It’s April, we welcome spring and hopefully a good laugh on April Fool’s day. Thoughts of April’s Fools got me to thinking about all the confusing information about nutrition and weight loss. You might be wondering, what’s a gag and what’s true? I asked around, what are folks wondering about?
1. Coconut oil will help with weight loss.
Don’t rely on coconut oil for significant weight loss. There are reports to suggest it might help with waist size but these are from a few small studies.
Uniquely, coconut oil contains medium chain length fats, types of fat that are digested, absorbed, and stored differently than longer chain fats, the ones we more commonly consume. Keep in mind, that coconut oil like any oil is high in calories, about 120 calories per tablespoon. Excess calories are going to result in weight gain. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, more saturated than lard. Saturated fat, including coconut oil, has been shown to increase cholesterol.
If you enjoy the taste of coconut oil use it in place of other saturated fats such as butter or other animal fats and keep the portion small.
2. Eat gluten free to lose weight.
Gluten free food is not necessarily healthier than gluten containing food. People who report weight loss after eliminating gluten may be experiencing the result of math – eating fewer calories overall. Eliminating foods from the grain group may include higher calorie snack food and dessert foods or even nutritious cereals, breads, or other wheat varieties of grain. There are nutritious gluten containing and gluten free grains. Like most things, it is how it is prepared and the portion that matters when it comes to how it fits into your diet.
3. Eating before bed makes you gain weight.
Eating excess calories will lead to weight gain. Does that mean timing has nothing to do with it? Here are a few things to consider.
- You are training for an endurance event, you are burning more calories and your body may need more food to meet demands. A snack before bed may help you refuel and sleep better.
- You work second or third shift. You are hungry and then want to catch some much needed sleep. Choose tasty, good-for-you foods in reasonable portions. Aim for a balanced meal. This should help keep you within your calorie needs and satisfy your hunger.
- Does that mean the “don’t eat after 7 pm rule” does not apply? Let’s give it perspective. If “don’t eat after 7 pm rule” helps establish meal and snack times so you are not mindless munching in the evening, then it may be helpful.
Weight loss may not be easy and often times keeping it simple can lessen some frustration. Choose nutritious foods, eat a balanced diet, keep portion sizes reasonable, and move your body.