Science writer Professor Tim Spector has published the book Myths About Diet. The Science of What We Eat”, a Russian translation of which was published by Mann, Ivanov and Ferber. Based on the latest scientific materials and analysis of genetic studies, the author debunked popular misconceptions in the field of nutrition and proposed a nutritional method that will help maintain health and tone. Here are Spector's main theses.
Myth 1. To lose weight, you need to find exactly your diet. If you have not been able to lose weight on a protein diet, then you need to try vegan or dairy-free
Exposure. After six weeks of an intense diet of any regimen, in which more than 10% of body weight is lost, energy expenditure is reduced, as does metabolism. The body is trying to replenish the old fat reserves.
This slowdown in metabolism can increase up to 10% of your daily calorie intake. Typically, in experiments, low-fat diets have the greatest effect in terms of this "reset" mechanism, while eating patterns such as the Atkins diet with high protein content and restriction of carbohydrates have the least.
But even high-protein diets cannot fool the body for long. After a while, cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise and you gain weight again.
Bottom line: Any intense diet is harmful rather than beneficial.
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Myth 2. Fructose is a priori harmful: even if you get it from whole fruits
If you want to lose weight, give up fruits
Exposure. Indeed, fruits contain a lot of sugar (fructose). But do you need to worry about those who like to pamper themselves with an apple or a pear? If you eat fruits, especially whole fruits, the harm will be much less than from sweets containing industrial fructose.
One large study involved 425 Japanese people living in Brazil and at high risk of diabetes. It was found that insulin rose within normal limits in fruit drinkers. Other, smaller, but detailed studies have shown similar results, confirming that there is a protective component in whole fruits. It's probably fiber.
Consuming large amounts of sugar is harmful in any form, especially in liquid form - even if it is a “healthy” juice. However, despite the active hype around this thesis, it has not yet been proven that fructose is the very supreme demon that should be immediately expelled.
Bottom line: Sugar from fruits is better absorbed and safer than industrial fructose and glucose (from regular sugar). Fruit juices are high in sugar - it's best to eat fresh fruit.
Myth 3. People cannot lose weight because of their laziness and lack of willpower
If a person is complete, he is to blame.
Exposure. Scientists have found that many obese people are not lazy at all. They may just have few good bacteria in their gut. It is the gut microbiota (a collection of different types of microorganisms) that helps us maintain a certain weight. Participants in one study with reduced microbial diversity were more likely to be obese, had higher levels of insulin and visceral fat, and had lipid abnormalities, which explained their predisposition to diabetes and heart disease.
The less fruits, vegetables and fiber you consume, the less diverse your microbiota, so if you do decide on a diet, then two to three weeks before starting, enrich your diet with more vegetables and fruits. This will increase the number of beneficial microbes in your gut and make your diet more effective.
Bottom line: To normalize your weight, you need to restore a healthy gut microbiota.
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Myth 4. If the meat is once a day, then nothing terrible will happen. Excessive consumption of meat is harmful, but once a day is possible
Exposure. A daily bacon sandwich or hot dog shortens life by two years, or, if you prefer, each sandwich by one hour (for comparison, a pack of cigarettes by five hours). Scientists made similar conclusions based on studies of Europeans who daily consumed ready-made meals with meat. According to another study involving 300,000 people in Asian countries, the increase in meat consumption is proportional to the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Bottom line: A plant-based protein diet is healthier than a daily meat diet.
Myth 5. Fatty dairy products are harmful
To lose weight, you need to choose foods that are low in fat
Exposure. Studies have shown that people who ate regular dairy products every day lost some body fat while gaining muscle mass. Some of the ingredients in dairy products are capable of burning visceral fat. And microorganisms contained in these products help in this. Of course, we are talking about natural products that are free of sweeteners and fruit fillers. Low-fat products in most cases do not meet this criterion: to compensate for the poor taste, various additives are used.
The study involved 8 thousand Spaniards - for 6.5 years they drank fatty yogurt every day. Their risk of obesity decreased by 40%, and many participants lost weight.
Bottom line: daily consumption of a glass of natural kefir or yogurt with a fat content of 3% in the absence of contraindications from the gastrointestinal tract can help normalize weight.
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