There’s so much advice floating around on what to eat (and not eat), it can be hard to sift out the truth. Here are some facts to help you sort through what you hear.
– I can lose weight while eating whatever I want.
Fact – To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. It is possible to eat any kind of food you want and lose weight. You need to limit the number of calories you eat every day and/or increase your daily physical activity. Portion control is the key. Try eating smaller amounts of food and choosing foods that are low in calories.
Tip : When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods—as long as you pay attention to the total number of calories that you eat.
– Low-fat or fat-free means no calories.
Fact – A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories.
Tip – Read the Nutrition Facts on a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too—it may be less than you are used to eating. For more information about reading food labels, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration online at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html.
– Fast foods are always an unhealthy choice and you should not eat them when dieting.
Fact – Fast foods can be part of a healthy weight-loss program with a little bit of know-how.
Tip – Avoid supersized combo meals, or split one with a friend. Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda. Choose salads and grilled foods, like a grilled chicken breast sandwich or small hamburger. Try a “fresco” taco (with salsa instead of cheese or sauce) at taco stands. Fried foods, like french fries and fried chicken, are high in fat and calories, so order them only once in a while, order a small portion, or split an order with a friend. Also, use only small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie toppings, like regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, bacon, and cheese.
Come back tomorrow for busting more weight loss and nutrition myths.