Food and Eating Myths
I love good fiction, but when it comes to eating and food, give me the unvarnished truth every time. Here are some surprising facts on the subject from the Nutrition Action Newsletter (June, 2013). At least they’re considered true for now, but who knows what will be when the next batch of scientific studies come along.
- Do emotional eaters only overeat when they’re unhappy? According to the
results of a Dutch study, they overeat when they’re happy too. Study participants were shown upbeat and downbeat film clips, offered sugary/salty/fatty foods and filled out pre-and post-questionnaires about their moods. Those who indicated they were emotional eaters and watched the upbeat clips ate more than those who watched the downbeat clips. Non-emotional eaters ate the same number of calories whichever clip they watched. So stay aware of the potential for emotional eating when you’re happy.
- Does skipping breakfast put weight on you? Although some surveys conclude that breakfast eaters weigh less than breakfast skippers, this may be a correlation rather than a cause and effect. Researchers now say there’s insufficient evidence to prove that eating breakfast leads to gaining fewer pounds. I would say that unless you ate a late, huge dinner the evening before, it makes sense that you’d be hungry when you awaken. Pay attention to true appetite. Don’t forgo calories and wait to eat until you’re starving, but don’t stuff yourself in the morning either if your hunger meter is registering zero.
- Does eating wheat make you fat? First sugar was the demon, now it’s wheat.
Researchers maintain that, unless you’re allergic, eliminating wheat from your diet won’t affect your weight one way or the other. If you’re thinking of giving up wheat and substituting other food calories, don’t. According to Julie Jones, professor of foods and nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, “Avoiding wheat isn’t the answer.” Carbs are not the enemy, especially whole grain, high fiber natural ones.
To understand what’s best for us nutritionally, it’s essential that we take advantage of what science has to offer. Unfortunately, much of the promotion out there is just that—marketing for a new book, program or product. Don’t get fooled by claims of a “study” saying this or that. Too many studies are done by the company promoting the product! Instead, look to reliable unbiased, non-profit or university based nutrition publications. For example, who are you going to believe, the authors of the book WHEATBELLY, for example, or the writers for Nutrition Action Health Letter which is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Developing critical thinking skills is essential, as important as developing skills for “normal” eating.