10 Diet and Exercise Myths That Won't Go Away
by Joseph Mercola: Flush
These 'Dementia Markers' Out of Your Bloodstream
can damage your fitness plans. Yahoo Shine and CNN have collected
some of the most pervasive and damaging fitness-related rumors.
Here are some of them:
Strength training will bulk you up
In fact, researchers
have found that working out with heavy weights increased exercisers'
sleeping metabolic rate (the number of calories burned overnight)
by nearly 8 percent. That's enough to lose about 5 pounds in a year
All calories are equal, so it doesn't matter what you eat
take more work to eat, and therefore burn more calories while you're
digesting them. Eating vegetables and lean cuts of meat can increase
your calorie burn by up to 30 percent.
Eating fat will make you fat
of the right kinds of fat in your diet is actually essential for
Diet soda will help you lose weight
Diet soda can
increase your risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that
includes high levels of belly fat, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
– Your cardio machine is counting the calories you're burning
trainer or treadmill cannot accurately gauge how many calories you're
burning without knowing your weight, sex and body composition.
Low-intensity exercise burns more fat
The more intensely
your exercise, the more carbs you burn, and when your body has burned
up all the carbs, it starts burning fat.
To see the
rest of the tips, you can click on the link below.
mainstream media "myth" lists only perpetuate misinformation (such
2010 list of 12 health myths), but in this case both Yahoo Shine
and CNN have compiled thoughtful lists that help bust some of the
most prevailing myths when it comes to diet and exercise
and needless to say there's no shortage of these around.
I'm going to
touch on some of the most important from the lists below, as well
as add a few of my own, since these mistruths can, and do, have
a massive impact on tens of thousands, if not millions, of people.
Myth #1: Long
Cardio Workouts are the Key to Weight Loss
If you walk
into any gym, you'll see most people crowding the aerobics equipment
and using the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour or so,
thinking they're getting an excellent workout. I really don't blame
them as I was caught up in the same misinformation for over FORTY
years and only recently learned that there are FAR better forms
of exercise, especially for those who are older than 40.
There is a
growing body of excellent scientific research showing that you can
perform a significantly SHORTER workout, at a greater intensity,
and get BETTER results than the usual, time-consuming cardio routines.
for this is because high-intensity exercises like my
Peak 8 program engage a certain group of muscle fibers that
you cannot engage through aerobic cardio, and these engaging these
muscle fibers cause a cascade of positive health benefits, including
improved fat burning. Peak 8 exercises will also boost your
body's natural production of human growth hormone (HGH) which
is a vital hormone that is key for physical strength, health and
high intensity exercises you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic
threshold for 30 seconds, followed by a 90 second recovery period.
The cycle is then repeated for a total of eight repetitions
hence the term "Peak 8."
of Peak 8 exercises is the amount of time you save. Including a
three-minute warm up and two-minute cool down, your total time investment
is a mere 20 minutes as opposed to your regular hour-long treadmill
session, and you are really only exerting yourself for
I've been doing
Peak 8 exercises since April 2010 and have shed over 17 pounds of
fat and three inches off my waist while gaining more than five pounds
of muscle, all while dramatically reducing the time I spend in the
gym. For a more in-depth explanation of the peak fitness program,
which is a comprehensive exercise plan that also includes strength
training, core exercises and stretching, please review
this recent article.
Myth #2: Diet
and Exercise are Equal When it Comes to Losing Weight
is important and crucial for weight loss, the foods you choose to
eat are THREE times more important for controlling your weight than
your exercise. It's very easy to sabotage yourself with sugary foods
and beverages, especially those that contain
fructose. This includes so-called "healthy" beverages like "vitamin
water," energy drinks, and similar types of sports and recovery
is hidden in virtually every processed food, tricks your body into
gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your
body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately
stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the
"hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"),
which together result in your eating more and developing insulin
rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"),
decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood
sugar, and high blood pressure i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
For a nutritious diet that will help your body to naturally return
to its optimal weight, without leaving you hungry, find out your
type using this free assessment.
