Facts and Fallacies about Your Diet

For most people it is all too easy to put on weight and the most likely, reason is that you are eating too much of the wrong, sorts of food. Here are some of the common fallacies about fattening foods.


Grapefruit will burn body fat.


Grapefruit has been the main ingredient in several "miracle" reducing plans. It's a fine food, with relatively few calories and plenty of vitamin C, but it does not burn fat. Unfortunately, no such fat-burning food has yet been discovered.


Bananas are fattening.


Compared with an apple or an orange, a banana has more carbohydrates; yet the average banana has only 60 calories. A medium apple or orange has about 50 calories.


"Sugar-free" foods have fewer calories than those with sugar.


A product can claim to be made without sugar (sucrose) yet be loaded with other kinds of sweeteners that have about as many calories as sugar. Corn syrup, molasses and fructose are all high-calorie substitutes. When you buy something that says it has been made without sugar, check the list of ingredients and compare the calorie count with a similar product made with sugar.


Margarine has fewer calories than butter.


By law, both butter and margarine must have the same fat content of 80 per cent, so you end up with the same amount of calories (about 100 per tablespoon) for either butter or margarine. Diet margarines have about half as much fat and more water, and therefore fewer calories.


Foods like celery and apples have "negative calories" because of the energy needed to chew and digest them.


A calorie is a calorie, whether you're eating apples or strawberry shortcake. An average-size person burns only 0.3 additional calories per minute while eating.

That means a five-calorie stalk of celery would have to be chewed for 17 minutes to have no caloric value. You may have better things to do.


Using "non-dairy" cream substitutes or dessert toppings saves calories.

Fact: Sorry.

Non-dairy creams and toppings have more calories per tablespoon than milk itself, since most of them are made with coconut oil, which has the highest saturated-fat content of any vegetable oil.


All Fish is Low in Calories.


Fish vary widely in fat content. Generally, you can spot fattier fish in a flash-the darker the flesh, the higher the fat content and the more the calories. A fattier-fleshed fish is better suited to grilling or roasting because of the extra oil in it.

A leaner-fleshed fish is often cooked in oil or butter-which may bring the caloric count up to more than that of the same-sized serving of a fattier fish. Instead, grill, poach or steam it.


Meat from cheaper cuts of beef contains more fat.


Not at All.

It depends which part of the animal the meat comes from. Generally, the more expensive the cut, the more marbling--or fat-in the meat. When you're buying beef for the family, choose topside, rump or thick flank for roasting. They are usually leaner than rolled ribs, forerib or sirloin.


Your Stomach Shrinks as You Diet.


When you diet successfully, you get used to eating less food. Your stomach stays the same.

Here are some further food facts which you may find just as surprising. For example, did you know ...

Smaller turkeys and chickens are leaner than larger ones.

Tuna in brine has up to 161 fewer calories per 3.5-ounce serving than the oil-packed variety.

Dry-roasted peanuts-175 calories per ounce-have nearly the same amount of calories as peanuts cooked in oil.

If you use plain low-fat yoghurt instead of cream, you save about 275 calories in every eight fluid ounces.

At 61 calories a tablespoon, honey has more calories than sugar (46 calories a tablespoon).

A hot-dog roll has 108 calories, a hamburger bun, 89. A typical 1.75-ounce hot dog has 124 calories, a three-ounce burger has 140. You get more meat, fewer nitrites and about the same calories when you choose a small hamburger rather than a hot dog.

One ounce of cheese has 122 calories. If you thought that hard cheeses were a low-fat source of good protein, you're wrong. About 75 per cent of the calories are fat, and only 25 per cent are protein.

If you think you're saving calories by eating sorbet instead of ice-cream, you're not. You do get less fat in a sorbet, but you also get more sugar. A helping of sorbet equals 120-150 calories, about the same as a portion of vanilla ice-cream.

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