Eating a healthy diet can be more complicated than it first appears. Should you eat a low-fat diet? What about a gluten-free diet? Can certain foods help you lose weight? If you’re like most people, you have plenty of questions about which foods to eat to keep your body healthy and which foods to avoid. It doesn’t help that new information about diet and nutrition is constantly emerging, so that the nutrition basics you may have grown up with are now considered obsolete and, in some cases, even dangerous.
It can be hard, too, to sort out the facts when you’re faced with so much conflicting nutrition information. Let’s take a look at some of the nutrition facts you need to know.
1. Vitamin D Can Help You Lose Weight
You may have heard that certain foods, like grapefruit, cabbage or celery, can help you lose weight. You may even have heard that vitamins like B12 can raise your metabolism and burn off extra pounds. For the most part, specific foods and vitamins don’t bring any special weight loss powers to the table. But according to research from the University of Minnesota Medical School, vitamin D may be the exception.
In a clinical study comprised of 38 participants, researcher Shalamar Sibley found that a vitamin D deficiency could make it harder to lose weight. The human body makes its own vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight, but it’s definitely possible to develop a deficiency in this key vitamin. In fact, a full 36 percent of otherwise healthy American adults are experiencing a vitamin D deficiency, and almost 57 percent of people admitted to the hospital are deficient in vitamin D. People who don’t get outdoors enough, especially those who live in cold northern climates, are at the biggest risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. It’s not a bad idea to take daily vitamin D supplements, especially if you work indoors, often use sunscreen or live in a cold northern climate. You can order vitamin D supplements from our Canadian pharmacy.
2. You Can Keep Eating Gluten
Gluten-free is the latest diet fad, but there’s no reason for most people to skip eating this nutrient, which is the primary protein found in wheat. It’s true that some people can’t eat gluten. Those with celiac disease will experience inflammation of the small intestine if they eat even a small amount of gluten. That inflammation can cause debilitating pain and permanent damage to the intestines, as well as serious symptoms like infertility and seizures. There are also people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but again, these people experience painful symptoms when they eat gluten.
If you don’t have either of these conditions, there’s no benefit to going gluten-free. It will make it harder for you to find things you can eat, and could leave you vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies — Americans get many of their vitamins and minerals from fortified wheat flour and gluten-free alternatives usually aren’t fortified.
3. Eating Late at Night Won’t Make You Fat
Unless, of course, your late-night snacking causes you to consume more calories than you expend throughout the course of the day. The calories in your favorite foods don’t magically start to multiply once the clock strikes 8:00 p.m. Watch your calorie intake throughout the day, but don’t feel like you have to forgo a late-night, healthy snack just because of the time.
4. You Need Some Fat in Your Diet
Not so long ago, low-fat diets were the strategy of choice for anyone who wanted to lose weight. It made sense — the scientific knowledge of the time seemed to indicate that eating fatty foods makes people fat. But it’s not that simple.
Now we know that there are such things as “good” fats and “bad” fats. Bad fats include saturated and transfats — you should avoid these as much as possible. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, fatty fish and nuts. Not only will eating appropriate amounts of these fats not make you fat, it’ll help you maintain a healthy weight. Aim to consume 15 to 30 percent of your daily calories from fats.
5. Exercise Isn’t the Best Way to Lose Weight
No one’s saying you shouldn’t exercise — it has plenty of health benefits. But if you’re looking to lose weight, exercise isn’t the most efficient way to go about it. You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound — that’s the equivalent of jogging for several hours. But if you cut 300 calories out of your daily diet and increase your activity to burn a further 200 calories every day, you’ll be able to burn about a pound a week.
Do you know as much about the basics of nutrition as you thought you did? Since researchers are always learning new things about the science of nutrition, it’s a good idea to keep abreast of the newest developments in this field. You never know what science will learn about nutrition in the future.