The Next Five Food Lies
Last blog I exposed the first five of the top ten food lies that keep us sick and fat:
- All calories are created equal, just eat less and exercise more
- Don’t lose weight too fast, or you’ll gain it all back
- All you need is more willpower to lose weight
- Diet soda is better than regular soda
- Foods labeled low fat or whole grain are good for you
Now let’s examine five more food lies that keep us sick and fat. The sooner we tell the truth about these messages, the sooner we will reverse our chronic disease and obesity epidemic.
Food Lie #6: It’s All About Genetics
You may think if your mom is fat and your grandma is fat, that’s why you are fat – you drew the fat card or the diabetes card in the genetic lottery.
But the truth is there are 32 genes associated with obesity in the general population and they only account for nine percent of obesity cases. So even if you had all 32 obesity genes, you would put on only about 22 pounds.
Plus, our genes only change two percent every 20,000 years. And by 2050 it is projected that over 50 percent of Americans will be obese (now it’s about 35%). Our genes don’t change that fast.
What changed is we went from eating about 10 pounds of sugar per person per year in 1800 to 152 pounds of sugar (and 146 pounds of flour) per person per year today. Those are drugs, doses of sugar and flour that hijack our metabolism and make us fat and sick.
The truth is that obesity is caused by all kinds of factors, but the least of them is genetics.
Food Lie #7: Eating Fat Makes You Fat
Fat is not a 4-letter word! Eating fat not only doesn’t make you fat, it’s critical to health and weight loss. Studies comparing an identical calorie high fat diet to a high sugar diet had totally different effects on metabolism. The higher fat diet caused people to burn an extra 300 calories a day. That’s the equivalent of running for an hour without doing any exercise. Fat speeds up your metabolism. Sugar slows it down.
In studies of animals eating identical calorie diets of low fat (high sugar) or higher fat and protein show that the higher sugar diets lead to more fat deposition and muscle loss, while the higher fat and protein diets led to more muscle mass and fat loss. And remember that’s while they were eating exactly the same number of calories.
The right fats are actually the preferred fuel for our cells, especially ones called medium chain triglycerides that come from foods like coconut butter. Yes, you need to stay away from trans fats, but good fats like extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocado, nuts, seeds and nut butters keep us full AND they lubricate the wheels of our metabolism.
So don’t fear fat!
Food Lie #8: Milk Is Nature’s Perfect Food
Milk is nature’s perfect food only if you are a calf!
For many people, dairy causes inflammation, allergies, congestion, postnasal drip, sinus problems, eczema, asthma, acne and irritable bowel. It also may increase the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis, increase the risk of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and causes certain kinds of cancers.
And it also spikes insulin, causing us to grow belly fat.
No matter what messages you hear from the dairy lobby – there is nothing perfect about milk! To read more about the dangers of milk, read my blog “Got Proof.”
Food Lie #9: You Have To Starve To Lose Weight
You do NOT have to starve to lose weight! In fact, that’s one thing that my patients love to learn about, they don’t go hungry when eating real whole food. There is no way even the Guinness World Record holder of calorie counting can accurately know their calorie intake. If you eat one extra mouthful of food a day, over 30 years you will become obese. You have to let your body naturally regulate itself by eating the right foods. You can’t count your way to health or weight loss.
In fact, when you balance your hormones and insulin by eating the right combination of proteins, healthy fats, the right carbs (low glycemic) and phytonutrients, you can not only lose weight without starving, you can lose weight without craving all the junk that was making you fat!
Food Lie #10: Exercise Is the Key to Weight Loss
If you think you can exercise your way to weight loss, I am sorry to say you are in for a big disappointment. Do you treat yourself to a post workout sugar-laden smoothie, muffin, or other “healthy” snack? Suck back some Gatorade to quench your thirst after your thirty minutes on the treadmill?
Relying on exercise to lose weight without changing your diet is asking for failure. You can change your diet and lose weight, but if you exercise and keep your diet the same, you may gain some muscle, improve endurance, and be healthier overall, but you won’t shed many pounds.
Remember, if you consume one 20-ounce soda, you have to walk four and a half miles to burn it off. If you consume one super-size fast-food meal, you have to run four miles a day for one whole week to burn it off. If you eat that every day, you have to run a marathon every single day to burn it off.
The simple fact is that you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet.
To read more about these other food lies please check out my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet.
Take The 10-Day Detox Diet Challenge with me starting on April 10. Includes a complete package of resources and live calls with me and my in-house nutritionist, a registered dietitian. Go here to learn more.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD