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Nutrition Myths and Facts Learn the Truth

Myth : If you're craving certain foods, it's because your body needs the nutrients they provide.

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Fact: If this we're true, more people would be craving fruits and vegetables, your best source for many vitamins and minerals. Rather, women tend to crave sweets, says a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

Ask yourself what could be contributing to cravings. Consider biological signals like hunger and environmental cues such as smells and television commercials, suggests an ADA registered dietitian. Many women experience more cravings around their menstrual cycles, a result of shifting or surging hormones.

Craving something sinful? "Select something healthy first, and if you're still hungry for that piece of cake, then have a piece and move on," says the dietician.

Bottom Line: We have cravings for all kinds of reasons. If you focus on those good-for-you foods first, a little junk every now and then won't hurt.

Myth : Dark breads are more nutritious than white breads.

Fact: "You can't judge a bread by it's color. You need to read the list of ingredients and look at the nutrition facts panel," "Wheat bread isn't whole wheat bread," she adds. You have to dig a little more to discover just what your sandwich is made of.

The first ingredient listed should be 100 percent whole wheat or other whole grain (such as barley or oats). "Enriched wheat flour" is the long way to say white flour. Sometimes darker breads will have caramel or other coloring added, so you're getting nothing more than a colored white bread, says Neville.

Bottom Line: Choose breads with the first ingredient listed as 100 percent whole wheat or other whole grainsuch as barley or oats.

Myth: Since herbs are natural, all herbal products are safe.

Fact: "All-natural certainly does not mean all-safe," . "Cocaine, opium and tobacco are all examples of plants that have serious side effects. In fact, many of our powerful drugs, like digitalis (a heart medicine), are plant derivatives."

Because herbal and other dietary supplements are not regulated, different batches and different brands may have varying levels of purity and concentration. Without standardization, they may not be as safe as you think. And, they may not actually do anything to improve your health.

Bottom Line: Before self-dosing with a supplement, seek medical advice.

Myth : Water is all I need to rehydrate after exercise.

Fact: If you sweat a lot during exercise or other work, then you'll likely need extra sodium along with your fluids. "The Dietary Guidelines recommended intake of 2,300 milligrams sodium per day is a good rule of thumb for recreational athletes, but if you're an endurance athletelike triathletes or marathonersyou may need to experiment with replenishing the sodium you lose through sweat."

Since sweat contains water, sodium and other electrolytes, rehydration requires more than water. Sports drinks provide small amounts of sodiumroughly 50 to 200 milligrams in 8 ouncesand are often critical during activities lasting an hour or more. But they will not suffice for recovery. Make some of your recovery foods salty like pretzels, crackers and soup. Sometimes even the saltshaker is a good idea. But don't take this as license to go overboard. If you're not training or competing, stick to lower- sodium choices most of the time.

Bottom Line: Drink small amounts of a sports drink throughout a workout lasting longer than an hour, and consume salty foods and water afterward.

Myth : I should drink eight glasses of water a day.

Fact: There's no need to measure your water intake. Under usual conditions, let thirst be your guide, says the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. IOM's report sets a general recommendation of 91 ounces of waterfrom food or beverage sourcesfor women. You can meet your water needs from plain water, flavored water, sodas, juices, milk, as well as fruit and cooked pasta and rice.

And there's good news for all you coffee and tea lovers. Caffeinated beverages contribute to our water needs. According to the IOM, previous thoughts about the dehydrating effects of caffeine we're overstated. The water in coffee and tea compensates for the caffeine.

Hydration during endurance exercise is a different story. If you do not drink enough during exercise, you do risk dehydration. To gauge your hydration status and your fluid needs during exercise, weigh yourself before and after. Your post-exercise weight should not be more than a couple pounds lighter than your starting weight. If it is, you're not drinking enough appropriate fluids during activity.

Bottom Line: All beverages and even food contribute to your fluid needs. Drink to your thirst except during intense exercise and after. Then you may need to drink according to a schedule.

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Posted in Other Health and Medical Post Date 04/16/2015


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