8 myths about diet, exercise and sleep

Here are eight hypotheses about diet, exercise and sleep that don’t answer the sniff test.

Myth #1: Pop diets are everywhere, so they have to work

« This type of long-term restriction leads to weight gain, not weight loss, and often leads to weight cycling, » said Nina Taylor, education manager at the National Disorders Alliance. food.

Going on and off a diet is called weight cycling or yo-yo dieting, and studies have linked this diet to increased body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol, which increases risk of coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac death in women. .
According to research, following a plant-based diet, watching sugar intake, and limiting mindless eating are great ways to add years to your life.

Myth #2: There’s nothing wrong with taking your smartphone to bed

Who doesn’t want to check their social media one last time before the lights go out? But research has linked nighttime overuse of smartphones to difficulty falling asleep, reduced sleep duration, daytime fatigue and even mood disturbances.
When you use your phone, you flood your eyes with blue light, which shuts off the production of melatonin – it’s the hormone that regulates your biological clock. Experts suggest banning any LED spectrum light for a full hour before sleeping.

At the end of the line : Don’t bring your cell phone and its harmful blue light to bed. Use an old-fashioned alarm clock to help you wake up.

Myth #3 Social media can trick you into dieting and exercising

Research shows young people believe turning to fitness and diet videos on TikTok, Facebook or other social media will inspire them to be a better version of themselves, Taylor said.

“They think it will motivate them to exercise or diet,” Taylor said. « However, it can lead to body dissatisfaction – social comparison and many worries about body and weight. These are all risk factors for developing eating disorders. »

Experts fear body dysphoria has increased during the pandemic as more young people have taken to social media while also facing social isolation and disrupted routines, Taylor said.

“Eating disorders are often a coping mechanism,” she said. « It’s a way to feel in control and deal with difficult emotions. »

Intuitive eating is a natural way of listening to the body’s signals about hunger and fullness, which experts say establishes a healthier way to eat. Some call it « the anti-regime ».

Myth #4: Pressing the snooze button helps you sleep better

Sleep myths that may be preventing you from getting a good night's sleep
As morning approaches, your body naturally approaches the end of its last rapid eye movement, or « dream » cycle. Hit that snooze button and your brain falls back into a new dream cycle, experts say. When the alarm goes off a few minutes later, you’re likely to be in the middle of this cycle and waking up groggy. You’ll stay groggy longer too.

Pro tip: Put the alarm on the other side of the room, so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. (And no, you can’t tell Google or Alexa to turn it off. That’s cheating.)

Myth #5: You can lose belly fat with sit-ups

In reality, exercise burns fat all over the body, not just the part of the body you are targeting.

« You can do an exercise to increase the strength of a muscle, but you can’t reduce it to get rid of fat, » said Dr. Angela Smith, former president of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Experts suggest increasing cardio to burn fat. Strive for a balanced fitness routine by varying the intensity of training to include high and low intensity training.

Myth #6: It’s better to stay in bed with your eyes closed when you can’t sleep

According to sleep experts, staying in bed longer than 20 minutes if you can’t sleep is one of the worst things you can do because it trains your brain to associate bed with lack of sleep. In doing so can lead to chronic insomnia.

« It’s counterintuitive, but spending time in bed awake turns the bed into a dentist’s chair, » clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Grandner told CNN.

Instead, get up and do something boring, like folding laundry, until you’re sleepy. Make sure to keep the lights dim and don’t check your smartphone or laptop.

Myth #7: I have to exercise or diet all the time to change my body type

There’s a belief that exercising or dieting all the time can change your basic body type, Taylor said. « Especially among younger age groups, the feeling is ‘if I dieted better or exercised more, my body would look a certain way’. The reality is that there is a wide range and a wide variety of body types that are all normal and healthy. »

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes due to our genetics and other factors.

Genetics is key to how exercise can affect your body, Smith said. « If your parents are both over 6 feet tall, you’re probably not going to make it as a gymnast, for example, » she said. « Part of that could be determined by muscle shape and size, and part of it could be determined by the hormonal balances you went through at birth. »

The idea that anyone can lose or gain weight or grow to an ideal body image doesn’t make sense, Taylor said. « There will always be body diversity. After all, we would never say, ‘You should be taller’ or ‘You should be smaller’, would we? »

Myth #8: Bodybuilding supplements advertised on social media really work

High school and college kids may feel they need bodybuilding supplements after seeing products advertised on social media, said Dr. John Xerogeanes, chief of sports medicine at the Emory Orthopedic & Spine Center and professor of Orthopedics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

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« The biggest problem I have with my patients is supplements, » Xerogeanes said. « An influencer is marketing something that sucks, and all of a sudden the kid is like, ‘Hey, I can take this supplement, and it’s going to give me abs.' »

That’s a problem, he said, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the supplement industry.

« It may say one thing on the label, but you really don’t know what’s in it, » Xerogeanes said. « Manufacturers can put other minerals or even stimulants in their mix, which is why some high school and college athletes are testing positive for drugs. »

When working with college teams, he said, « I tell them, if you’re going to do a supplement, we have to see that supplement, and we have to have it independently tested. »

Research shows that if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you probably won’t need supplements unless you’re pregnant, elderly, or have a specific dietary limitation.

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