I don’t usually get tempted by those check out stand magazines, but today Newsweek (June 28 and July 5, 2010, double issue) jumped out at me. The front cover read “The Science of Healthy Living.” I thought that sounded like a misnomer, but being intrinsically interested in health, I bought it.
The author of “Healthy at Any Age” did a great job of expressing the frustration of trying to google a topic and being bombarded with vast and seemingly endless amounts of information, much of which is contradictory, and then sift through it all to make some sense of it.
The article was not well written, though. I would have expected more from such a top selling magazine. For example, the author tells us one way to avoid cancer is to lose weight and keep it off. (Duh.) In the next sentence she tells us, “Good luck figuring out how to do that.” (Thanks for the support.) Next, she tells us that the only real permanent solution is bariatric surgery! (That was helpful. Really.) She supplies us with one study that reports “only a marginal effect on cancer” after she warns us about the quality of studies. Perhaps we are not suffering from the “Age of TMI” (Too Much Information) as much as the “Age of TMM” (Too Much Misinformation)
Where Can We Turn For Real Solutions?
I became fanatically interested in health when I discovered I had the beginnings of cervical cancer 10 years ago. The nurse practitioner’s “off the record” advice? “Become as healthy as possible.” So, began my desperate search for health.
Through this journey, I have discovered some things of great profound importance. I also discovered that I already had access to some of the greatest health practices available for promoting healing and cultivating health. I have been asked to share this with you, so I will present a series of articles. Oh, and just so I don’t leave you hanging, I have been cancer free for 9 years.
COMMON DIET MYTHS
#1 Low Fat = Low Calorie.
Many low fat products maintain their taste by adding sugars or other refined carbs.
#2 Fat Free = Healthy.
The body requires some fat to maintain normal functions. For example, if your thyroid can’t function well because of a lack of appropriate fats, odds are you’ll gain weight. Besides that, they, like the low fat products, also add sugar to make it taste better.
#3 Diet Soda is O. K.
Artificial sweeteners can act as an appetite stimulant, not to mention they are toxic to the human body.
#4 Fruit Juice is better than Soda.
Yes, but, they are still high in sugars (fructose). Better to eat the whole fruit. You get all the nutrition and fiber.
#5 High Protein/Low Carb Diets Are Healthy.
It has names like Adkin’s and South Beach. There has yet to be a long term study on the success of this diet. However, there has been many
reports of adverse effects after the initial weight loss including constipation, bad breath, headache, nausea, tiredness, weakness, heart
problems, osteoporosis, kidney damage, gout…
#6 Certain Foods Such As Grapefruit, Celery and Cabbage burn fat.
Food doesn’t burn fat. Although some foods with caffeine will speed up your metabolism for a while.
#7 Skipping Meals Will Help Me Lose Weight.
Calorie reduction will help you lose weight short term. Your body will slow it’s metabolism to protect its energy reserves. Also, many people tend to overcompensate later. Not a long term solution.
#8 Natural and Herbal Remedies Are Safe.
Some are, some are not. It is wise to seek advise from a competent herbalist or accupunturist/accupressurist.
#9 Eating Late Causes Weight Gain.
According to Natalia Rose in her book the Raw Food Detox Diet, if you properly combine all your food, it takes about 3 hours for it to exit your stomach where it can be absorbed. Otherwise it may sit in your stomach and ferment.
#10 Dairy Is The Best Source Of Calcium For Strong Bones.
Who paid for that advertising? If this were true then Americans would have among the strongest bones in the world given that we consume more than most people. According to The China Study, the countries that have the highest consumption of dairy (Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA) also have the highest rate of hip fractures. A Yale report summarizing data from 34 surveys in 16 countries, published in 29 peer reviewed publications also supported this.
#11 Nuts Are Fattening.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats. “Fat” doesn’t have to complicated. Just remember unheated fats are best. Cold pressed oils, raw avocado, raw nuts, raw coconut and coconut butter for example.
#12 The Vegetarian Diet Is Unsuitable For Long Term Health Benefits.
Increasingly research supports a whole food plant based diet. The healthiest people in the world, including Italy and Japan, dine on a largely whole food plant based diet.
However, vegetarians still need to plan to eat in healthy ways (not pasta every meal) and include a variety of veggies and fruits to optimize nutrition and maximize waste elimination (the reason we get sick). A great resource to ease into a diet that gradually includes more healthy foods is the Raw Food Detox Diet, by Natalia Rose.
We can all look around us and find examples of healthy living by looking at the whole lifestyle, not just the short term results of a fad diet. By looking at the healthiest and oldest world cultures and how and what they eat we can begin to debunk some of the myths we’ve come to believe.
Lynn Sorvari helps mothers and other women create and maintain healthy homes and lifestyles through sensible nutrition and effective exercise such as qigong.