5 Common Nutrition Mistakes

Magazine advertisements.  Infomercials.  Health food stores. Celebrity testimonials. Nutrition messages are everywhere. Often times it is difficult to decipher what is fact from fiction. Here are some common nutrition myths, mistakes and misconceptions solved for you.
1.  Skipping breakfast is a good idea to save calories for weight loss.
FALSE. Breakfast is one of the most important meals for your metabolism.  Metabolism is the rate at which you burn calories or energy from food.  When breakfast is skipped, your body will actually begin to conserve the calories and shifts into “starvation mode” where the metabolic rate is decreased.  Always remember to eat breakfast, ideally within 1 – 2 hours of waking.
2.  Butter is a better choice than margarine.
FALSE. Butter is highly concentrated in saturated fat, the main dietary cause of high cholesterol.  Margarine formerly was a source of trans fats, however many food companies have removed trans fats from their products since it was mandated to be on the food label in January of 2006. Better still, many choices are reduced in fat and calories. Choose soft margarine in tubs, ideally the light versions, and be sure they are trans-fat-free.
3.  Eating carbohydrates will make you fat.
FALSE. Carbohydrates supply 4 calories per gram, where as fat sources provides 9 calories per gram.  Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body and brain and therefore at least 50% of your calories should come from these sources.  Complex carbohydrates, which consist of high fiber grains, starchy vegetables, beans and fruit, should be the majority of your carbohydrate intake.  Limit the refined carbohydrates in your diet, such as white breads, snack foods, cakes, cookies, etc., as these types of foods do not supply you with much nutritional benefit and are calorie-dense.
4.  If you eat after 8:00 pm, you will gain weight.
FALSE.  Your body does not have a biological “time clock” as to when it quits burning calories.  It is best to try and space your meals and snacks out within 3 – 4 hours of each other for hunger control as well as keeping your metabolism steady.  However, many people tend to snack in the evening out of boredom, or eat huge meals after skipping meals during the day.  Often times these snacks consist of high fat, high sugar foods such as chips and ice cream.  For these individuals, it is important to pay attention to your cues and triggers to eating and be sure to snack when you are hungry and to choose healthier snacks, such as fruit.
5.  It takes a lot of time to eat healthy.
FALSE.  Planning is the key to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.  Purchase foods that are pre-prepped or involve little preparation time.  Examples of this would be pre-cut vegetables, frozen vegetables or frozen stir fry vegetables, pre-cooked meats, beans for protein, or fish.  Fish is a great food to grill or bake, as the cooking time is generally much quicker than poultry or beef.  Plan your meals for the week and try to “batch cook” your meals so you only have to cook it once, but can serve it over a course of 2 or 3 meals.  Also, making healthier choices at the grocery store and while dining out can lead to a healthy diet.  For example, choose soup and salad instead of huge deli sandwiches for lunch. Or lowfat pasta and salad instead of fat-laden lasagna or pizza.  Small steps every day can lead to a healthier you.

By: Sarah Mohrman, RD, MA, Fort Wayne Cardiology Dietitian.

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