FACT: At the fundamental level, an egg contains all the necessary nutrients required to nourish and nurture a cell into an organism. Scalloped inside an eggshell is nature’s most nutritively virtuous liquid, and since ages egg is considered to be among the most nutritious food options for all age groups. An incredibly wholesome food although, it is more than often misunderstood as a potent health risk.
The white of an egg is essentially 90% water with proteins like albumin, globulins and mucoproteins dissolved in it. It offers around 6g of protein that is almost 12% of our daily protein requirement. The yolk is home to a splendid array of nutrients like vitamins, essential fatty acids, carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, choline, minerals like sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, etc., and offers around 4.5g of fat and 185mg of cholesterol that approximates to 62% of our daily requirement. The presence of this cholesterol has given eggs a bad reputation and driven the fear of heart attacks and strokes in skeptical consumers!
By just knowing that cholesterol raises your risk of cardiovascular disease is only half the information; there is much more than what meets the eyes and this brings us to the need to know how and how much of cholesterol is detrimental. Cholesterol is a sterol (a type of lipid), an organic compound synthesized by the liver and is crucial for the structural integrity of cell membranes and for production of bile, vitamin D and steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen. It is practically impossible to have a functional healthy life without cholesterol in our body. Since the liver endogenously produces it in a feedback-inhibitory manner, any higher intake through diet leads to a net decrease in its synthesis while lower intake causes the opposite effect. It is a demand-supply chain that keeps cholesterol levels in the body regulated. Also, it is the saturated/trans fats we consume that stimulate liver to synthesize cholesterol and not cholesterol per say.
Eating 4-8 eggs per week is an extremely healthy choice and definitely does not add to any extra cholesterol in our body. Rather, it helps increase the good HDL cholesterol level along with a marginal increase in number large LDL particles. Another very critical aspect that many ignore is what is eaten along with the eggs. If you wish to nail the culprits, blame those toasts smothered with butter or fried bacon or similar accomplices. A more insightful choice would be to chaperone along some complex carbs, greens and vegetables.
Ergo, consumption of eggs in moderation can be cardioprotective and contrary to the popular myth, an egg a day can indeed keep the cholesterol away! So shell out a couple of those yellow-eyed delicacies and enjoy one the most ‘eggs’quisitely power-packed foods on this planet!
FACT: Negative calorie foods, by coined definition, are those food types that utilize more energy in terms of calories to get digested than they carry. But do these negative calorie foods really help us lose weight?
Firstly, calories can scientifically never be in negative, hence the term negative calorie is figurative. Secondly, we need to understand that although our body uses internal energy resources to digest food we consume, only a small fraction of the total energy is utilized for it since there are other vital processes and systemic functions that use up the same resources. Yes, there do exist certain negative calorie foods like celery, carrot, cucumber, water, etc. which are low in calories due to their high water concentration and may take longer to digest owing to their fibre content, thereby keeping the consumer satiated for a longer time and preventing further consumption of unwanted calories.
These food types can be incorporated into our daily diet along with other essentials but the question remains if they are sufficient to support the nutrient requirement of an individual. A diet comprising exclusively of water, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onions and other negative calorie foods although tops the list of crash-diet planners, is impractical and unsustainable for a healthy functional body and it would leave you extremely low on energy and nutritionally deficient. Realistically, there is no single magical food or a group of foods that can take the credit of weight loss. A more convincing way of burning down calories would be to club regular exercise with a balanced meal that can nevertheless be scattered with a few negative calorie foods as well.
To conclude, however tempting this catchphrase may sound, negative calorie foods do not necessarily help in weight loss.
FACT: Cooking vegetables makes them soft, digestible and palatable by our system without expending huge amount of energy. There are downsides of cooking as well and many believe that raw vegetables are healthier to consume than cooked ones because cooking reduces their nutritional value. This cannot be disputed completely since certain nutrients like vitamin C get degraded when subjected to high temperatures. But, there are more and plenty of exceptions to this and certain vegetables behave contrary to this principle. Carrot tops that list.
