By Susan Bianchi, MS Health & Wellness Coach
Our understanding of what are the best health practices for our daily lives continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. Here are some misconceptions and myths that may be getting in the way of your optimum health.
“Don’t eat egg yolks, they are high in cholesterol.” This has been the mantra for the last 30 years. Unfortunately poor understanding of cholesterol and dietary cholesterol has left this nutrient dense and economical food with an unwarranted negative reputation. In fact, recent studies have shown that egg consumption may even improve blood lipid profile and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The incredible egg is quite incredible but only if you eat the whole egg. Eating egg whites has been the alternative to avoid the fat and cholesterol in the feared yolk. However 90% of the nutrients and nearly half of the protein is in that yellow center.
The yolk is packed with key fat soluble vitamins like A, D,E and omega 3. In addition, Calcium, Iron, B6, folate, B12, and zinc and antioxidants are just a few of the many nutrients in this powerhouse. The yolks also contain choline which is vital for cardiovascular and brain function and may decrease inflammation.
Addressing the root causes of inflammation in the body that may be contributing to increased production of cholesterol may prove more vital than fearing the egg. The whole egg is a nutrient dense food in a compact package worth a revisit. Remember, eating a clean, balanced diet with variety and moderation is a good healthy step.
Are you confused? We are constantly bombarded with a different way to eat for weight loss and optimum health. The bottom line is there is no one size fits all diet. We are each bio-individual with unique nutritional requirements. These requirements can change with age, seasons and even hormonal cycles.
While someone may flourish and feel energized with a high protein, paleo style of eating. Another might find themselves sluggish and fatigued eating the exact same way. Having the mindset that there is one strict eating style that is the only way to eat, or employing “my friend lost a lot of weight doing this” mentality may lead you down a road of frustration and fatigue.
The first step is to begin to listen to your body and how it responds to different foods and ratios of foods. If you are starving an hour after your meal, or you are feeling sluggish, your proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats may be out of balance. Feeling satiated and energized 2-3 hours after a meal is a positive indicator that you are on track. Keep a journal in the early stages to not only to track the food but also how your energy levels fluctuate. Remember you are unique and these ratios can shift, so pay attention.
The idea that all calories are the same fails to understand that our body is greatly affected by the composition of those calories. The body utilizes very different pathways to metabolize different foods we eat and our hormones are directly influenced by what those calories are.
The sugar fructose is a prime example. Excess intake of fructose can impact insulin resistance and increase storage of abdominal fat because it is only metabolized in the liver. Unlike the sugar, glucose, ingesting fructose does not suppress the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for making you feel hungry. So 100 calories of fructose does not have the same effect as 100 calories of glucose.
Protein is another example. To digest protein requires a lot of energy. Nearly 30% of the calories from protein are required to metabolize it. Protein also has a strong effect in suppressing ghrelin and stimulates other receptors in the gut that signal to the brain the feeling of fullness.
Understanding the different responses in the body, not all calories are the same. The quality, types and ratios of proteins, sugars and fats have an impact on weight and weight gain. It’s not just a number.
Our ideas of health and healthy choices will continue to shift as we expand our understanding of the complexities of how the body works. Clarifying and dispelling some myths and misconceptions hopefully help you move toward being your best.