Three Food Myths You Need To Quit Believing

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.

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An Exercise You Should Try: Quadruped Thoracic Rotation

I haven’t done an exercise based post for quite a while, and while I realize that “Quadruped Thoracic Rotation” sounds about as exciting as watching grass grow, I promise it’s worth your while.

Having fun yet?

I think most people (myself included) are often guilty of only wanting to do the things in the gym that help them get their sexy on.  I understand. Looking better feels good and who wouldn’t want to do something that makes you feel better about yourself?

However, the truth is that if you injure yourself, your efforts towards getting lean and muscular could come to a screeching halt.  Therefore, by way of my fantastic deductive reasoning skillzzz, keeping yourself from getting hurt can help you look better naked.

I know my ninja-esque logic just blew your mind a bit.

I’ve said this many times before, but the postures we spend our time in greatly impact how well our bodies function.  Due to the fact that most of us sit and stand in slouched positions all day, the mobility that our thoracic spines have is often severely limited.

This can lead to all kinds of things like back, shoulder, hip and neck pain, as well as increase the chances of getting hurt whilst strength training.

So, Michael, what is one to do?

Funny you should ask that!  For only 37 payments of $19.37…oh, wait…

In all seriousness, simply re-teaching the thoracic spine to move properly without compensating for a lack of mobility by moving through the lumbar spine is the best way to do this.

One of my favorite movements to do this is the Quadruped Thoracic Rotation.

Quadruped simply means “on all fours”.

Here’s what the movement looks like:

Cues:

-Start on all fours and place one hand behind your head.

-While taking a deep breath in, rotate through the middle of your back and try to point your elbow towards the ceiling.

-Go as far as you can without rotating through your lumbar spine or tilting your hips.

-Next, exhale, bring the elbow back down and tuck it underneath your body, bringing the elbow behind the elbow of the supporting arm.  Again, make sure you don’t rotate through your lumbar spine or your hips.

Repeat for 6 total reps for each side.

Don’t worry if your range of motion is pretty small at first.  It will increase over time, if you are diligent in doing these.

I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping you hips and lumbar spine stable.  Not doing so will pretty much defeat the purpose of the exercise.

Give them a shot and let me know what you think!

Look Mom, This Food Doesn’t Want To Kill Me!

-Low Sodium

-No High Fructose Corn Syrup

-No Additives or Preservatives

-No Sugar Added

-No Trans Fat

-All Natural

There are a lot of different statements a foods label can make.  And if they can, trust me, they will.  While it’s true that food companies will try to promote the good things their foods have (ex. “good source of fiber”) they will also put any claim they can on a label to let you know what they are not.

Foods have become so altered, processed and manufactured that they have to make claims they don’t have, or aren’t a certain something for us to be aware of it.  Doesn’t it seem strange that a food has to have a label for us to know that it doesn’t have high fructose syrup, or that it doesn’t have any of the deadly trans fat?

Shouldn’t they, like anything else, have to let us know if they are altered, modified or potentially dangerous?  Household cleaners have to carry a warning about consumption.  Toys and medicines have to carry labels warning misuse.  But foods, on the other hand,  make claims, not of their dangers, but that they are safe.

Things that make you go “Hmm”.

I digress.

Whenever I see a food label that makes a claim that they aren’t something, it makes me wonder what they are that they aren’t saying.  (I agree…that sentence was a little confusing.)

By the way, you know what doesn’t have any high fructose corn syrup?  A carrot.

Guess what doesn’t have any trans fat?  A chicken breast.  No, not a chicken patty, nugget or strip.  A chicken breast.  One that you have to cook, not just warm up.

Oh, and did you know that an almond is all natural.  Unless you buy it covered in salt in honey-roasted-goodness.

So here is a cheat sheet for you, if you’re wanting to eat foods that are able to make the above claims, you are always safe with vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and organic meats.  So make it easy on yourself and go with foods that just are, instead of ones that tell you what they aren’t.

The “Not So Smart” Breakfast

Something strange has happened in this country.  Well, maybe it’s a phenomenon outside of the US too, but I cant speak to that.  The word “calories” has become a dirty word, unless it’s accompanied by “fewer”, “less” or “reduced”.

We see this on television commercials, food packaging and restaurant menus.  It seems like everyone is trying to reduce the amount of calories in their foods.  The logic that accompanies it is that if it has less calories, then it must be better.  And let’s be honest, there are a lot of folks that go so far as to tell themselves that if it has less calories, it must be good for them. 

That’s not me reaching. It’s simply the truth.

I saw a Subway commercial the other day advertising new breakfast sandwiches that are under 200 calories.  UNDER 200 calories.  I hopped on their website this morning and one of these sandwiches is as low as 170 calories. 

There is no way that amount of calories should be considered a meal. 

To illustrate my point, let’s do some quick math.  Say you eat this sandwich 5 times a day.  Ah, what the heck, I’m feeling kinda frisky.  Let’s say you eat this sandwich a whopping 6 times a day! This would equate a grand total of 1,020 calories for the day (170×6=1,020). 

Quick little fact, it’s been estimated that the average caloric intake for Jews in Nazi concentration camps was between 600-1,000 calories/day.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Maybe just a little longer……

Congratulations, you’re barely eating better than a concentration camp captive.

Now, I realize that the idea of someone eating just that sandwich 6 times a day is pretty ridiculous.  But this speaks to a greater issue.  When it comes to food, we tend to think less makes things good.  If I just eat a smaller piece of cake.  If I eat the 100 calorie pack of cookies.  If I eat the 170 calorie sandwich consisting of processed breads, fake cheese, manufactured lunch meat and eggs of some sort.  If I just do these things, then I’ll be OK.

I’m not saying that having some self control is a bad thing.  Or even that reducing the amount of processed food you eat is not a good thing.  But to think that less of a bad thing makes it good is some really flawed thinking.  It’s like saying that getting hit by a car going 70 miles an hour is good because at least it wasn’t going 75 miles an hour!  Yeah, it’s true, but it’s not really true.  Either way, it’s a pretty crappy situation.