When you eat celery, do you ever wonder if you’re burning more calories than the celery contains? Do you drink soda wondering if your bone health is suffering? As a therapy professional, the focus is often on what the body can or can't do and how to fix it. Too often, however, the aspect of nutrition and its impact on overall body function is overlooked.
By arming yourself with these 5 simple nutrition facts you will help your clients and yourself to be healthier.
Myth 1: Celery contains so few calories that it takes as many calories to eat it as it contains, so the result is like eating zero or even negative calories.
Truth: Celery has approximately 20 calories in one cup. Although this is a very low amount and it takes a little effort to chew, that effort does not negate the calories in celery. Celery is high in potassium and fiber and is an excellent alternative to higher-calorie snacks. It is the perfect choice if you feel the urge to snack, but know that it is not hunger calling just a desire to munch.
Myth 2: Coffee and other caffeinated beverages cause dehydration.
Truth: Latest studies show that if therapy professionals and other individuals regularly drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, your body has adapted to the caffeine’s weak diuretic effect. However, for those who do not regularly drink caffeinated beverages, there is a slightly higher urine output. But if these individuals regularly drink caffeinated beverages for 3-5 days, their bodies will also tolerate the caffeine, and the caffeinated drink will actually attribute to their total intake of fluids and not cause dehydration.
Myth 3: Sparkling soft drinks such as colas that contain phosphoric acid adversely affect bone health.
Truth: In recent studies where participants drank colas regularly, participants did not show an increase in urinary calcium loss. Past studies found that soda drinkers had lower bone mass for their age and gender, but current researchers attribute this to an overall diet low in calcium and other nutrients essential for bone health, not the phosphoric acid.
Myth 4: Foods that boast “0 trans fat” contain “good’ fats.
Truth: Trans fats are similar to saturated fats in that they both have been shown to increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, decrease high-density lipoprotein HDL, or good cholesterol, and may increase overall inflammation in the body. Always look at the nutrition label and make sure the fat substitution was not for a saturated fat which would not be an improvement at all.
Also, when a product says “0 g trans fat” it can still contain up to half a gram per serving by law. If you eat more than the one serving size you still may be getting more trans-fats than you expected. To limit trans-fats, avoid stick margarine and shortening. Instead, substitute vegetable and olive oils. Limit nondairy creamers, which are rich in partially hydrogenated (partially saturated) vegetable oils.
Myth 5: Multigrain foods are as good for you as foods made with 100% whole grains.
Truth: The nutrition label is your key to knowledge, not the label in the front of the product. Read the nutrition label and see if it says “100% whole” in front of every grain in the ingredient list. “Multigrain” only means that it was made with several different kinds of grains. If the label says “100% whole multi-grain bread”, you’re getting 100% whole grain and are good to go, but if the label says “Made with whole grains”, most likely it will contain very few whole grains.
The importance of good nutrition is nothing new. As therapy professionals, we should be responsible on what we and our patients eat. Know the benefits of every fruit, vegetable and other food intake to keep everyone healthy and strong.
About the Author: Alice Burron, MS, Personal Trainer, Exercise Physiologist, writer and motivational speaker. Alice has spent over 15 years inspiring and motivating adults and kids to live their healthy lives possible.