5 Dumb Nutrition Rules Worth Breaking

Cynthia Dermody

steak on forkAll the rules nutritionists, doctors, and weight loss experts throw at us these days are enough to make our heads explode. So. Many. Rules. Eat this, but not that, and not at this time, and this will kill you but this is the healthier choice, but only on Tuesdays ... ACK! No wonder dieters are constantly running for the ice cream to escape the pressure.

Finally, a voice of reason in this madness, Monica Reinagel, a licensed nutritionist and professionally-trained chef on the Nutrition Diva podcast and Nutrition Over Easy blog, is here to make it a little easier on all of us who are trying to eat better and already obsessing over how we're going to look in that bikini come summer. She says lot of the food and nutrition “rules” that are floating around out there fall squarely into the total nonsense category, and she sets the record straight on why below.

Moms have enough to worry about. Here are 5 dumb nutrition and diet rules they can cross off their list:


Rule 1: Eat every 2 to 3 hours to prevent metabolism slow-down

Your body doesn't go into starvation mode every time you go several hours without eating. In fact, it takes about three days of fasting or serious caloric restriction for your body to respond with any sort of metabolic adjustment. It’s also not necessary to eat every few hours in order to keep your blood sugar steady. In fact, spacing your meals out more can have some very beneficial effects on your blood sugar and on other aspects of your health. So if you’ve gotten stuck in the waiting room at the pediatrician, you can give your kids all the Goldfish and not worry forgoing a snack means you’ll wake up two pounds heavier.


Rule 2: Don't eat late or you'll gain weight

Calories consumed after 9 p.m. won’t make you gain weight any faster than calories consumed earlier in the evening. Research shows that what matters most is how many calories you eat over the course of the day, not when you eat them! If you’re putting away a second dinner’s worth of calories before bedtime, that could certainly end up on your hips. But you don’t need to worry if a crazy schedule means a late supper.


Rule 3: Don't consume caffeine because it's bad for you

There are a lot of negative claims about caffeine, most of which are not true. Caffeinated drinks are not dehydrating, caffeine isn’t bad for your heart, it doesn't cause benign breast lumps, and it doesn't weaken your bones. In fact, caffeine has a lot of health benefits: Not only does it stimulate the brain and central nervous system, but it appears to protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.


Rule 4: Choose chicken! It's is always the healthier choice

There are cuts of beef and pork that are just as lean as a boneless, skinless chicken breast. And, by the same token, there are cuts of chicken and turkey that have just as much fat as a well-marbled steak. If you were to replace a serving of London broil with a roasted chicken leg, for example, you’d end up eating three times more fat! Additionally, if you compare lean ground turkey with lean ground beef, guess what? Both have the same amount of fat and calories; but the ground beef has almost twice as much iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 as the ground turkey.


Rule 5: Avoid high-fructose corn syrup because it's the devil!

Biochemically-speaking, high-fructose corn syrup is no more fattening or harmful than regular table sugar. The problem is not the type of sugar we’re consuming these days but the amount! So the solution to our obesity epidemic is not to replace high-fructose corn syrup with a different type of sugar but simply to reduce our consumption of all concentrated sweeteners -- even the “natural” ones! Do continue to read those labels and keep a lid on the amount of added sugar in your diet. But you don’t have to worry about a little high-fructose corn syrup any more than you’d worry about a little cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup.


Reinagel has been spending March -- National Nutrition Month -- doing “Menu Makeovers” in CafeMom's Healthy Weight Loss group. Her new book, Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About, is on shelves now.

Does hearing all this thrill you as much as it does us? Which useless rule are you cheering about?

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