Breaking down some common diet myths

Celery has been rumored to be a negative calorie food. At six calories a stalk, some think it might take more energy to crunch it down. Yet researchers at the Mayo Clinic say that simply isn't true. Here are some more answers to those nagging diet misconceptions.

Many people believe they will gain weight when they eat late at night. The Journal of Nutrition found that when people skimp or skip on the first two meals of the day, they are more likely to eat too much at night; a time when most of us are less active. Too many calories with little movement is a recipe for weight gain as it's the total amount of calories consumed in a day in coordination with the amount of movement you do that determines if calories will be stored as fat.

What about foods that have the ability to flush fat out of our system? Scientists say to date there are no foods that burn or flush fat, but there are quite a few low calorie or cruciferous foods, like grapefruit or cabbage, that can be helpful to dieters do to their high water or fiber content. Eating a half a grapefruit before each meal does help regulate insulin, a fat storage hormone, so it may help you eat less and feel better.

What about exercising on an empty stomach, will more fat be lost this way? Truthfully yes, but there's a caveat. Studies show that exercisers who skipped breakfast don't last as long as those who nosh. Not only that but those working out on an empty tummy have been shown to eat more post sweat session. The bottom line is how many calories you've burned in total, not necessarily how much fat was burned.

Does blotting visible grease on food help cut fatty calories? Actually yes. A slice of medium cheese pizza that's been blotted can trip 45 calories and five fat grams. Of course the better bet is to order veggie pizza with less cheese and save far more.

Finally, can coffee really rev up metabolism? A resounding yes, but with a condition. It's got to be black. A study in the journal 'Metabolism,' found 2 cups of coffee can burn 50 extra calories for a typical woman. However, adding milk or sugar can cause insulin levels to rise which diminishes the effect.


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