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Old 06-14-2009, 12:27 PM   #1  
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Default Food/exercise/weight loss lies

I've noticed several food/exercise/weight loss lies lately. And they drive me crazy. People want to get healthy, get in shape, lose weight, and feel better. And then advertisers and the media tell us lies about how healthy something is, or how 'easy' it is to lose weight or get fit. Like we don't have enough challenges as it is, we're also getting deceptive messages! I thought I would start a thread about it--to vent a little bit, but also for us all to get together and think critically about these issues.

Lie # 1:
I was in the grocery store yesterday, and I picked up a package of marshmallows.* The package loudly proclaimed "As always, FAT-FREE!" I rolled my eyes in disgust and put the package down. Of course, they are fat-free, marshmallows are primarily sugar! Being fat-free doesn't mean it's a healthy snack, or that you can have as many as you want, or that mixing them with margarine and cereal and cutting them into squares makes them a good breakfast food. But the package didn't mention any of that--it was just incredibly large-bright-bold-font excited about being fat-free. $%&@# package!!

Lie # 2:
There is a commercial I've seen a lot lately. It's for some kind of food (I can't remember which, but it must be some kind of 'treat'), and starts with a voiceover of a woman considering whether to have that treat. And she's thinking, "I missed my workout this morning, but I walked the dog--and I did take the stairs at work today...twice." And the commercial shows a little animated woman going up two sets of stairs. Seriously...? Going up two sets of stairs is how animated-commercial-woman justifies a treat? Even though it's about 30 seconds of exercise?!? Kinda makes me feel silly for going to spin class...

What food/exercise/weight loss lies have you noticed lately? Share! So we can dissect the lies and not fall victim to them.

*Note for the curious--I'm vegan and most marshmallows are made with gelatin, which in 'regular' grocery-store marshmallows is made from animal. So I picked up the marshmallows to read the ingredients listing.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:35 PM   #2  
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Both of those are SO TRUE! I love marshmellows, but I couldn't believe how much the sugars threw off my macros when I entered them into the Daily Plate. It definitely makes me think twice about them!

And the second one is hilarious. I know I've had that mindset before, of walking up a flight of stairs thinking it was some monumental feat worthy of a "reward". I know it was just a commercial, but I think people do have that mindset (as I know I have!)...
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:08 PM   #3  
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Oh, one of my favorites is "Do you want a sub or a Pizzone?" And it's a one pound Pizzone!!

And the young, slim guys they pay to be in the ad (I don't believe for a minute these are people "off the street") always go for the Pizzone! And I'm yelling, "Neither one! Neither! But definitely not the Pizzone! AAAAAAHHHH!!!"

Pizza Hut's website nutrition info lists a serving as being HALF the Pizzone. If you eat a whole Pizzone, you're getting 1,260 calories (more if it's the meaty Pizzone), with 48 grams of fat, 3,180 mg of sodium, and 150 grams of carbohydrates.

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Old 06-14-2009, 01:52 PM   #4  
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Oh lord, every time I see "0g Trans Fat!" on a package, I nearly laugh. It's always on the junk food, too... potato chips, candy bars, that sort of thing. Yeah, trans fat bad, but that alone doesn't make it healthy!

And I HATE how companies try to make food look better by making the serving amount itty bitty. Tostinos single person pizza? 2 servings. Small bag of Doritos? 3 servings. Whaaa?!
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:24 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by Jo Kittibuck View Post

And I HATE how companies try to make food look better by making the serving amount itty bitty. Tostinos single person pizza? 2 servings. Small bag of Doritos? 3 servings. Whaaa?!
OMG this is my pet peeve. I know well enough to pay attention, but my poor DH just can't seem to remember and always forgets to check the serving size. I really think that it should be a requirement to list total nutrition for the package in addition to serving size nutrition.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:29 PM   #6  
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Right on the napkins at Subway they have comparisons between their combo meals and other fast food meals. So they are comparing their 6" sub with no cheese or condiments, a side of apples, and Diet Coke, to a Big Mac Value Meal at McDonalds or a Whopper Value Meal at Burger King. This drives me nuts. The Subway meal is about half the amount of food so it should have half the amount of calories. I wish they would make better comparisons like if you got a 6" sub with cheese and condiments, a bag of Baked Lays, and a Diet Coke, and compare that to the Big Mac Value Meal. It would still be less but the amount of food in the meal would be more similar.

