You’d be amazed at how much nutrition is misunderstood especially among those trying to shrink stomach fat. These legends of nutrition are so lofty that eventually, they become diet myths that people like me debunk for people like you who are looking to make sense of it all.
I’ve written about exercise and nutrition fallacies before, and have tried my best to discourage people from accepting what Joe Blow at the local gym says. I am always clearing up which diet myths are facts and which facts are myths. A lot of websites and even some fitness magazines have their information wrong.
You really can’t blame them as they are just hopping on the current bandwagon knowing only as much as they are told. The difference between them and me is that I live nutrition every day, not just for myself but also for clients who count on me to provide them with solutions to their belly fat growing problems and, most of all, results!
So let’s set the record straight right now. These diet myths have a way of eating at you, so to speak, at any nutrition program in which the primary goal is to shrink stomach fat.
Many of these nutrition myths are based on the idea that fat is bad, carbohydrates can build muscle, or protein needs change depending upon how muscular you wish to be. No matter what the myth, the truth shall set you fat-free!
The Top 6 Diet Myths
Diet Myth #1 – “If you don’t eat any dietary fat, you can’t get fat.”
This was one of the biggest diet myths in the late ’80s. I knew people who ate as little fat as possible, no fat, no carbs, …nothing. These misguided folks believed that if they didn’t eat any fat their body had no choice but to get lean. But nothing in the body is that simple. The fact is, any time you create an imbalance in macro-nutrients like that, the body will rebel in another way. Your body will become carbohydrate sensitive.
You use so many carbohydrates to make up the calories you would have otherwise ingested as fat that your body will produce too much insulin. The heart of this matter is simple. If you overeat, no matter what you overeat, you’ll store it as fat. In other words, there is more than one way to get a fat belly! Although you don’t want to overdo bad fats or lace the diet with too much fat, it is an exceptional energy source and should always constitute 15 to 20 percent of your diet.
Diet Myth #2 – “All fat is bad.”
If these diet myths were true, diets that advocate getting 30 percent of calories from fat wouldn’t work. The fact is, they do work for a lot of people. That ratio may not be ideal for you, but the point is, including fat in the diet is an essential part of maintaining good health. Without any fat (like the diets in the ’80s) the skin, hair, teeth and connective tissue throughout the body would cease being healthy.
The body requires a certain amount of what is called essential fatty acids that it cannot produce on its own. Substances such as vegetable oil take care of the needs of the body in this way.
This diet myth overlooks the fact that fat burns fat! No, that isn’t a misprint. It’s the truth. EFAs are essential building material for hormones that are crucial in supporting normal fat metabolism. Other fats such as flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil contain a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids which are important in that they can improve glucose tolerance and support immune function by sparring glutamine. A diet that doesn’t include these types of fat can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, thereby actually hampering your efforts to lose belly fat.
Diet Myth #3 – “Eating small meals often is bad. Three meals are good.”
Eating three meals a day isn’t necessarily good for everyone. Consider the amount of time we are all awake now during the day. Some of us (like me) arise at 4 in the morning to go train clients and then don’t go to bed until ten in the evening. If I ate three meals, one every 6 hours, over the course of my 18 hour day, what do you think my energy level would be? We haven’t even mentioned how frequent eating impacts the metabolism.
By eating more than one meal a day, provided you include some protein in each meal, you speed up your metabolism several times daily. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and healthy snacks can give you a steadier flow of macronutrients and energy so that the blood sugar level is consistent throughout the entire day.
When you eat just three times daily, you tend to ingest more calories, many of which you won’t use and will be stored as fat, and your blood sugar levels reach all-time highs and all time lows. Constantly messing with your insulin level can rapidly cause growing belly fat.
Diet Myth #4 – “Fruit juices are a good replacement for soft drinks.”
This is a controversial diet myth simply because fruit juice is nutritious. However, eating the whole fruit or vegetable is always better than just drinking the juice. Certain nutrients, fiber, and vitamins, that can be found in the pulp and solids of fruit can’t be had once the juice has been removed from it. Fruit juice also increases sugar consumption on a diet. A slower releasing carbohydrate is preferable to the quick sugar in fruit juices. You’re better off eating fruits that burn fat whole, not juiced.
Soft drinks are not a good choice either. In fact, water is the best beverage at all times because it hydrates the cells of the body and allows many nutrients to be absorbed and synthesized.
Soft drinks can rob the body of these nutrients and actually cause dehydration after the initial thirst quenching effects have passed. If you’re going to consume soft drinks, make sure they’re sugar-free and caffeine-free
Diet Myth #5 – “If you overeat today, just eat less tomorrow.”
If you overeat on any day, no matter what you did the day before or after, the fact is, you’ll store a lot of calories. Eating less the next day will make matters worse because by eating at the starvation level you create a sluggish metabolism. If your metabolic rate is sluggish the next day, you’ll burn even fewer calories. Plus eating like a bird, even for one day, can cause your energy level to drop severely.
If you get in the habit of trying to play catch up with your calories and fat loss, you’re setting yourself up for failure. When your energy is low, you can’t do the exercises that could have made up for that previous day of over eating. Don’t punish yourself for eating too much. We all do occasionally. Just strengthen your resolve the next day and continue on without missing a beat.
Diet Myth #6 – “Red meat is bad because it is high in fat.”
This diet myth continues to circulate around the bodybuilding community despite the fact that red meat is low in fat. Ground sirloin is just under 7 percent fat content, and flank and eye of round steak are even leaner than that. Round steak is almost as lean as chicken breast, but with a much superior and more nearly complete amino profile.
Make sure that when you cook your steak, you don’t add calories by using fatty or sugary marinades from a bottle. Use a moderate amount of fruit juice, the fructose burns off, or citrus juice to tenderize the meat for several hours before cooking it.