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Three Big, Fat Dietary Myths

Apr 19, 2008
The first myth is middle-age spread is inevitable. This one says as we age, we lose muscle, become more sedentary, all while taking in the same amount or more calories, so we gain weight. Funny, this has not happen to Jack LaLanne, nor to my mother, who lived to 97 and was very active her whole life, nor countless other active people who take care of themselves.

Yes, as we age we lose muscle, but we can reverse that to a great degree with strength/resistance work. Because many people choose to, they become more sedentary as they age. That does not mean anyone has to follow that worn out pattern, and plenty of people today do not.

Same goes for taking in the same amount of calories that we have always taken in. There is no law that says you have to follow that pattern. If you are less active than you once were, you can prudently cut back a couple of hundred calories a day and not endanger your health. In fact many studies show ingesting fewer calories has many positive health effects, including actual life extension.

All these middle age myths are just that, myths from a long ago era, and total hogwash. For those who educate themselves and do not buy into pop wisdom, this is a new world, the most spectacular humankind has ever known. People today perform exercise and athletic feats way past middle age, and into their 90s and beyond. The 101-year-old man from Great Britain who is training to run a full marathon was in the news recently. No middle age spread for these folks! They keep themselves fit and so can anyone, no matter what their age.

Big, fat myth number two is we have to eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products for optimum nutrition, especially protein. This is totally, irrefutably false. And that is not my opinion but the learned conclusion of The China Study and hundreds of reputable scientific studies and dozens of other books. The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, is a thoughtful, scholarly, remarkable book I urge you to read. Animal experiments cited by Dr. Campbell show rats fed low-protein diets were spared liver cancer, and also had lower blood cholesterol, more energy and voluntarily exercised twice as much as the high-protein rats.

Unlearn the lack-of-protein and other myths about eating plant-based foods. If you eat a balanced, plant-based diet emphasizing vegetables and fruits, whole grains, complex carbohydrates, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats, you will get more than enough protein. That has been my experience. And always remember if you are interested in fat loss and healthy leanness: all excess calories, whether they are in the form of fat, carbohydrate or protein, get stored as fat.

The final myth is that it is advisable to take vitamins and supplements. I used to believe this, but I now thoroughly disagree. I have done both -- taken vitamins and supplements, and not taken them -- and noticed no changes whatsoever in my energy levels, overall health, and resistance to colds, flu, or other contagious conditions. Again, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and his son Thomas explain this complex, fascinating area brilliantly in The China Study.

Of course manufacturers love to produce vitamins and supplements, citing studies that they are beneficial to health and necessary as a form of health insurance, because of our depleted soils. What these products really are, are cash cows and manufacturers have the money to hire doctors, researchers, nutritionists and others to state all the claims are the real deal. Consumers love to buy into this, particularly those who eat a junk diet and try to balance it out by taking supplements and vitamins.

But you do not have to go along with the hype and can reject such claims. You can just as easily accept the evidence that the best way to get all the nutrients you need is by eating a balanced, wide variety of whole, fresh natural foods, more plant-based than animal-based.

One vitamin all legitimate health authorities recommend those eating a plant-based diet get enough of is vitamin B-12. I get mine from nutritional yeast; it is also available in foods fortified with it, and in supplement form. But otherwise, manufactured vitamins and supplements are not a magic potion for good health, and I have personally enjoyed spectacular health for many years without taking any whatsoever.

Free yourself from these three big, fat dietary myths so many people buy into, and your overall health and fitness will benefit.
About the Author
Jerome Kellner is a fat loss and fitness professional and author of The Maui Diet. Find out more about fat loss the easy, healthy way, by eating a plant-based diet of whole, natural foods at http://www.themauidiet.com.
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