That's one reason I like the bood "Eat This, Not That". Because they are not telling you to eat a grilled chicken breast instead of a Big Mac. If it was as simple as that we'd all be thin already. They compare similar foods and tell you which in that category is the best choice.

Like for instance if you want a fast food breakfast sandwich, you can get an Egg McMuffin at McDonalds for only 300 calories versus many of the other sandwiches at McDonalds, Burger King, etc. that are much more.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:35 PM   #7  
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One of the myths that has tripped me up throughout my life is the "low fat" myth. That if you load up on carbs (i.e. 100-calorie packs of cookies, 'healthy' cereal) and stock up on fat-free substitues of cheese, you'll melt away all your fat. Apparently, due to the theory that if you don't eat any fat, you won't store any fat. No one bothers to point out, of course, that bread gets broken down into sugar in your body, which is then stored as fat unless you eat that cookie while putting in 3 hours on the treadmill. And if there's extra sugar (chocolate, icing, or simple sugar), just forget about it! You can buy all the "fat free" products you want but that doesn't make your body forget how to turn carbs into fat. Not to mention it sets up a negative mindset towards fat, which is a healthy and vital part of the human diet.

Last edited by munchievictim; 06-14-2009 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:16 PM   #8  
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The BIGGEST weight loss myths are, IMHO:
1. You have to understand WHY you are fat before you can lose weight and keep it off. Thanks to Oprah, I spent alot of time and effort in a never-ending circle of self-questioning, instead of accepting the fact that while I may have "issues" (as we all do), action gets better results than navel-gazing. And we all know that, despite all of Oprah's self-awareness, she is back to where she started, so there goes THAT theory!
2. You have such a special metabolism/physical makeup/biology that make you fat, and/or regular diets won't work for you. So you need to buy MY book -- "Eat Right Based on the Length of Your Big Toe", or "If You Have Big Thumbs, You Can't Combine Protein with Fat", or "Outsmart Your Sentient Fat Cell", or "If You Live in the MidWest, Seafood Will Make You Fat"...Just another ploy from the diet industry to get you to buy a new product that promises something quick, easy, and effortless. And if it DOESN'T work, you just haven't given enough thought about your incredible uniqueness so you have to find another book! News flash -- changing your lifestyle is the only key, and to do this, you need to get your food intake under control and up your activity. And all the medical explanations or rationalizations aren't going to change this basic fact. Although for some, it makes for an interesting hobby -- you all know the ones: I'm fat because my right arm has slight muscle weakness which makes it hard for me to chop vegetables, and because my stomach doesn't feel right when I eat salad so I think I'm missing an enzyme somewheres, and the latest internet research proves (!) that there is a correlation between obesity and large earlobes and I don't think that whole grains are a proper match for my blood type and I don't react well to sweating so I can't exercise, and...
3. You have to join a gym in the process. You know, go on a diet and get to the gym three times a week. Well, diet accounts for 80% of your efforts, so you need to get a grip on that. Exercise, as our OP shows, such as climbing the stairs TWICE entitles you to a treat. As our OP says, since WHEN did climbing the stairs twice burn more than about 40 calories?! BUT, for a healthy balanced lifestyle, you need to get some cardiovascular challenge in. And in this day and age of fiscal disaster for lots of us, the message HAS to get out that you can do this without a gym! Play soccer with the kids in the park instead of going to the DQ. Get on your bike! If you want a challenge, take some gear to work and spend 20 minutes just climbing the stairs after work, instead of driving to a gym and simulating this on a stairmaster. Follow the example of so MANY maintainers on this board and learn to run. Challenge yourself every day to do more activity. Don't rely on 30 minutes at a gym to get you fit, because increased overall activity will be better for you in the long run.
Ok, I'm done now!!!


