Home Magazine Issues Aug 2010 - Sept 2010 Health Review: Myths about training & Food

Myths about training & Food

By Anna Erlandsdotter

The type of food we eat has not changed much over the years, however it gives rise to many questions, how to cook it and if and what is good for you. The biggest problem is that we are exercising much less than we used to, but our body remains the same. When it comes to eating it is difficult to measure calories and nutrition in food, thus every Tom, Dick, and Harry can portray themselves as prophets about nutrition. It is often the case that even a trained dietician can tell you as much about how to live a healthy life, as a theologian can tell you about creation of the earth.
Let me try to clear some common myths regarding training and food.
Never eat after six o’clock in the evening, even though starving after the gym.

• Eat, even if it is late! If you starve yourself after a gym session you may as well not go. Muscles are broken down during training. Food and thus energy is needed to restore them – and make them a little firmer. This means you become stronger and can work out harder next time and burn even more calories. If you do not eat anything after going to the gym, your body actually breaks down your muscles to get energy. Low intensity training, is best for burning fat.

• The percentage of fat burned is high during a walk, but you will burn more fat when you engage in high-intensity exercise e.g. running, you experience a longer term of energy consumption after high intense training. Strength training is also a great way to increase fat combustion since muscles are the body’s power plant and have the unique ability to burn fat around the clock.Walking on an empty stomach and then eating breakfast burns fat better.

• It is not as efficient as they say. You burn just a little more fat, percentage wise, if you take a walk before breakfast than after breakfast. For the body, it is better to wait half an hour after a small breakfast, such as yogurt and banana, and then have a walk. Then you save your muscles, as the body uses the breakfast as its energy source. Your workout will then give results, and you can work out harder and burn more fat next time. Never abandon breakfast, you can actually help reduce weight by eating a good breakfast.

Workouts of less than 30 minutes duration will do no good if you want to lose weight
• Any movement counts! It only takes 10 minutes of exercise, three times a day, to maintain good health! If you want to lose weight you probably need to raise the pulse while training and extend the time of exercise. Feel free to do a little bit of everything, climbing stairs, gardening, walking the dog, cleaning, sit-ups, it all helps.

Always drink a cup of coffee before you go to aerobics it helps burn the maximum amount of fat.

• Coffee has a small effect on the increase of fat burning, but it can actually make you push your body to do more than it has fuel for. It is better to eat a snack before exercising.Remember the truism “Fat burns in the flame of carbohydrates” this means that the body needs carbohydrates to break down the fat you eat. Also do not forget that caffeine in high doses is classified as doping.Drink a protein drink before and after each weight training workout. You have to get in a lot of protein to build muscle.

• First, it is quite unnecessary to add extra proteins before a work out. What is important is to be in “energy balance” when you train. Do not forget carbohydrates since they are the easiest energy source for the body to use as “fuel”. Eat a good snack before, and immediately after exercise. For example you could eat fruit, a sandwich and a glass of milk and follow this in an hour with a proper meal. If you do drink protein beverages, make sure you train enough or the excess will show on your stomach.It is better for health to be thin and unfit than to be overweight and have good stamina.

• The opposite is true! It is better to be trained and carry a few extra kilograms, than be very skinny and untrained. There are statistics showing that the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher for a thin and untrained person, than for an overweight and fit person. A thin body has nothing to do with health and wellbeing! If you make the choice between jogging or smaller meals – bet on sports!You become overweight by eating bananas

• This is really not true unless you eat extreme amounts of bananas. For one thing, one banana contains only about 100 calories. In addition when you eat bananas, you also get magnesium and fiber that can help to keep away abdominal fat. A banana is an excellent snack both before and after training.When cooking vegetables, all vitamins disappear

• No, it’s not true. Although some vitamins are lost when vegetables are cooked for too long, they are still useful! You cannot cook all vegetables in the microwave so when cooking be sure to use as little water as possible and when frying or grilling use a low heat. Many small meals are better than one big meal for weight loss

• There is no scientific evidence that people who eat several small portions rather than few big meals, for example breakfast, lunch and dinner, maintain their weight easier. The important issue is how much you put into your body during the day. However people who eat only 1 meal a day tend to overeat, and eat more unhealthy snacks in between meals this results in consuming more calories than necessary, in a day.Margarine is better than butter as fat source
• For many years now we have been told that margarine is healthier than regular butter. Honestly, all of this has no scientific foundation. You can in good conscience have real butter on your bread, or use it to fry food in, but as mentioned earlier, do not go to extremes!

Coconut fat is bad because it contains saturated fat
• For some obscure reason, there was a time when it was said that all saturated fats were unhealthy. That is not true. Unrefined coconut oil is an excellent fat it is anti-inflammatory, and good for frying.Try to eat food that is as“ clean” as possible, avoid eating too much processed food which often contains flavor enhancers for example E621, and monosodium glutamate. Today we know that high levels of E621 can attack brain cells. Animals exposed to E621 during pregnancy have offspring that are less intelligent, of shorter stature, are overweight and suffer hormone disruption. Monosodium glutamate is a common additive in a lot of food and drinks which are attractive to children, thus they risk exposure to quite high amounts. I think this is a terrible experiment with our children’s future health!

When it comes to training there are some points worth considering, all exercise counts from the time you wake up! Implement training in your daily life. Find a way of training that makes you happy, whatever it is, and you are more likely to continue and make it a part of your daily routine. Then find a place for exercise close to either your home or work place so you have easy access!

For more information, please contact:
Anna Erlandsdotter
31 Acacia Avenue, Kololo – Kampala
Mobile: +256 701 095639 / +256 776 035587