With all the delicious food and drink that Leeds has to offer, having our eyes so firmly fixed to a plate means that it is can be all too easy to overlook an expanding waistline.
However, according to a survey recently conducted by British Military Fitness (BMF), the main problem for the people of Leeds is even more delicious booze, with around 34% claiming that alcohol is their biggest weakness when it comes to any attempts to improve their health and fitness.
This figure was just one of many statistics that BMF collected when on a mission to debunk the top 10 health myths believed in the UK. Are we really getting it so wrong? It appears so.
For example, 22% percent of people interviewed in Leeds believe that chewing gum is a good way to help burn fat – a myth perpetuated by TV programmes like 'The Biggest Loser'. Apparently, chewing gum is supposed to help burn 11 calories an hour – roughly the equivalent of four spears of cooked asparagus. Even if you thought that was worth it for an hour's effort, there is no scientific evidence to back it up anyway.
Skipping meals to compensate for eating 'badly' is another myth thought to be true by just under 30% of Leodiensians. BMF, on the other hand, say that doing so will only succeed in slowing your metabolism down. Better to eat smaller portions, with healthier ingredients, they say.
The most commonly believed myth of all is that cutting calories is the best way to lose weight. Nearly three quarters of respondents in Leeds (70%) thought this to be true. It's not, says BMF. Well, sort of.
While eating fewer calories that the recommended daily amount can help you lose weight, BMF argue that obsessing about calorie counting is the wrong way to focus a diet. Instead, following a healthy, balanced diet that sticks to the '90/10' rule (as long as you eat right 90% of the time, your body can still handle it if you're less restrictive about what you eat for the other 10%).
Needless to say, exercising 3-4 times a week remains the most effective route to weight loss. But then, BMF would say that.
For more health myths debunked, take a look at the BMF page.
In the meantime, you could get your diet on track at some of these healthy eating venues in Leeds:
Nourish – Not only can you get healthy dishes for every meal of the day, Nourish can even organise a personalised healthy eating plan, with your choices delivered to you. 31 Bond Street, Leeds, LS1 5BQ.
Humpit – A hummus (or houmous, either works) and pitta bar, you can enjoy a load of fresh ingredients accompanied by the yummy chickpea spread. The Corn Exchange, Call Street, LS1 7BR.
Filmore and Union - which offers 'body loving breakfasts and healthy eating lunches'. 8 Cross Arcade, Victoria Quarter Leeds, LS1 6AZ.
Global Tribe Cafe - even if you aren't vegetarian or vegan, there's not arguing that salad is better for you than a cheeseburger. Here you can get food on the go or sit down and take your time. 18 Swan Street, Leeds, LS1 6LG.
Roots and Fruits - another vegetarian cafe, Roots and Fruits has a great selection of healthy salads, sandwiches and breakfasts. 10-11 Grand Arcade, Leeds, LS1 6PG.
Find more places to eat and drink in Leeds (even the less-than-healthy ones).