Health hopefuls deluded by food and exercise myths

October 20, 2009 — by Karthik Sreedhara

Every year, millions of people set goals to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. Myths about certain foods and exercise methods, however, are often detrimental to those goals.

According to , one wrong myth among teens is that “I can eat anything and as much as I want just as long as I exercise afterward.” But after eating thousands of calories and exercising, people may find that an average workout only burns about 300-500 calories. Furthermore, exercise may increase appetite, leading to eating more after a workout.

Another fallacy is the belief that “I can eat as much as I want as long as it’s healthy.” Yet the truth is that a calorie is a calorie, whether it comes from healthy or unhealthy foods. For example, instead of eating fried or oily foods for breakfast, you might eat bagels. However, an average sized plain bagel with cream cheese may contain up to 540 calories, according to

Senior Abe Roy was shocked to hear this.

“I never knew that you could eat too much healthy food,” said Roy. “I guess too much of a good thing is bad.”

Salads are usually healthy—it just depends on what you put in it. For example, a McDonald’s Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken contains 370 calories while dressing might contain up to another 190 calories, according to the nutrition information on the McDonald’s website.

“Smoothies are good for you” is a common excuse many use to go to a place like Jamba Juice every day. Though smoothies do contain many healthy ingredients such as fruit juice, milk and yogurt, they also contain high amounts of sugar, sodium and calories. According to the menu on the Jamba Juice website, the 30 oz. Caribbean Passion has 490 calories, while the 30 oz. Aloha Pineapple contains 550 calories. Ultimately, though they may have healthy ingredients, these drinks just have too many calories for healthy eating. A possible solution to this may be to buy the items labeled “light.”

“I always knew there were a lot of sugars in the smoothies, but I thought they were good sugars,” said junior Jesse Yung. “I’m surprised that there are so many calories.”

A common exercise myth is that only exercising hard all the time will result in sustained weight loss . According to, even taking a brisk walk or jog in the morning can help to start this weight loss process. The important thing when exercising is to choose a program that allows an individual to continue long-term basis.

“It’s OK to get a little sore—it shows that my exercise is working.” Extreme soreness usually arises when you overwork yourself too early. Gradually increase the intensity and length of your exercise. This also will allow you exercise longer and harder and on a regular basis, according to Dr. Melina Jampolis, a diet and fitness expert from CNN health.

Ultimately, experts say people need to watch the number of calories they consume and have a balanced diet. They also need an exercise method that they can continue long term.

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