Calculus is confusing. Reading Shakespeare is confusing. Solving a Rubik’s Cube is confusing. However, your diet shouldn’t be confusing! So, here are the answers to some tricky dieting questions, courtesy of Fitness magazine.
- Is it a good idea to drink diet soda? Not really. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center studied a group of normal-weight adults and they found that over half of those who drank one to two diet sodas a day were overweight after seven to eight years! Why? Because artificial sweeteners trigger cravings for sweet foods. Basically, since diet drinks are sweet, your body expects calories. When it doesn’t get any, your body craves something that does have calories - so you end up eating more. Of course, drinking regular soda isn’t great, either. So, your best bet is to stick with water or unsweetened iced tea.
- What’s the difference between wheat and whole wheat? Like the name indicates, “whole” grains contain the entire grain kernel – which guarantees the maximum dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Non-whole grain products – aka “refined” grains – have been processed to remove parts of the kernel. Which strips away some of the nutritional benefits. So, scan a food’s ingredients list and look to see if the first word is “whole” – as in “whole wheat” - not “enriched” or “unbleached.” Those are code words for refined, white flour.
- Should you eat before or after you work out? If you eat something about a half hour before you hit the gym, it’ll help fuel your muscles and steady your blood sugar. What should you eat? A 200 calorie snack that contains mostly carbs and some protein – like whole-grain crackers with a little peanut butter – is ideal. If you’re exercising longer than an hour, you should probably re-fuel afterward, too – an apple or a banana are good choices.