Last edited by kiramira; 06-14-2009 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:12 PM   #9  
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I'm so glad you posted this. I wanted to rant about the sign I saw at Panera today. They were voted "Best Healthy Choice on the Go" or some such nonsense. I am continually stunned when I go out and check out their nutrition information. Many, many of their items are a total train wreck. Their breakfast options in particular seem really bad to me. I have been having a group meeting there for the last few Sunday mornings and their yogurt parfait thing is about the only thing I really feel I can eat in good faith. They have low fat soup options and I suppose their salads are probably ok for the most part (not my favorite restaurant meal) but "best choice on the go"? If that's the bar, I sure wish someone would come along and open a chain that really does a good job of that.

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Old 06-15-2009, 02:11 AM   #10  
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You know what irks me? Seeing all these ads for " I weighed XX before trying fat killer pill and without doing anything at all (phoney laugh here) I lost 5 million pounds! Try it now for only 599.95 plus shipping and handling! (Nother fake laugh inserted)
How many people get taken in on that? So many people with so much hopelessness pinning there hopes on this miracle pill. Just makes me want to hurl something at my tv or torch magazines.

Okay. I feel better now lol.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:23 AM   #11  
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kiramira, #2 in your post cracked me up with the big earlobes and thumbs.

I love the infomercials, where in just 10 minutes a day you can get the rock-solid washboard abs just like steroid-boy in the picture. Somehow I doubt his exercise routine consists merely of using the ab-roller (or whatever the product du jour is) 10 minutes a day.

And the 100-calorie packs crack me up. It's fine that people are eating less, so I guess the 100-calorie pack of oreos is better than an entire package of double-stuffs. But some people think eating those constitutes an entire lifestyle change. "Yeah, the whole family needs to cut back and watch our weight, so I've started buying Chips Ahoy in the 100-calorie packs instead of the full-size boxes. I think it's working." lol
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:28 AM   #12  
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I get really irked by deceptive product labelling practices in general. Touting low fat or low carb, but the calorie count is still really high! And the unrealistically small portion sizes. And the recent fiber bandwagon that products are jumping on, like adding a couple of grams of fiber is automatically going to make something a health food. We have to read the nutritional information!!! Reading the ads on the front doesn't help at all.

And diet plans ... don't get me started. Any plan that says "eat this instead of a meal and lose weight like magic" is automatically suspect in my book. All successful weight loss plans are calorie restricted diets (eat less than you burn). Sure you may lose weight on their shakes/cookies/potions, but what happens when you go "off" their magic plan, will you have a clue how to eat to maintain weight loss? Most don't, and put it all back on.

And exercise machines -- most of those ads crack me up. Get 6-pack abs in just 5 minutes per day! Who are they kidding?? You'll only SEE ab muscles if you lose enough body fat on top of them, and it sure takes more than 5 minutes per day of exercise to do that ....

The secret is -- there is no secret. Exercise regularly and eat healthy portion-controlled meals. To lose weight, eat less than you burn. It's not instant, but it is the only thing that really works in the long term.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:01 PM   #13  
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I think one of the biggest myths is that there is ONE thing that'll work for everyone. On a purely biological basis, of course, if you feed people less calories than they burn, they will lose weight. But how much that burn is, how hungry they are on that level of calories, the schedule they keep, their budget, and a bajillion other factors play into whether a plan works for someone. That's why, even though we may be on a particular plan, we all have to develop our own unique approach to that plan (for example, I consider myself a calorie counter, but simple carbs make me crave more and make me hungry. Even if I have room in my calorie allowance, I tend to skip them for that reason).

Think how strange it would be if the diet industry admitted there was no one solution. If everyone is different, there is no magic pill that will work for everyone. If everyone is different, no diet book that comes out can claim to be the best or claim to work for everyone. It'd be a revolution.
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