Common nutrition myths debunked

If you eat fewer meals will you lose weight? And are carbs bad? Two common nutrition myths, debunked. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – Whether you’ve resolved to eat better in 2014, or just want to know if the information you’ve heard is actually true, one health professional sets the record straight when it comes to nutrition myths.

Lisa Reed, certified personal trainer and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness, tackles common meal misconceptions.

Myth 1: If I only eat two meals a day, I will lose weight.

Truth: It’s the complete opposite.

“When you wait a long time between meals, your blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling cranky and light headed until the next time you eat,” Reed says.

And when you do finally eat, Reed explains you will most likely overeat, because of heightened hunger.

She says overeating expands your stomach, making it difficult to reach that “full feeling” the next time you return to eating normal portions.

“Not to mention when you consume so many calories at one meal, your body can’t metabolize all of that food, in turn your body will slow down, and you will feel lethargic quicker,” says Reed, who adds that the excess calories consumed will be stored as fat.

Reed’s Solution: Eat every three hours, starting 30 minutes after you wake up in the morning.

The goal is “mini meals,” or three small meals with two snacks. Keep all the meals small so you don’t overeat. Mini meals will also keep your metabolism burning to ensure that your energy levels remain constant throughout the day.

Eating five to six times a day will quickly transform your body into a lean, toned, fat-burning machine.

When you eat five times a day, you get five things in return:

  1. Less hunger
  2. Less overeating
  3. More energy and a more positive outlook
  4. More stable blood sugar levels
  5. Fewer cravings for unhealthy foods

Myth 2: Carbohydrates are bad for you.

Truth: Not all of them.

When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose to help fuel your cells. Excess glucose is stored in your liver and muscles, or as fat in certain areas of your body. Therefore, if you routinely eat carbohydrates, it is possible to gain weight, Reed explains.

Bad carbohydrates, which get their name because they contain little nutritional benefit, can be found in refined foods, such as cakes, candy and white bread. Reed says once these are broken down in the body, they can make you feel hungry shortly after you eat them.

But foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain products also contain carbohydrates.

Whole grains are complex carbohydrates and offer a greater nutritional benefit than simple carbohydrates. Vegetables are fibrous carbohydrates, and fruits are technically simple carbohydrates but are full of nutrients.

“Complex carbs contain lots of fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc to help keep your body healthy,” Reed says. “They take longer to digest in your stomach, helping you to feel fuller for longer periods of time.”

This means that you are less likely to overindulge on these types of carbs. Oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes are also great sources of complex carbohydrates.

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Lisa can provide tailored strength training workouts, in-home personal training or group fitness at your office. She also has a circuit training DVD that includes six different workouts, as well as abs and stretching. In addition, Lisa provides nutrition programs designed to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Read more about Lisa at www.lisareedfitness.com. Follow @lisareedfitness on Twitter.

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.


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