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Healthy eating in Birmingham – some myths or facts about food, exercise and weight loss?

2nd May 2012
Usman Ahmed Health Trainer in South Birmingham

Usman Ahmed Health Trainer in South Birmingham

I’m Usman Ahmed – one of the Gateway Family services health trainers and I’m constantly finding myself helping people pick their way through the  myths or facts of diet and excercise.

Ever heard of the sayings:

  • “Eating late at night makes you put on weight”
  • “Carbohydrates are fattening”
  • “Low-fat foods always help you lose weight”
  • ” You can eat whatever you want, as long as you exercise”

So Fact? Or Myth? Well lets see….. lets take one at a time:

Eating late at night makes you put on weight.

So, you have had a long day. a late night maybe. and now you’re peckish. But its late and you’re conscious of putting on weight by eating late. Well your body system doesn’t actually work like that. The fact is, too many calories during the day will be your downfall. If a late meal is within your calorie limits then it will be used by the body in the same way as having the same meal earlier. So myth.

Carbs are fattening 

The amount of times I have heard this is ridiculous. “The carbs I eat is making me put on weight” but the take always, the fried breakfasts, the biscuits and all those other snacks are perfectly fine? I don’t think so. This is a myth. Starchy Carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are actually our body’s main source of energy. Its the body’s first choice of energy and should be approximately a third of a normal diet. So next time you think of ditching the bread, first think of the fats and sugars.

Low fat foods always help you lose weight?

Think again. Although some low fat foods may be good for your diet, a fair amount could be doing more bad than you think, thanks to them containing extra sugars and thickeners to boost the flavor and texture. Some people also mistakenly believe they can eat more if they’re choosing low-fat products. But this is rarely the case. In reality, two low-fat biscuits, for example, will probably contain more calories than one standard one. Myth

You can eat whatever you want, as long as you exercise

That’s what our parents always used to say. Well, I just wish that were true… but its far from the truth.  The truth is, exercise helps burn calories. So you had two biscuits. lets say milk chocolate digestives. That’s 84 calories each. 168 calories in total. Now to burn off two biscuits sounds easy. Well an adult of 12st would have to run approximately 1 and a half miles to burn off two biscuits. So to eat what you want and to think a bit of exercise will burn it off would be very wrong. Exercise helps, but don’t expect it to work with out controlled eating.

This is my first post on the gateway website – normally I blog over on another Gateway site where we share advice for leading healthy lifestyle in Birmingham (and other places).  If you want more good advice and your from South Birmingham (I work in places like Hall Green, Billesley but my colleagues cover much of South Birmingham) on ways to keep healthy then you can contact our health trainers – details here.

This was first published here.

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