• The “ayoko ng rice” lie

The no-rice diet is so popular in the Philippines that rice has gotten such a bad rap as the source of everyone’s weight gain. Avoiding rice has been equated with a desire to lose weight. However, rice may not be the culprit of the weight issues. Checking what your viand is and what else you consume is just as important as your rice consumption. Is your viand high in sodium or are the condiments used filled with MSG? Do you drink a lot of sugary drinks? These can also be the reason why your weight doesn’t go down to ideal. Lastly, just because you skip rice, it doesn’t mean you can go ahead and order dessert. I have this so many times, people skipping rice but ordering a huge slice of cake after the meal. Cake is worse than having a cup of rice.

  • The “magdi-diet na lang ako ulit” cycle

Just like most countries, Filipinos are prone to yo-yo dieting which is putting the body through cycles of feast and famine. Putting your body through this encourages your metabolism to slow down. Instead of yo-yo dieting, committing to a long-term healthy eating plan, with properly scheduled cheats, is much better. Also, long-term dieting is also bad for the body. Bodily functions rely on certain levels of calories to properly function, if you under-calorize (which is what happens when you diet), then you deprive your body the chance to function properly. The body prioritizes the food for important body functions. The first thing to go is the areas of beautification which means those who under-calorize while dieting usually end up with brittle nails, falling hair, dull skin, etc. In Tagalog, we call this “mukhang natuyo” or “mukhang ngarag”. Who would want to be called that?

  • The “sabi sa TV healthy yan eh” issue

Most Filipinos are still slaves to marketing claims. If a celebrity says it’s good, it must be good, if an ad says it’s healthy, it must be truly healthy. We must learn to read labels and figure out the truth. An example is probiotic milk drinks, a lot of people still believe that it is healthy just because it gives the tummy good bacteria. But, did you know that one tiny bottle of probiotic milk drink can have as much (or more than) 4 teaspoons of refined sugar and it only has one strain of good bacteria? In contrast, a probiotic capsule can have various live strains of good bacteria without the added refined sugar. Bottomline, it pays to know what ingredients to watch out for and it pays to read the labels when buying food products.