6 Myths About Food And Exercise Debunked

How To Be Well: Q+A With Dr. Frank Lipman Dr. Will Cole

by Jennifer McGregor

There’s an abundance of information out there about health and fitness, diet and exercise – no wonder people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle get overwhelmed! In fact, there can be so much conflicting information that you might just want to throw in the towel before you’ve even used it to wipe off the sweat at the gym. Instead of giving up, read on to find out the real deal behind several common myths about food and exercise.

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MYTH: Eating many smaller meals throughout the day kick-starts your metabolism, allowing you to lose weight more quickly.

TRUTH: There’s no evidence to support the myth that eating more frequent, smaller meals helps you burn calories any faster than eating the usual two to three regular-sized meals each day, according to Authority Nutrition. In fact, the total calories burned is precisely the same regardless of how many meals you ate to consume the same number of calories.

MYTH: You can out-train a bad diet.

TRUTH: No matter how hard you work out each day, if you have a terrible diet you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Weight loss is a direct result of consuming fewer calories than your body burns, but Bodybuilding.com explains, “You can’t hope to sit around and eat hamburgers all day and expect your fat burner to make you thinner. That’s just silly.” Not to mention, your poor diet habits will harm your health in the long run, contributing to diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.

MYTH: Whole wheat is “wholesome” and good for you.

TRUTH: While whole wheat was considered a healthier option than regular white bread for many years, recent research has found that modern processing methods and genetic engineering has shifted the health status of whole wheat. When participants with digestive issues in one study consumed “ancient wheat” for six weeks, they experienced a dramatic reduction in their symptoms including reduced abdominal pain and bloating and overall improved quality of life. No reduction in symptoms was seen when modern wheat was consumed.

MYTH: Diet soda isn’t bad for your health.

TRUTH: Many soda-drinkers convert to diet soda in hopes that the calorie reduction is enough to help them lose weight. The truth is that not only will diet soda not help you lose weight, it introduces chemicals and artificial sweeteners that can actually be harmful to your health. If losing weight or improving your health is your goal, switching to water is your best bet.

MYTH: Crunches are the secret to six-pack abs.

TRUTH: Many a health-conscious person desiring the coveted six pack has dedicated themselves to hundreds of abdominal crunches every day, only to be disappointed when the six-pack abs never arrive. That’s because getting a toned abdomen requires the right balance of training, diet, sleep, and reduced stress. What’s more, it’s not really crunches that create those ab muscles; most people get them from things like squats, chin-ups, and deadlifts.

MYTH: Exercising when sick can help you recover more quickly.

TRUTH: Some fitness gurus will tell you that you should never skip a workout, even when you’re under the weather, and that working out while you’re sick will actually help you get better faster. However, CNN spoke with some health experts and discovered that working out when you’re sick might actually prolong your illness. Additionally, some viruses can damage heart muscles, so a very intense aerobic workout while sick could potentially be dangerous in extreme circumstances.

If you have a case of the sniffles or a minor headache, working out probably won’t hurt you – but it probably won’t help you combat the illness any faster, either. It’s worth noting, however, that a healthy exercise routine can help to boost your immunity, so you’re less likely to get sick in the first place. Physical activity like swimming can even be great for people recovering from certain diseases. However, exercise isn’t a magic cure for fighting colds and illnesses that you’ve already come down with.

There are many myths surrounding food and exercise. Before you buy into any common myths, look to credible sources such as double-blind research studies to get the real story and form your own opinions based on reliable research.

Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.

If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.

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Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.

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