Outdated Dieting Tips and What to Do Instead
Nutrition is a relatively young science, with new studies completed each year. Every study brings scientists a step closer to solving the complex puzzle of how to mix diet and exercise for a healthy life.
With new studies and evolving science, tips on diet and exercise often need to be adjusted to reflect the latest information. Discover three outdated dieting tips and what you should do instead.
Outdated Tip: Eat a Low-Fat Diet
For years we’ve been told to avoid fatty foods. The food industry got on board and provided us with all types of low-fat alternatives to our favorite dishes. The problem is that we missed an important nuance: Not all fats are bad.
Fat is a source of energy. It helps us absorb key vitamins and minerals, and it plays a role in protecting our heart. While trans fats — those found in many processed foods — should be avoided, a moderate amount (10 percent of overall calories) of saturated fat from red meat and dairy is acceptable. The best types of fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can be found in nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fish.
Outdated Tip: Everyone Should Consume 1,200 Calories Per Day
Raise your hand if you’ve heard this outdated tip: To lose 2 pounds of weight per week, you need to eat 1,200 calories per day. This tip often goes on to explain that at 1,200 calories, you’ll be close to putting your body into starvation mode, but not crossing that line.
Today, the science is more refined, less a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a good thing, too, because according to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1,200 calories a day is only enough to sustain a sedentary 7-year-old girl. To calculate a jumping off point for weight loss, determine how many calories you need to sustain your current weight based on your age and activity level, then subtract 500 calories: 3,500 calories equals 1 pound. By subtracting 500 calories every day, you’ll be on the path to losing 1 pound per week.
Outdated: Eat Protein and Carbs Immediately After Working Out
Eating protein and carbohydrates after working out has been a mainstay of exercise and dieting advice and for good reason. Consuming protein and carbohydrates after a hard workout helps to repair damaged tissue and enhance the efficacy of building muscle. While this advice has not changed, the timing of the post-workout meal has, and it’s good news for those of us who don’t like to rush to eat immediately after hitting the gym.
While traditional advice is to eat 15 to 30 minutes after a workout, a recent study has shown that gains can still be made from post-workout fueling when eaten within a three- to four-hour window of a pre-workout snack. While the timing of your meals is still essential, the window is wider than once thought. Keep track of your protein intake using an app such as Lifesum, which will alert you when you need more protein to meet your daily targets.
Don’t get held back by outdated dieting tips. By recalculating your daily calorie needs, focusing on consuming the right amount of good fats, and eating protein and carbohydrates smartly around your workouts, you’ll be on the path to a healthier you.