When it comes to eating well, exercising and fat loss…well, myths abound. It can certainly make things frustrating for folks when every article they read seems to contradict the one they read before.
Avoid Egg Yolks
Somewhere around the early 90’s (maybe it was 80’s…I don’t know. I was SO young then) egg whites became all the rage. Everyone was taking the time to make sure that nasty, fatty, calorie laden, cholesterol-ridden yolk went straight in the trash, right where they belong!
Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not too sure how this all came about. I’m willing to bet it had to do something the whole “Saturated fat is the devil” or “high cholesterol will kill you” scares. Or, maybe it was a combination of the two, and since yolks have both saturated fat and cholesterol, they must be done away with. Makes sense right?
Well, yeah…if saturated fat really was bad for you and the cholesterol you get from yolks would raise your cholesterol it would be. But neither of these are true.
Eggs have a whopping 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Not that much to be honest. Besides that, there are some great arguments against saturated fat being dangerous for you at all. Arguments that I, personally, think hold a ton of water.
As far as cholesterol goes, if you are trying to lower you cholesterol (which again, there are some great arguments that cholesterol really isn’t the problem) you are much better off avoiding doughnuts, cakes, cookies, fast food and ice cream. Beyond that, studies show that eggs RAISE your good cholesterol. Which is a good thing.
In addition, as nutritionist and trainer Mike Geary notes, “Yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids.” Or in other words, pretty much all of the nutrition an egg has to offer is in the yolk. When you throw it away, you throw all the good stuff away too.
If you doctor, has told you to avoid eggs, I’m not going to say you should ignore their advice. But I think you should definitely talk to them about why they want you to, and make sure their reasons are based in research, not just recycled, inaccurate information.
For the rest of you, EAT THE WHOLE EGG!
Eat a Low Fat Diet
Again, somewhere in the 80’s-early 90’s, low fat diets became a “must” for living a healthy lifestyle. This whole movement, for lack of a better word, started with Ancel Keys’ “Seven Countries” Study which was published in the 1980’s. His finding showed that a higher fat intake was strongly correlated with heart disease. The problem was that much of Keys’ findings have been shown to have been cherry picked to support his own beliefs on the relationship between fat intake and heart disease. To be blunt, he cheated.
Interestingly enough, as people started eating less and less fat in this country, heart disease and obesity have gone through the roof. Hmmmm…maybe there is something to eating healthy fat after all.
Yes there are fats that should be avoided, like the kinds found in french fries and twinkies, however avoiding higher fat natural foods like butter, cheese, and nuts for health reasons makes no sense.
Make Everything Complicated
I realize that there’s a good chance no one has ever given the nutritional advice of “make everything complicated and you’ll be just fine.” However, that’s what happens. We swap a whole wheat tortilla for white bread, and use avocado instead of mayo. We weigh our flax seeds on a food scale so we don’t have one too many. We get light ranch dressing on the side and fill our refrigerators with anything and everything low-fat, low-calorie, “diet” and gluten free.
I understand that some of these things are good advice. I would even say some of these things are great advice. The problem is when every meal becomes a stressful situation in trying to follow every bit of advice you’ve every heard about what you should or shouldn’t eat or what you should or shouldn’t do with your food. Simply making dinner is now a frustrating, brain racking event.
I’m of the belief that the simpler, the better. So my vote is eat real food. From there, do what you want.