Sick of health fads controlling your life? Us too. Don’t let the latest trends get in your head and dominate your day. Making healthy choices is a lot easier than it sounds - and rarely involves drinking charcoal or catching all your food like a caveman. So to help you separate fact from fiction once and for all, here’s round two of: the facts behind the fad.
Snacking Is Bad For You
To snack or not to snack? That is the question. When it comes to health trends - the fight between the snackers and the non-snackers is more fierce than the battle between the Beliebers and the non-beliebers (#teamJustin). Some people claim that eating smaller meals throughout the day prevents binge eating. Others firmly believe that snacking is an unhealthy habit that leads to weight gain. But like every good argument - there are two sides, and then there’s the truth.
Bottom line: don’t eat throughout the day if you’re full, and don’t starve yourself between meals if you’re hungry. Starving yourself between meals will only lead to overeating later. But that doesn’t mean you should chow down on chips and candy all day long either (we wish). When it comes to this trend, it’s all about what you’re eating. If your go-to snack is a sugary treat than chances are it’s not great for your health. But if your midday pick-me-up is a handful of nuts or fruits and veggies, then by all means - snack away!
Low Fat = Healthy
From ice cream to salad dressing to frozen dinners, almost no food has escaped the low-fat fad. We’ve been conditioned to believe that fat is bad and that it should be cut from our diet, no questions asked. But is a low-fat or fat-free diet actually healthier? It depends. Our bodies need some fats from food. Fat gives us energy and helps us absorb vitamins and minerals. It also reduces the risk of blood clotting and internal inflammation. But not all fats are created equal.
Trans fats are the Donald Trump of fats. Nothing good can come from them. They’re usually found in solid margarines, shortening, pastries and fast food. We suggest you go mean girl on them and let them know they can’t sit with you.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are trans fats gorgeous Greek cousins. They’re found in most nuts, avocados and olive oil, and are a popular part of the Mediterranean diet. They’re liquid at room temperature and have a ton of positive health benefits. For example, omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat that’s been found to prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure.
But be wary of foods labeled as “low-fat.” These foods want you to believe that baked goods, sweets and chips can be magically made healthy. We suggest you mark this one under “things too good to be true.” A British study found that many foods labeled as low-fat had the same calories as their full-fat counterparts and almost 40% more sugar.
The bottom line? When it comes to fat - tell Trump he’s fired, kick magical thinking to the curb, and go Greek!
Eating Late At Night Makes You Gain Weight
This trend was most likely started by stick-thin celebrities claiming they don’t eat after 6pm. Unfortunately, for people that live in the real world - not eating after 6 or 7pm at night isn’t exactly an option. But similar to snacking - this trend isn’t one way or the highway.
There are benefits to eating bigger meals earlier in the day. For example, the hormone that regulates your appetite is stronger in the morning - meaning you’re less likely to binge over breakfast. Eating after 8pm has also been associated with poor sleep quality, and poor sleep is usually associated with weight gain.
With that said, if you’re a night owl, a late-night fitness fiend, or just plain hungry, please don’t freak out. If you’re hungry, eat. Just remember, next time you get a late-night craving, to steer clear of processed and greasy foods and grab some raw fruit, veggies or nuts instead.