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Diet and Fitness Myths Put to the Test

Diet and Fitness Myths Put to the Test
by Chris Sparling

We've all heard our fair share of truths, half-truths, and flat-out lies at the gym. Whether it's a new way to burn a few extra calories, or a method for adding a few inches to the ol' guns, it seems everyone has something to say. But, the question remains, How accurate is this information?

Muscle & Body magazine takes on the role of myth buster in their current issue, highlighting some of the more common fitness and diet facts and so-called facts. They also clear up issues surrounding information that was once considered correct, but since new research has emerged, is now considered invalid. And vice-versa.

Confused yet? Don't be. It's not nearly as convoluted as I'm probably making it seem. Here, take a look at some of the popular myths below and you'll see what I mean.

Myth #1 - Spicy Foods Speed Up Metabolism

According to Julie Upton, MS, RD, who was interviewed for the Muscle & Body article, it has "a very small effect." She further states that "The amount of chili pepper and powder that you'd have to eat would cause you GI distress before you'd have a metabolic impact."

Myth #2 - Drinking Cold Water Burns More Calories

According to the theory, the body must heat cold water in order to make use of it, and that requires energy. Says Upton, "It's a difference of one calorie. It's completely insignificant."

Myth #3 - Performing Cardio on an Empty Stomach Burns More Calories

It's believed that by not eating before a cardio session, your body will turn to stored fat as an energy source instead of stored carbohydrates. Well, it turns out that this one is actually true, though it does come with a caveat. Cris Slents, PhD., who was also interviewed for the M & B article, asserts that "When you don't eat, your respiratory quotient is lower and you're burning more fat. Scientifically, it makes sense" But, Slents adds, "How practical is that for everyone to do?" The point is, you shouldn't skip a cardio session simply because you happened to eat something not that long ago. As for the caveat, by depriving your body of fuel, you may get an inferior workout, thus negating the benefit of attempting this approach.

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