28 NovBreaking Down Myths: 12 Foods You Should Think About

 1 Pasta

fat-free-carb-foodMYTH: This fat-free carb food won’t make you fat.

FACT: Pasta is nearly fat-free, but at 40 grams of carbs per scant level cup, a small bowl can quickly push your carb intake to a level that might prevent you from getting as lean as possible. The solution: Mix fiber-rich vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, cauliflower and mushrooms into the pasta. A half-cup of low-cal veggies per half-cup pasta keeps the carb and calorie content under control while providing added vitamins, minerals and fiber.

2 Grapes

MYTH: Grapes are a great fruit when dieting.

FACT: Grapes, especially red ones, are nutritious, but you shouldn’t pop them nonstop into your mouth. To get the greatest bang for your buck, better choices of fruit are available. According to fitness pro Beth Horn, grapes don’t aid in appetite control, an important factor in controlling bodyfat. “Bananas, apples and strawberries yield more fiber than grapes and contain more fructose,” she notes. The benefit: Fiber and fructose help contribute to satiety whereas glucose, the type of sugar common to grapes, can increase the appetite.

3 Instant White Rice

MYTH: Instant white rice is the top bodybuilding carb.

FACT: This may be one of Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman’s favorites for gaining mass, but basmati rice is a better choice for dieters. Instant white rice, which is extremely refined and rated as a high-glycemic carbohydrate, fairly rapidly breaks down into glucose, the most basic unit of carbohydrate. High-glycemic carbs are potent stimulators of the appetite, while low-glycemic carbs digest slower and exert a significantly less stimulatory effect on the desire to eat. As with pasta, mix your slow-burning basmati rice with a variety of vegetables to help cut back on calories while providing a greater volume of food,

4 Wrong Cuts of Red Meat

MYTH: Red means lean.

Many cuts of beef far exceed what bodybuilders would consider to be low in fat. A classic mistake is to believe filet mignon is low in fat due to its deep-red color. Yet the fat content is trapped inside or within the meat; a single 6-ounce serving can yield as much as 26 grams of fat. San Francisco Pro Invitational winner Lee Priest knows he can rip up by including creatine-rich red meat in his precontest diet as long as he sticks to the cuts lowest in fat. “Ask your butcher to grind up eye of round steak, round or flank steak,” Lee advises. “Those are lowest in fat and calories. Stay away from the ground beef you find in the grocery store because it’s much higher in fat than grinding your own select cuts.”

5 Cream of Wheat

MYTH: Best hot cereal for dieting.

FACT: Hot cereals taste great with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a couple of packets of sweetener such as Equal or Splenda, but cereal products differ greatly. Cream of Wheat is fast-digesting, which could leave the dieter hungry Fast-acting carbs, sometimes termed high-glycemic carbs, shoot in and out of the stomach without triggering a feeling of fullness or satiety

Oats, oatmeal, oat bran and cream of rye cereal are much slower-digesting alternatives that quell the appetite and provide more sustained energy due to their significantly higher fiber content. IFBB pro Mike Matarazzo switches from Cream of Wheat to oatmeal as a competition approaches. “In the off-season, when I’m trying to eat a lot of calories and carbs, Cream of Wheat is easy because it doesn’t fill me up. But for competition, I have to eat less, so I change over to oatmeal. The oatmeal lasts with you. It makes you feel full.”

6 Fruit Juice

MYTH: It’s fruit, so it can’t be fattening.

FACT: When it comes to carbohydrates and getting lean, fruit juices fail to deliver. Juices take up as little space as possible in the stomach, which leaves the dieter hungry rather than satisfied. Unlike whole fruit, juices are devoid of fiber; further exacerbating hunger. Fiber-rich foods, on the other hand, help keep the appetite under control. Opt for whole fruit instead of juice. You’ll be less hungry while you benefit from a greater fiber, vitamin and mineral content.

7 Raisins

MYTH: Dried fruit is low in calories.

FACT: While bodybuilders can benefit from an ample amount of fruits providing important vitamins, minerals and fiber, raisins are simply too dense in carbs to be considered a viable precompetition or cutting food. At about 65 grams of carbs per half-cup serving, raisins should be reserved for mass-gaining diets where a sky-high carb intake is the call of the day. For washboard abs, stick to lower-carbohydrate and therefore lower-calorie fruit such as strawberries, peaches, plums and cantaloupe.

8 Bagels

MYTH: Not fattening.

FACT: A single small bagel yields approximately 40 grams of carbs and a large one can yield up to 75 grams — too many for fitness competitors at one sitting and even too many for smaller bodybuilders (bantamweight to middleweight). Though bagels are low in fat, their high carb content is something to consider when you’re trying to limit carbs to 1.5-2 grams per pound of body weight daily. For alternatives, try rye bread and oatmeal bread, Both are the lowest-glycemic breads, which means they stay with you longer and don’t leave you hungry.

9 Rice Cakes

MYTH: One of the best snacks for dieters.

FACT: While rice cakes are low in cabries, in one respect they’re like other snack foods: It’s hard to stop at just a few, especially if they’re coated with cheese, caramel or apple flavorings. Rice cakes are higher than white bread on the glycemic index, which means they won’t help curb the appetite. Though fitness pro and personal trainer MaDonna Grimes enjoys these tasty treats, she recommends otherwise to her clients: “Some of my clients can’t stop at just a handful. They get comfortable in front of the TV or computer and eat the entire bag.” Sure, snack foods are sometimes low in fat and calories, but exercising restraint in the volume of food you eat is vital in ripping up.

10 Ground Turkey

MYTH: Since it’s s turkey, it must be lean.

FACT: Turkey breast is extremely low in fat and calories, yielding less than 3 grams of dietary fat per 6-ounce serving. On the other hand, ground turkey meat is usually a mix of darker meat and turkey skin, which can boost the fat content fourfold, upward of 14 grams of fat per 6-ounce serving. The solution: For ground turkey, stick with ground turkey breast meat, and check the nutrition label.

11 Sliced Turkey Breast

MYTH: Superior source of protein for the dieter.

FACT: Surprise! Though low in fat, many deli-style breasts are filled with sugar and salt. Read labels, check ingredients and look for sliced turkey devoid of added sugar and low in sodium. Many grocery stores now offer a low-sodium alternative without the added sugar. As a rule of thumb, less expensive sliced turkey yields more sugar and salt than more pricey versions.

12 Cold Cereal

MYTH: Cold cereal is convenient and filling.

FACT: Be it Cap’n Crunch or something low in sugar such as corn flakes, most cold cereals are terrible precontest foods because they’re easy to overeat and provide absolutely no appetite support. Even the higher-fiber, no-sugar cold cereals can pack a lot of carbs per bowl. If you can stick to eating a controlled portion, you’ll do fine with the high-fiber hot cereals, such as oatmeal, oat bran and cream of rye.

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