Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Calorie Myths

I was sent this article for my "Daily Fuel" from the Diabetic Nutrition Lounge. I loved it so much I couldn't help but post it. It's good to know for everyone! Just some myths about calories and the straight facts that we all should know.

Myth: Grapefruit burns calories.

Fact: Digestion of any food requires a small amount of energy. But no food, nor food component, has any special ability to "melt away" body fat.

Myth: Margarine has fewer calories than butter.

Fact: Regular stick margarine and butter contain the same number of calories, about 36 calories per teaspoon. For a spread with fewer calories, try jelly or jam with 16 calories per teaspoon.

Myth: A rich, fudge brownie, before bedtime, is more fattening than the same brownie eaten for lunch.

Fact: The clock doesn't make a difference. No matter when they're eaten, calories seem to have the same effect in the body. Too many can add up to extra body fat. Timing has no direct effect on how your body uses the calories. Evidence does suggest that eating regular meals, especially breakfast, helps to reduce fat intake and minimize impulsive snacking, which can add up to excess calories over the course of a day.

Myth: Toasting bread reduces its calorie content.

Fact: That's nothing more than wishful thinking. Toasting doesn't "burn-off" any calories, it just changes the flavor and texture a bit.

Myth: Potatoes and bread are fattening.

Fact: By themselves, they're not high in calories, 88 calories for a medium (4-ounce) potato and 70 calories for an average size slice of bread. Both potatoes and bread are great sources of complex carbohydrates. However, high-fat toppings or spreads can add up to excess calories. Consider the calories in one tablespoon: sour cream (30 calories), butter or margarine (100 calories), and regular mayonnaise (100 calories).

Myth: Extra protein makes you strong.

Fact: The body has tremendous reserves and is very adaptive. The idea that you have to eat specified foods in specified amounts every day to maintain performance is unsound. You do not need to starve yourself to lose weight. When we are active, our body uses its own fat and carbohydrate for fuel. A diet that includes animal and vegetable protein supplies all the body needs to replenish its stores. There is no super diet for super performance. Besides, high protein diet often lack key nutrients found in carbohydrate foods. You need every kind of food. Avoiding any kind of food is just as wrong as ingesting food supplements.

Myth: Exercise makes you eat more. Often people shy away from doing exercise using this excuse.

Fact: However, research has shown that after 20 minutes of exercise people ate no more than those who had done nothing. The only difference was that those who had exercised thought the food tasted better.