Carrots are rich source of beta carotene, a carotenoid with antioxidant potential. Beta carotene is cell wall-bound in its original state. Cooking the carrot (boiling, thermal processing, etc.) causes carotene to disengage with the wall matrix, making in more bioavailable and absorbable. Also, it prevents deterioration of traits like flavour and colour by thermally inhibiting enzymatic activity and to a great extent, enhances the shelf life of carrots.
It is not just important to consume vegetables, but also to ensure that their nutrients reach you available and intact. Therefore, opt for cooked carrots instead of raw ones and exploit their nutritional benefits to the maximum.
Myth: Diets are not advantageous!
Fact: When you eat fewer calories than you need, you body starts using fat stores to compensate for the lack in calories to keep functioning properly and this is the principle behind weight loss. Ensure to practice moderate diet restrictions instead of taking up some extreme diet plans that asks you to sacrifice all your favorite foods, limits the number of foods or one that is extremely low in calories that it leaves you feeling hungry. Following such extreme diets plans would induce you to ‘give up’ your diet and you end up telling yourself and others that the diet did not work.
To lose weight the healthier way, try to follow a well-balanced diet plan that allows you to include your favorite foods and one that makes you lose only 0.5-1.0 kilogram of body weight every week. To lose 0.5 kilogram of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories more than what you eat-in other words, you need to decrease your consumption by 500 calories every day.
Myth: ‘Healthy eating’ product ranges suit you the most if you are seriously interested to lose weight
Fact: This statement is true in the case of some products, but not all. While ‘healthy products’ concentrate on skipping on the fat part, they don’t take any care over sugar, salt or calorie content. All the more, these products might contain the same number of calories or in fact, more calories than the standard foods. Some other healthy eating products help you cut down on fat and calorie content by reducing the serving size which in due course of time can leave you hungry and you might even try to eat a calorie-rich snack.
Myth: What you eat is more important than how much you eat
Fact: Calories are calories from whatever nutrient they might come from, be it fat or carbohydrates. Some people eliminate these two nutrients from their diet, but end up consuming the same calories from other foods. Eating too much of any food is going to make you eat more calories than what you are going to burn and you end up gaining weight. In other words, it is the amount of food you eat that is important to calculate the calories added to your body.
Myth: Fast foods cannot be in my diet plan when I am planning to lose weight
Fact: Any food can occupy a place in your diet plan with some meticulous planning. First, don’t choose over-sized meals, secondly, be smart to choose low-calorie foods that are becoming dominantly prevalent in fast-food outlets such as salad, fresh fruit or mineral water. Think before you add some extra mayonnaise or sauce than you require as these can contribute towards more calories. If you feel the portion sizes served at restaurants are more, try to share it with a friend. Also, stay out of fried foods, request for less oil or coconut in gravies and sip water or a diet drink instead of going for a sweetened beverage. You can even check out the nutrition information of foods as many restaurants nowadays provide details of the same.
Myth: Organic weight-loss products are advantageous and don’t harm our health.
Fact: The weight-loss product might claim to be natural or herbal and this does not mean that it is safe for use. Neither are these products scientifically tested to prove that they are safe for use by humans. For instance, herbal products containing ephedra have caused serious health problems and even death. The new products released in the market might claim to be ephedra-free, but there is no guarantee that they are safe for use as they might contain ingredients that are similar to ephedra.
Myth: Drink green tea to lose weight.
Fact: The craze for green tea was beyond description when introduced in the market and it is proclaimed that green tea boosts metabolic rate, thereby helping to burn more calories in less time resulting in weight loss. But, the effects are negligible and will not result in any noticeable weight loss. If you love to drink a cup of green tea, there is no harm in doing so as this tea is devoid of sugar or milk and is a healthy beverage. But, on any given day it is not going to help you lose weight.
