Five Nutrition Myths Dispelled: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Sunday, 14 Apr 2013, 9:02:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Is fat the enemy? Is snacking a bad habit? With summer

on its way, many people are looking at new diets to lose weight for bathing

suit season.

It is always a good choice to look at what diets or trends might

make you healthier in the long run instead of merely losing weigh at the


To support you on your road to health, let’s focus on five common myths

that may be holding you back from realizing your health goals!

Myth #1: All Carbohydrates Are Bad 

Carbohydrates supply our bodies with fuel and without

them, we wouldn’t have sufficient energy to carry on most of our daily


Remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal.

White flour

and added sugars can create spikes in our blood sugar and insulin levels.


time this can lead to an increased risk for chronic disease like diabetes.


refined carbohydrates lack adequate fiber, minerals, and nutrients as well.


which carbs should you choose?

To ensure that you are getting the right

nutrient profile, go for 100 percent whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, wild

rice, whole grain crackers, and whole grain breads.

Also, try to exercise at

least 30 minutes each day, to enable your body to effectively utilize that


Myth #2: Always Eat Low Fat 

Fat is a vital nutrient that enables vitamin absorption,

protects our cell membranes, cushions our organs, provides luster to hair,

skin, and nails, and makes our food taste delicious.

Excluding fat from our

diet would increase risk for vitamin deficiencies and make many of our meals

quite boring!

What you should avoid is fat that will increase your cholesterol

and risk for heart disease, like trans fats (partially hydrogenated fat).

Consuming too many saturated fats found in animal products may also spike cholesterol


Try to choose heart-healthy fats whenever possible, such as those found

in avocados, oily fish, nuts, seeds, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive

oil, and some vegetable oils. Instead of frying foods, use healthier cooking

methods and bake, roast, steam, poach, or sauté your foods.

Myth #3: Snacks Are Unhealthy 

When we use the word “snack,” it may conjure up images

of sweet and salty treats.

However, snacks can be incorporated into your diet,

as long as you choose foods that benefit your health.

Sometimes running all day

long without sufficient fuel can cause your blood sugar to plummet, making you

want to reach for some salty chips or a sugar-laden cookie.

Instead, keep your

body fueled throughout the day with more nutritious and satisfying options like

low fat unsweetened yogurt and an ounce of nuts or seeds, hummus and carrots,

or fresh fruit with almond butter.

Make sure to keep snack portions small and

don’t go longer than three to four hours without eating.

This can help you stay

on track with your healthy eating plan and prevent nighttime munchies.

Myth #4: Gluten Free Is Always Healthier

A gluten-free diet is certainly important for those with

celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity.

You may speak with your physician to have

your blood tested for specific antibodies if you suspect you have a genetic predisposition

to celiac or are gluten-sensitive.

Most individuals who remove gluten from

their diet also remove a lot of processed and refined foods, which can result

in increased energy and weight loss.

Keep in mind however, that many

gluten-free products lack sufficient iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and fiber.

Also, many gluten-free foods aren’t fortified with vitamins and minerals, so be

sure to get adequate nutrients in your diet if you decide to try a gluten-free


Myth #5:

Only Strenuous Exercise Improves Heart Health 

You don’t need to be a gym buff or spend an hour on the

treadmill to reap heart healthy benefits.

If you don’t have time for longer

workouts, even a 15-minute walk is better than doing nothing at all.


people think of exercise as only a weight-loss tool, but regular physical

activity has multiple other benefits.

Research strongly supports that being

active can help to manage and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Only 150

minutes of exercise each week can decrease the risk of death from heart disease.

Remember that you can break this down into 10–15 minute increments.


also enhances your mental and physical well-being and can boost your immune


In addition to cardiovascular exercises like biking, swimming, dancing,

and walking, it is important to include resistance and core training to

increase strength and functionality.

Those with heart disease should aim to get

three to four days of cardiovascular exercise to start and gradually progress

to four to six days.

Always be sure to speak with your physician before

embarking on any exercise program, if you have or are at risk for heart


Dr. Mao Shing Ni,

best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and

board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake

Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. 

Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his

associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena.

Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than

25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. 

To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or

you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his

tip-filled newsletter please visit

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