MAY 2015 MYTHS

Myth: Avocados are fattening

Avocados do contain fat, but the type of “good” fat they provide is actually tied to better weight control. In one recent study, volunteers rated their appetites and feelings of satisfaction after eating meals with or without avocado. The addition of half of an avocado to meals resulted in a significant boost in satiety, and a reduced desire to eat for up to five hours. Additional research has shown that regular avocado eaters weigh less and have smaller waistlines - even when they don’t eat fewer calories. So if you’re watching your weight, don’t be afraid to add a side of guacamole to your order.

Myth: Tough workouts mean better results

Research shows that strenuous “make your fat cry” type of workouts often result in eating more, and becoming less active during non-exercise hours, a combo that can cancel out weight loss benefits, and lead to frustration and exercise burnout. In one recent study, hard-core exercisers lost 20% less weight than anticipated, while moderate exercisers lost a whopping 83% more. The latter group also reported feeling more energetic overall. The lesson: move your body in ways you enjoy and look forward to, and choose workouts that don’t feel like too much work!

Myth: Beans make you gassy

Research shows that beans won’t make you gassy if you eat them on a regular basis. One study asked a group of volunteers to add ½ cup of canned carrots to their diet each day, while a second group added ½ cup of beans. Within the first week, about 35% of the participants in the bean group reported an increase in flatulence, so 65% did not. By week two, reports of more gas dropped to 19%, and continued to decline each week, eventually matching the carrot group. Beans are a powerhouse superfood filled with fiber, plant protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To take advantage of their benefits without the unwanted “side effects” eat them more often!

Myth: Hot peppers cause ulcers

Many people think that spicy foods “burn” the stomach and trigger ulcers. But in fact, the opposite may be true. We now know that most ulcers are caused by bacteria, and hot peppers actually help to kill that bacteria. Capsaicin, the natural substance that gives hot peppers their fire, also stimulates nerve endings in the stomach to trigger the release of chemicals that protect stomach cells. Hot peppers have also been shown to fight heart disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL, and improving circulation. In addition, they help clear congestion, and their vitamins A and C help support immunity.