E-Kidney | April 2012

Are You a Diet Myth Victim?

Find out if you have harmful "health foods" hiding in plain sight as the National Kidney Foundation Busts 5 Common Diet Myths. Extend your spring cleaning to the kitchen pantry and tip the scale in the direction of your weight loss goals.

  1. Top 5Olive oil and canola oil are lower calorie choices. While these oils have health benefits, they are not any lower calorie than vegetable oil. All of these oils are 100% fat. Put oil in a spray bottle to lightly coat the pan without adding layers of fat and calories.
  2. Granola and trail mix are healthy snacks. Store bought granolas and trail mixes are often loaded with ingredients that make them more of a high calorie treat. If you’re craving something savory, reach for unsalted nuts instead. Almonds, walnuts and peanuts are very low in sodium, high in protein and fiber and they contain the healthy kind of fat that doesn't raise cholesterol. Nuts are also very low on carbohydrates so they're an excellent snack choice, even for diabetics. Craving something sweet? Make your own granola and trail mix at home to limit the calories, sugar and fat. Compare nutrition labels between store bought brands to determine which product is a better fit for your dietary and nutritional needs. Instead of eating a whole bowl, add a small amount of granola to plain yogurt to add crunch, or make your own oatmeal to get the health benefits of eating oats without the added sugar in granola. Fresh and dried fruit (without any added sugar) are also healthier sweet snack alternatives. As with anything, moderation is key!
  3. Salads are always a healthy low-fat choice. That's not necessarily true when there are added nuts, croutons, tortillas, dried fruits, cheese and high fat dressings. When eating salads that have those added items, you lose the low cal benefit and can end up eating much more fat than you wanted to. When loaded with these “extras”, some salads can actually contain more fat and calories than a hamburger. As a general rule, if you’re looking to lose weight, try to limit the number of non-vegetable ingredients in your salad, as these often add calories, sugar and fat.
  4. Salad dressings just add to the taste but not to the fat content. They can be very high in fat so put dressings on the side when eating out. Look for low fat, low cal dressings or make your own with natural ingredients --fresh lemon, spices, small amounts of oil and vinegar.
  5. Sugar free desserts are better for you than their sugary counterparts. “Sugar-free” products typically do not contain any sucrose or table sugar, but this doesn’t mean they are carbohydrate or fat-free. It’s important to read the nutrition label completely to find out what ingredients are in these items and how these may fit into your dietary plan and nutrition needs. In some instances you may be better off with a smaller portion of the regular variety of an item that contains sugar than the sugar-free product. It’s all about portion control.

If you’re looking to lose weight, check with a dietitian or doctor about a diet plan that’s right for you before making any dietary changes.  Also, if you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, ask your clinician if you are eligible for a Medical Nutrition Therapy consultation with a dietitian.