Myths and misconceptions

  • Typically, the majority of patients with obesity have no hormonal problems.
  • Obese people absorb nutrients in the same way as others.
  • Constipation has no influence on weight.
  • Eating fast doesn´t affect weight, it usually just increases the amount of food we eat.
  • Vitamins and minerals, as opposed to fats, protein and carbohydrates, are nutrients that do not contribute calories, and are not, therefore, fattening.
  • Salt fattens: salt is a mineral and has no calories. It can cause liquid retention in patients with heart, kidney or liver conditions, but it doesn´t affect weight in healthy people.
  • Drinking water when eating is fattening: water has no calories and is not therefore fattening, whether is drunk before, during or after meals. Drinking water before a meal helps to produce a feeling of satiety, so it can help to reduce the appetite and moderate the quantity eaten.
  • Fruit after meals is fattening: the order in which foods are eaten does not affect their ability to fatten, what counts is the daily total of calories. A piece of fruit contributes the same number of calories before or after a meal. Drinking water before meals or eating fruit before a meal gives a feeling of satiety, owing to its water and fibre content, and can help with eating less of other foods. Moreover, for children who don´t really like eating fruit, eating it before meals when there is a feeling of hunger, could be a good trick to including these foods which are fundamental to a healthy balanced.
  • Bananas are fattening: bananas, grapes, and figs contribute more calories per 100 grams than other fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, and peaches, etc. It is, therefore, only necessary to eat less of them, so that their energy contribution is similar to that of other fruits.
  • Eating only fruit for a day is slimming: eating only fruit reduces the intake of food for one day, but it does not help with losing fat. Eating only fruit for a day gives you a good dose of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, but not of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
  • Bread, pasta and potatoes are fattening: bread, like pasta and potatoes and other tubers, is high in carbohydrates, the nutrient which our bodies need in the largest quantity, and hardly contains any fat at all. The foods which add calories to the diet include butter, sausage, and cream and cheese sauces which are high in fat and contribute many calories and are added in the preparation of many dishes, and toast, although the middle and the crust have the same calorie content.
  • Margarine is less fattening than butter: all vegetable oils (olive, sunflower seed, corn, etc.) have the same calories. Vegetable oil Margarine has virtually the same calories as butter.
  • Uncooked oils are not fattening: oils, whether olive oil or seed oil, contribute the same calories whether they are fresh or cooked, precisely 9 calories per gram, or approximately 100 calories a spoonful.
  • Schoolchildren and teenagers should drink whole milk: skimmed cow´s milk has the same nutrients as whole milk, but contains less fat, and vitamins soluble in fat (A, D, E and K) have to be added. The content of protein and calcium is the same as for whole milk.
  • Pork is higher in fat: the quantity of fat depends on the cut of meat. Accordingly, pork tenderloin is the least fatty, shoulder is a little more fatty, and ribs have the most fat. In addition, pork fat is generally visible and can be easily removed.
  • Olives, avocado pears and dried fruit and nuts contain a lot of fat: Although these foods are high in fat, the type of fat that they contain is unsaturated, also known as “good fat”. For this reason, they should form part of a balanced diet and there is no reason to eliminate them. As part of a slimming diet, they should limited, and alternated, eating one or other, but not all, daily.
  • Fried eggs are banned: eggs are a very nutritious food, they have high quality protein, 4-4.5 grams of fat and many vitamins. All fried foods absorb oil, which increases their calorie content, but despite this, eggs only absorb a limited amount of fat, so the amount of oil used in frying is not important (the average egg contains 90 calories and this increases to 112 after being fried). As egg yolk is one of the foods highest in cholesterol, it is recommended to reduce the quantity consumed, especially in the case of hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol). Despite this, different studies have shown that it is not possible for eggs to increase levels of cholesterol significantly, and in general, eating eggs does not increase the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Genetic disposition is a greater influence as well as a sedentary lifestyle, tobacco, stress and foods high in saturated fats (fats of animal origin) and trans fats (contained in margarine).
  • Stews are high fat dishes: the amount of fat stews depends on the quantity of oil and the type of foods incorporated.
  • Fried foods are not allowed: Fried foods absorb quite a lot of fat. It´s better to use less oil, and preferably olive oil, hot, but not smoking, and to place the fried food in kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat. Despite this, fried foods still have more fat than grilled, baked or steamed  foods.
  • The gas in soft drinks is fattening: The calories in soft drinks come from sugar, not the gas they contain. A can (33 cl) of soft drink (about 140 calories) is the equivalent of a glass of water with 3 or 4 sachets of sugar added. To avoid extra calories, you can drink “light” diet drinks. Although it is important to remember that water is the only drink the body needs, and the one that best quenches thirst, and which has no calories.
  • Wholefoods are not fattening: regardless of the amount, wholefoods contribute more fibre that refined foods, but their calorie contribution is quite similar.
  • Diet foods are slimming: Diet foods have less sugar and fat, and have some 30% fewer calories than the non-diet equivalent. But many diet foods require oil in their preparation (diet pastries, diet mayonnaise, diet chips, or diet paté), and remain high in calories, and should not therefore be abused, as they are not slimming.
  • It´s best to skip meals to slim:  Skipping meals is not a good habit and neither is it slimming. It´s better to divide calories between 4 to 5 meals a day for two reasons:
  • Helps with not getting to mealtimes with a ravenous appetite and the desire to devour food after a period of fasting.
  • Every time we eat, the body uses energy to digest and assimilate the nutrients, so more energy is used.

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