it’s been a mixed bag of good and bad news related to diet sodas, artificial sweeteners that contain chemicals, and weight. But a convincing study recently published in the International Journal of Obesity finds that drinking sugar-free beverages sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners may increase dietary restraint. Luckily there are diet and reduced-calorie sodas, soon to be available, that are made with natural low-calorie sweeteners like Truvia so you can try this advice … naturally.