Myth: Weight loss plans should include detox diets.
Fact: Overweight/obesity is due to fat deposits and toxins have nothing to do in this regard. Various detox diets, right from the ones that advise people to live on water throughout the day, drink only vegetable or fruit juices to the ones that only allow specific foods, are available and people also do follow. These diets are minimal in calories and pursuing such diets makes the body lose its water content and glycogen stores and dissolve fat deposits as well. These might lead to weight loss initially, but once you stop following the detox diet plan, the weight loss can slow down or even reverse. This is due to the fact that the body will work to restore important glycogen stores that are natural and a healthy part of body composition.
Myth: Diets that are high in protein/low in carbohydrates advocate weight loss
Fact: While the long-term effects of consuming a high-protein/low-carb diet is unknown, all that we know is that a healthy body needs a well-balanced diet constituting of nutrients from all food groups in the required proportions. Fueling your body with high-protein foods such as eggs, meat and cheese equips you with too much fat and cholesterol which can end up in heart attack too. Also, minimal consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains decreases dietary fiber levels in your body and you might end up with constipation. This also leaves you lacking in disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals. You might even suffer from nausea, tiredness and weakness.
Myth: I need to stay away from carbohydrates if I wish to lose weight.
Fact: Its not just carbohydrates, but other sources as well that contribute towards body fat if the individual consumes excess calories than required. Actually, unrefined carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole bread are healthy and nutritious as they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help you stay full for longer periods. It is recommended to make half your grains as whole grains, eat a diet low in fat and high in complex carbs and exercise to lose weight effectively.
Myths and facts are like morning and night-inevitable. People keep creating myths and giving facts that either prove/disprove the myth. Weight loss has become a strenuous task for people nowadays due to their haphazard lifestyles, eating habits and sleeping patterns. Every other day some myth keeps cropping up regarding weight loss. Mentioned here are few such myths that have been disproved strongly.
Myth: Extreme exercise measures is the only solution to weight loss.
Fact: Any long-term weight loss includes making small, effective changes over a period that can be followed all through your life. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise such as fast walking or cycling 5 days a week to stay on a healthy weight. Overweight/obese people need more than this to lose weight. Always remember the basic of weight loss-burn more calories than you consume. For this, one must eat right, burn more calories and stay active.
Myth: You need to shell out more money to eat healthy food.
Fact: Initially you might feel that eating healthy foods such as fruits, veggies and whole grains cost you more than inexpensive ones such as pastries or cookies. The key to eating healthy food at less cost is to replace ingredients with healthy alternatives. For instance, choosing cheaper meats with cheaper proteins such as beans, pulses or other frozen veggies can help you spend less for more health.
Myth: Eating carbohydrates makes you fatter by the day
Fact: We need foods from all food groups and carbohydrates are no exception. Eating the right quantity of foods and choosing the right foods will never lead to weight gain. Choose carbs that do not contain butter, creamy sauces, etc. and go for healthy ones such as whole wheat bread, mashed potato with skin or brown rice.
Myth: I need to starve to lose weight
Fact: Crash diets are not the key to long-term weight loss, in fact they can lead to weight gain in the long term. This diet is difficult to follow in the long term, is devoid of many essential nutrients, makes the body feel less energized and crave for high-fat or high-sugar foods. Such things can make a person eat more and gain weight.
Myth: Body metabolism depends on the foods consumed
Fact: Metabolism is required for normal functioning of all organs in the body including breathing, digestion and repairing cells. All these processes are fueled by energy and the energy required is dependent on an individual’s body size, age, gender and genes.
Although there are claims that certain foods and beverages might help increase body metabolism by making the person burn more calories and help in weight loss, there is little scientific evidence supporting this. Even some of these proclaimed foods and beverages might be high in sugar and caffeine that is unhealthy for the body. The main way to lose weight is to burn more calories that you consume and eat healthy food with portion control.