4 holiday food mythbusters

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‘Tis the season for temptations, but few holiday food myths hold true. LDS Hospital Registered Dietitian Emily Krueger sticks a fork in four of these food-related falsehoods.

1. Leaving cookies out for Santa at night, does the late night eating make him gain weight?
No. A calorie is a calorie. Our stomachs do not know what time it is. We tend to lose inhibitions at night because we are tired or there are social events in the evening, so we tend to overindulge. Overindulgence leads us to consume more calories, which is what causes weight gain. If Santa can stick to one cookie, he would most likely maintain his weight.

2. After all the feasting, do I need to do a cleanse?

Cleanses or fasting often has become very trendy but our bodies have a naturally occurring system that cleanses us all the time (spleen, liver, and kidneys). There is not much research to show that fasting helps to increase their efficiency. Drinking the right amount of water and eating the right nutrients can help to keep these systems keep running smoothly.

Rolls, pie, and stuffing oh my! Do carbohydrates make you fat?

Carbohydrates do not make you fat. It is eating too many calories that make you gain weight. We just tend to overindulge in certain foods that are carbs. Our body needs carbs; certain organs like our eyes and brain are built to only receive energy from carbs. Low carb diets can make you lose weight initially, due to the restrictiveness, but are usually not sustainable. 

Holiday cravings: Do I crave foods because I am deficient in that nutrient?
No. Some other mammals like deer crave salt in the spring time but humans are not like that. We tend to get cravings because a reward center in our brain is stimulated by fat and sugar combinations. The only mineral humans seem to crave when deficient is iron, but that does not make us eat iron rich food. It can, however, cause what is known as Pica – a disorder where someone has the urge to eat nonfood items, such as ice, clay, and even cement.

For more information visit intermountainhealthcare.org/services/nutrition-services.

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