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Health Bite: Diet Myths Part Three

Brian German Features, Health Bite

Weaving through the maze of nutrition advice online, on infomercials, and through word of mouth can be confusing and contradictory, to say the least.

Diet Myths

Hi, I’m Rachel Eslick with your Ag Net West Health Bite, and today, we’re once again diving into diet trends. I’ll help you understand what’s legit and what’s bogus.

The three trends we’ll talk about are: removing treats or sweets from your diet, restricting certain foods and/or food groups, and following protocols that claim to reduce body fat in certain areas, like the belly.

First, removing sweets or treats from your home can be a strategy to make it more difficult to over-consume foods you love. For instance, if you’re an ice cream lover like me, keeping lots of full-size cartons of ice cream in the freezer makes it easier to eat it morning, noon and night. Having to go out for ice cream theoretically reduces consumption because it’s not convenient. (Although it’s getting increasingly more convenient with delivery options these days.) Anyway, while I do subscribe to the advice of reducing the amount of hyper-processed, less nutritious food from your home, I still think your favorite treats, eaten once in a while, make it much more likely you’ll stick with your overall healthy diet. I subscribe to the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time you’re eating foods most people would argue is healthy. The other 20 percent is whatever makes you happy. As long as you’re honest about 80/20 and aren’t doing 50/50. No foods are off-limits, but there are limits. 

Second, eliminating entire food groups or macronutrients is recommended in a number of trendy diets. Keep in mind, our bodies operate best with all the macronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Eliminating large swaths of foods is a tactic to reduce overall caloric intake. All diets do this in order to achieve a caloric deficit, thus triggering weight loss. But eating fewer calories than one uses (or burns) throughout the day is pretty easily done by monitoring energy in and energy out. Further, a diet that’s varied in food groups is ideal to ensure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Over the long term, it’s just not sustainable for most humans to cut out entire food groups and macronutrients, nor is it optimal for your overall health.

Finally, maybe you’ve heard of diets promising a reduction of fat on stubborn bellies or bingo wings. Trust me when I tell you that no diet or exercise program can spot reduce fat in any given area. Certain exercises can help build muscle, but fat accumulates where it does based on many factors, but mainly your body type. Usually, the place where you store the most fat is also the place where you’ll lose it last. I know, it’s an unsavory truth. One nice thing about eating more whole, minimally processed food (which is usually recommended on most diets) is that it reduces inflammation. That one thing can reduce bloating and therefore a person’s body circumference. But still, be very skeptical of marketing that’s too good to be true. It’s a gimmick and doesn’t deserve your dollars.

Health Bite: Diet Myths Part Three
Rachel Eslick

For AgNet West’s Health Bite, I’m Rachel Eslick. I can help you reach your health and fitness goals with 1:1 and group training. Visit