Dangerous Dieting Myths

healthyfoodThe “it” diet is constantly changing from one crazy plan to another. Rather than following the next ineffective trend, eat the foods you know are good for you and try to avoid the bad! Taking on a completely new diet plan without consulting your doctor first or doing the proper research could have disastrous effects on your body. Whether or not you can maintain a healthy lifestyle all the time, do not try these diets cold turkey for the purpose of losing weight because they can put your health at risk.

Gluten-Free

Gluten sensitivities and allergies are very serious conditions; you don’t realize the prevalence of gluten in the average person’s daily diet until you discover that you can’t digest it. A gluten-free diet should not be used as a way to lose weight. Cutting out gluten by choice eliminates folate, a B-vitamin found in many foods, and increases the presence of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid associated with blood clots. Your risk of heart attack can increase by 200% if your homocysteine levels are too high!

Dairy Free

You might not like drinking milk as an adult, but dairy is a necessary component of our daily diet. Unless you are lactose intolerant, dairy should not be completely cut out because you will lose a vital source of calcium and Vitamin D. The presence of Vitamin D in your system has been shown to protect against certain diseases, like cancer. While you can replace milk with orange juice to get your Vitamin D, other dairy products like cheese and yogurt supply the body with a bunch of nutrients that you won’t find in a replacement snack.

Low- or No-Carb

The myth that all carbs are bad for you must be debunked! Although many of the foods that we enjoy but know are bad for us are carb-based, your body still needs them. Without them, your fiber levels decrease and you can lack energy. There are good and bad carbs – simple carbs, like the ones found in soft drinks, candy, pasta and potatoes should be limited. The complex carbs are what your body needs: whole grains, beans, green vegetables and fruits. The good carbs deliver fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body craves to be energized.

Paleo

In 2013, the Paleo diet was the most Googled diet of the year and continues to be popular. The supporters rave that paleo eliminates processed foods and sustains weight loss. While this may be true, there are real dangers that you don’t often hear about. The Paleo diet is also known as the “caveman diet,” designed to be like ancient times. Well, we don’t live in ancient times anymore! The reason that we don’t eat like cavemen anymore is because their diet lacked nutrients, like calcium and Vitamin D, that are essential to our bone health.

Other Untruths

General rules, like no eating after 7 p.m., are no crime to break. We may think that to deter weight gain, we must eat dinner before a certain time, but there are other countries around the world who eat dinner at 10 p.m. and their citizens weigh less than most Americans! Plus, everyone has a different schedule. If you’re a nurse and have to work a night shift, don’t feel that you have to deprive yourself of food at 3 a.m. when you’ll be asleep at dinnertime!

Another potentially dangerous health habit is the argument that drinking a glass of red wine is the equivalent of one hour at the gym for your body. Other studies show that women who drink at least one alcoholic drink a day are more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t drink; something to consider before you invest in a wine company!

Lastly, you don’t have to beat yourself up for having seven glasses of water in a day instead of eight. The “magic number” of eight glasses has been around for ages. While you should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, a person’s health is no better than anyone else’s solely based on the amount of water she drinks. Also, remember that many foods have water content as well, so that’s another way to contribute to your daily intake.

Regardless of whether you believe these myths or not, working out at North Haven Health & Racquet is a great start to your fitness journey to a healthier lifestyle. Stop by our facility today to learn more about the fun classes we offer.