A Calorie Is Not Just A Calorie, And Other Dietary Myths Dispelled

diets are evil and must be stopped

diets are evil and must be stopped

When it comes to all things foodie, there’s a lot of misinformation out there…I sometimes think that we’ve never been more conscious of what we eat, and yet never been so ignorant about it.

Today I’m busting a few popular dietary myths. You’ve probably heard some of them before, you may have even said them yourself, but do you know your facts?

Well, read on cos it’s about to get real.

1. Never eat anything your Grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food

I understand this and commend the principle behind it but let’s be honest here. I don’t know about yours but my grandmother (bless her beautiful soul) doesn’t know her sweet tamarinds from her dates. She has no idea what a prickly pear looks like, much less what to do with it.

it took me 30 years to learn that this was a guinep. I'm pretty sure Gran's still in the dark

it took me 30 years to learn that this was a guinep. I’m pretty sure Gran’s still in the dark

Also, I haven’t asked her but I’m also fairly sure she wouldn’t know what sushi was or those weird things behind the asparagus display in my local supermarket.

There are undoubtedly some lessons we can learn from our grandmothers since they were better at not eating unprocessed junk, growing their own food and cooking a healthy dinner every night but, like that dark chocolate, it’s all about the moderation folks.

2. Don’t eat any food you see advertised

I can’t lie, this is mostly true. Pay attention next commercial break and you’ll see a procession of biscuits, ready meals and cakes pass until your show starts again (especially if it’s around mealtimes). However, I did see an advert for Pom the other day and that product gets the TMBL seal of endorsement.

I also saw this - grown men, dressed as nuts, hopping around. Some things cannot be unseen.

I also saw this – grown men, dressed as nuts, hopping around. Some things cannot be unseen.

Other things I’ve seen advertised on the telly lately include pistachios and I happen to think these are ok, not a mainstay of the diet but certainly not poison.

But perhaps that’s my media conditioning talking….JOIN ME, THEY’RE TOO STRONG.

3. Eat less, move more

This is the standard dietary advice usually given out by smugly lean people who like to airily proclaim: “losing weight is so simple” and roll their eyes at your pitiful lack of willpower in not getting to the gym every day at 5am.

I go to the gym just 2-3 times a week, but I make it count

I go to the gym just 2-3 times a week, but I make it count

In actual fact, the science suggests you should be eating more (clean foods) and exercising less (but more efficiently). This explains it wonderfully.

So stop beating yourself up about not getting to the gym this week and just concentrate on chowing down on satiating nutrient-dense food.

4. Eat less Calories To Lose Weight

This is an easy one. A calorie is not just a calorie so treating them like the ‘X’ in some dietary mathematical equation isn’t going to do the trick.

like the borrowers (anyone remember the borrowers?)

like the borrowers (anyone remember the borrowers?)

Calories are tricksy things. Their effect on the body isn’t as simple as the dieting books would have you believe. If you’re shunning butter or coconut oil because of their high calorific value, you are doing yourself (and your body) a disservice.

Limiting your calories is not only a bad idea for your body, it’s a bad idea for your weight loss goals. Eating fewer calories slows your metabolism meaning you burn less calories, your body temperature drops and you start experience all kinds of nasty symptoms (including weight gain).

Even the folks at Harvard agree – calories in/calories out is not the best way to lose weight.

Weigh in: What’s the worst dietary advice you’ve ever received? Do you count calories? Does your grandmother know her guavas from her guineps?

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7 thoughts on “A Calorie Is Not Just A Calorie, And Other Dietary Myths Dispelled

  1. Great post and SO TRUE! Too many people get lost in the myths and get discouraged when they don’t see any changes to their weight.Thanks for getting the message out there! 🙂

  2. Can I get an AMEN?! I am living proof of all of this. I feel like calories in/out technically works to an extent, at the most basic level of weight loss (heck, it’s how I did it!), but in terms of HEALTH it just breeds a whole new playground of problems surrounding food and leads to disordered eating, malnutrition, and all kinds of dirty little nasties (me, again)! Quality over quantity is what needs to be encouraged. I’ve learned that one the hard way, but now that I’ve seen the error of my ways and have made the necessary changes, things couldn’t be better and I’m happier for it. The obsession over calories needs to end. Great post!!

  3. Pingback: The Importance of Mindful Eating | Things My Belly Likes

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