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5 diet myths that are not entirely true

Consumers need to better understand what they are eating, and how it fits into their diet
Consumers need to better understand what they are eating, and how it fits into their diet
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Most people's opinion on what is healthy and what isn't usually comes from word-of-mouth. It is often not heavily researched by an individual, and the information that is gathered could potentially be from unreliable sources. With that in mind, here are a few common health and diet myths that need to be explained in order to have better results with your fitness goals:

A diet is forever (not entirely true) - First, a diet needs to be qualified. What type of diet are you on? Weight loss, fat loss, weight gain, sodium restricted, calorie restricted, fat restricted, gluten-free, vegan...and the list goes on. The goal of the 'xyz' diet needs to be understood before it is started.

Usually, an alteration in your current diet is needed to achieve some type of result, and most of the time, it is fat loss. Yes, this takes some hard work and dedication, and yes it takes time. However, once you hit your diet/fitness goals, you can transition from a restrictive diet to a maintain diet.

You are no longer looking to reduce anything, you are going to keep steady at your current levels, which means it is ok to sneak that extra slice of bacon, and have that extra frosty beer as long as you can appropriately balance them in your diet plan.

Fat-free is healthy (not entirely true) - Food and beverage items labeled as fat-free can be a healthy choice for those on a fat restrictive diet. If you are on a calorie restrictive diet however, this would not be a good choice. Foods labeled fat-free usually replace the fat with sugars, starches, and salt to make up for the reduction of flavor.

The same goes for those items that call out low-carb, low-sodium, or high in protein. Make sure to read the ingredient statement on the back of the package or check out the restaurants website to insure the item fits into your diet plan.

Olive oil is better than butter (not entirely true) - Yes, olive oil would be a great choice for those looking to remove unwanted saturated fats and cholesterol from their diet, but most people make this transition in hopes to reduce body fat.

Unfortunately fat is a macronutrient and ALL fats contain 9 calories per gram. This means that if you are looking to reduce fat, simply switching over to a 'healthier' version will not help you achieve you goals. Going back to the previous discussion of diets being forever, it would be more beneficial to reduce your overall fat intake until you reach you body fat goal.

Salt makes you fat (not even a little bit true) - Salt is a sneaky electrolyte used in the body to help you function correctly, but here is a little secret...1 tablespoon of salt contains NO calories! People associate salt with fatty and processed foods because it helps enhance flavor and preserve foods, but eating food only high in salt will not make you fat.

Yes, it may make you retain excess water, and there are currently arguments about other negative health effects of salt, but if you are on a calorie restrictive diet looking to lose body fat, it makes much better sense to grab the salt shaker, as opposed to the olive oil. Those that are physically active will be happy to hear that you lose quite a bit of sodium from your body while working up a sweat, which is why your favorite sports drink is usually loaded with it.

Fruits, nuts, and whole grains are healthy (not entirely true) - Here is a prime example of caloric density. Fruits, nuts, and whole grains are full of healthy and very important vitamins and minerals to keep your body in tip-top shape. But just like everything else, TOO much can be a bad thing. Fruits and whole grains are usually full of carbohydrates and nuts are full of fat.

Depending on the previously discussed diet plans, they may not fit within your regiment. This is also another example of why you need to do your own research on what food items will work to achieve the results you want. The good thing is, if you incorporate exercise into your plan, these would be a great addition for pre and post workout snacks.

You can stay in touch with Chef Mike Haracz here:

Twitter: @mike_haracz

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