Nutritional Myths You Need to Know


Every day, people are bombarded with advertising about the latest diet plans for weight loss or to remove toxins from their bodies. Often, these programs are endorsed by celebrities or fitness gurus, or even doctors from overseas. Some diets can be dangerous, while others are completely ineffective. Trying to sort through all of the myths and fads to learn fact and fiction can be difficult.

The Master Cleanse Diet Myth

Claims surrounding the master cleanse diet are that it removes toxins and helps people lose weight –fast. There are many variations of this diet, but the basics are to use lemon juice, cayenne pepper and either honey or maple syrup in your water. The diet involves drinking only the cleansing liquid and no foods for days. A salt water flush and laxatives should also be used in conjunction with the drink.

The truth is that this diet is, for the most, part a starvation diet. It also has several negative side effects like dizziness, nausea, dehydration, diarrhea and fatigue. Worse yet, some people suffer heart palpitations. The drink acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose water weight, not fat. Any weight lost returns as soon as you start eating normally again. Also consider the fact that the body naturally cleanses itself of toxins, so there is no need to switch to a toxin-cleansing diet.

The Sleeping Beauty Diet

The claim of this diet is that the body loses weight while sleeping. It encourages dieters to take sedatives to sleep long periods of time, even days at a time.

The reality is that this diet is one of the most dangerous ones out there. The body is starved to the point that muscles begin deteriorating from not moving about. In addition, it can be very easy to overdose in the effort to sedate the body for the desired length of time. There is also the chance that the body never wakes up again. To put it bluntly, this diet can kill you.

The Fasting Diet Myth

The claim is that fasting is a great way to lose weight quickly. Variations of this diet are eating nothing and drinking only water for one meal, or a day, or several days or by alternating days in which meals are skipped.

The fact is that fasting deprives the body of nutrients that are needed in order to be healthy. The body naturally reacts to starvation by slowing down the metabolism to save energy. Upon returning to the regular diet, the body reacts by becoming hungrier. This diet makes you more apt to overeat afterward.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

This is considered a kick-starter to weight loss, and claims to drop as much as 10 pounds in the first week. For the most part, this diet consists of eating cabbage soup at each meal for a week. Other fruits and a bit of beef are eaten on specific days, as well.

While the weight does come off temporarily, the diet has several problems. There is a major lack of protein, which is essential for lean muscle. With the blandness in flavor, it can be easy to grab the salt shaker and use too much. Side effects are gas and bloating from all the cabbage. The quick and drastic weight loss resulting from the diet can cause serious health issues. The bottom line is that this diet is dangerous.

Cancer Causing Foods

There has been a great deal of speculation about foods that can cause cancer. Every day, another food is declared as possibly causing cancer. Dairy products, red meats, processed foods and more are all suspect in the search to discover what causes cancer. Until solid research proves a direct correlation between specific foods and cancer, it’s mostly speculation.

Natural foods may or may not cause cancer, but what about the ingredients in or on them? Processed foods contain chemical preservatives and fruits and vegetables have been known to have pesticides on them. Genetically modified foods are another possibility. Packaging materials are not natural, either. Any of these items may cause cancer.

So, how can you avoid the foods that may cause cancer? Increase the intake of natural foods in your diet. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove any remaining pesticides. Avoid chemical preservatives, processed foods and limit red meats.

Healthier Alternatives

Instead of a fad diet, make changes to eating habits by utilizing the following tips:

  1. Use a smaller plate during meals. This makes it look like there is plenty of food on the plate so you won’t feel cheated.
  2. Cut back on large portions during meals. Rather than trying to cut out the foods you like, choose to take a smaller amount.
  3. Opt for unrefined and whole grains.
  4. Substitute a glass of water at least once a day in place of a sweetened drink.

In addition, don’t cringe at the idea of fruits and vegetables. There are many that are very satisfying as a snack food, like petite carrots, apple slices, cherry tomatoes and grapes. Take another look in the fresh fruits and vegetable isle at the grocery store with snacking in mind.

Diets: What They Boil Down to

Fasting, detoxing, single foods and diets involving the use of drugs without the supervision of a doctor are all ones to avoid. Quick weight loss diets generally involve dropping water under the guise of losing pounds. Before trying any diet, seek the advice of your primary care physician, who knows your health best.