Myth #3: It
Doesn't Matter What Time of Day You Exercise
First let me
make it clear that any time spent exercising is better
than no exercise at all. So if you're extremely busy and can only
carve out time for exercise at a set time each day, so be it. But,
if you can work it, there is reason to believe that exercising
first thing in the morning may give you added benefits (and
coincidentally this is also the most convenient time for many).
I'm an advocate
of exercising first thing in the morning for two reasons:
- It gets
done. Despite your best intentions, any number of things can happen
in the afternoon and evening, making you skip exercise for "lack
- There are
additional health benefits to exercising before consuming your
first meal of the day
one recent study found that exercising before breakfast counteracts
poor diet and helps with weight loss.
One of the
explanations for how exercising on an empty stomach can prevent
weight gain and insulin resistance despite overindulgence is that
your body's fat burning processes are controlled by your sympathetic
nervous system (SNS), and your SNS is activated by exercise and
lack of food.
of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors
and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP Kinases), which force the breakdown
of fat and glycogen for energy. This is why training on an empty
stomach will effectively force your body to burn fat.
A minor refinement
of this though that I have recently adopted is intermittent
fasting that will help you build younger brain and muscle tissue.
This calls for you to exercise in late AM or early afternoon and
remain fasting until 30 minutes after your workout. You can include
20 grams of a fast-assimilating protein like a high-quality whey
protein concentrate 30 minutes before if you want.
Myth #4: Diet
Foods Will Help You Lose Weight
pantry with diet foods is one of the surest ways to lose the battle
of the bulge, and this is largely due to the fact that they're loaded
with artificial sweeteners. Substances like Splenda
may have zero calories, but your body isn't fooled. When it gets
a "sweet" taste, it expects calories to follow, and when this doesn't
occur it leads to distortions in your biochemistry that may actually
lead to weight gain.
As far as "sweetness
satisfaction" in your brain is concerned, it can tell the difference
between a real sugar and an artificial one, even if your conscious
sweeteners tend to trigger more communication in the brain's pleasure
center, yet at the same time provide less actual satisfaction.
So when you
consume artificial sweeteners, your body craves more of it and real
sugar, because your brain is not satisfied at a cellular level by
the sugar imposter! By the way, craving sugar is one of the surest
ways to add extra calories to your diet. So avoid artificially sweetened
"diet" foods if you care about keeping your weight in check.
Myth #5: You're
Destined to Gain Weight as You Get Older
is not a rite of passage into your middle-age years, but the problem
for many is that weight gain is insidious. It creeps up gradually
as you become less active than you were in your 20s and 30s, and
suddenly that pound a year has added up to 10, 20 or more extra
pounds as you head into your 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond.
Adding to the
equation, if you don't stay physically active you will lose muscle
mass as you age, starting around age 40.
This loss of
muscle means you'll burn fewer calories both when you're active
and at rest, plus your body composition will shift to less muscle
and more fat. The solution is remarkably simple, however, and does
not require plastic surgery like liposuction or even starving yourself
on a diet of celery sticks. All you need to do to stay lean and
fit well into your older years is eat healthy (see my nutrition
plan for a comprehensive guide) and get moving.
As I mentioned
earlier, you can virtually guarantee that you will stay slim as
you age if you eat
right for your nutritional type and follow my Peak
Fitness Exercise Program, including Peak 8 exercises. This is
your best "prescription" for avoiding middle-age spread.
Get the Truth
about Food and Fitness
If you're like
most Americans you probably have between a few and several unnecessary
pounds you'd prefer to not carry around every day. I'm here to tell
you that not only is it possible to take off the extra weight with
a little thoughtful planning, it is also possible to keep the weight
off simply by following a few sensible guidelines like those noted
In your journey
to your optimal weight, and beyond that to optimal health, please
remember that you can take advantage of the wealth of free health
information at Mercola.com by using the search engine above. It
is a treasure-trove of valuable advice that is literally at your
two places to look first in your quest for weight loss and health
are my comprehensive
nutrition plan and Mercola
Peak Fitness. Both of these resources are free and can have
a powerful and dramatic influence on your ability to achieve optimal
2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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