For people who want to transition to a healthier lifestyle or those who have been trying to lose weight, “diet” is a word that can trigger complex feelings. Over the years, as humans become more conscious of their health, the term diet has branched out to many different definitions.
It can be difficult to keep track of new diets popping up—there’s a vegan diet, keto diet, low-cholesterol diet, and many more to find with every search engine result. With so many diet options out there, some people don’t know which one they should follow or where to even begin.
It’s important to remember that what works for bodybuilders and models might not work for you. Your body composition, metabolism, and daily habits are unique, and your diet should suit your specific needs.
To help you continue your journey to healthy living, we gathered a few nutritional eating myths that you should leave behind.
Myth #1: Do Not Eat before Bedtime
Bedtime differs for everyone, so if you tell someone to avoid eating after 8 o’clock, they might have problems dealing with their sleep. People who eat too early in the evening and sleep too late may get hungry before bedtime, leading to unhealthy late-night snacking.
The Mayo Clinic suggests avoiding eating 3 hours before bedtime. If you are still awake 4 hours after your last big meal, you may have a light snack before sleeping.
Myth #2: You Must Always Cook Your Food
If you have the time, energy, and resources, it’s best to always cook your food. However, this does not always apply to everyone, as some have tight schedules or limited budgets. To be realistic, it is more than okay to stick to pre-packed meals such as rotisserie chicken, quick rice, salad kits, and ready-to-eat veggies.
Myth #3: Processed Foods Are Unhealthy
Processed foods have gained an awful reputation over the years. You should know that processed foods are not limited to frozen goods drowning in preservatives and harmful chemicals.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines processed food as any raw agricultural food that has been washed, cleaned, cut, dried, canned, cooked, mixed, packaged, and processed in a way that altered the original state of the raw food. Food is also considered processed when seasoned with at least one ingredient, such as salt, pepper, or other condiments.
Simply put, we have been making processed foods and consuming them every day. This definition proves that processed foods are not entirely unhealthy. Instead of avoiding them, it is better to check your food’s ingredient label to see what you are consuming.
Myth #4: Do Not Stress-eat
The reality is, the food you eat has a significant impact on how you feel. Sad people are advised to eat something to balance the chemicals in their brain and regain their positive emotions. While it is true that feelings can make you forget food restrictions, it is essential to have happy foods in your fridge, such as bananas and avocado. These foods are found to increase the release of happy hormones.
Myth #5: “Shop the Perimeter” Supports Your Diet
Grocery stores arrange their products to control the customers’ shopping behavior, making them buy more than they intended. Shopping the perimeter encourages sticking to the outside perimeters of the store because that’s where fresh produce is located. On the other hand, center aisles contain more processed foods that are not helpful for your diet.
However, shopping the perimeter isn’t always suitable for you. Doing so can make you skip the staple ingredients that your body needs to maintain a balanced diet. It’s better to bring a grocery list and stick to it as much as possible to avoid buying unhealthy and unnecessary snacks.
Diet can be defined in so many ways and done in different methods. However, diet is not a template that we can apply to everyone. A healthy diet is knowing what’s inside the food bag you are buying and understanding how these foods directly affect your physical and mental health.
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