Diet Myths Debunked
Nowadays, everyone is a little bit of a nutrition expert. Developing healthy eating habits has become an obsession. We all follow nutrition blogs, read articles about the latest scientifically proven benefits of certain foods, and take advice from complete strangers about what we should eat. By now, everybody knows that a low-fat, low-carb, grain-packed diet is the best. Or is it?
Have you ever stopped to think why you should or should not eat some foods? Have you ever read a relevant study about it, or just newspaper/magazine articles? There are so many nutrition myths around, even in mainstream media. For this reason, you need to be careful and distinguish between what is accurate and what is not. Take a look at these 5 common nutrition myths and discover the truth.
1. Added sugar is always bad for you.
Sugar is often blamed for supplying only empty calories, and people are advised to avoid it entirely and switch to natural sweeteners. First of all, these natural sweeteners, such as honey and cane juice, are still sugar just unrefined sugar. Your body metabolizes them the same way it does refined sugar. Secondly, sugar has certain benefits for you. A teaspoon of sugar can boost your metabolism and energy throughout the day. You can turn empty calories into non-empty if you consume sugar in moderation and with a purpose. Use it to kick start your day or fuel a workout.
2. All saturated fats raise blood cholesterol.
The main confusion here comes from putting trans and saturated fats into the same category. Trans fats are linked to cardiovascular diseases and are generally harmful. On the other hand, there are many different types of saturated fats and, while some of them are bad, others are harmless. Stearic acid is a type of saturated fat that is found naturally in cocoa, meats, and dairy products, as well as in palm and coconut oils. New research shows that this saturated fat does not raise harmful LDL cholesterol. On the contrary, it boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. So, now you have a licence to eat chocolate.
3. The more fibre you eat, the better.
Fibres are the fad food of the moment. The trend of eating fibres has become so popular that food manufacturers are isolating specific types of fibres and adding them to foods that do not naturally contain it. Go to the nearest supermarket and you will find aisles packed with fibre-fortified everything, even water. Well, not all fibres are equally beneficial. While it is true that only about half of us eat sufficient amounts of fibre, experts are sceptical about the health benefits of the so-called faux-fibre foods. Instead, stick to naturally fibre-rich foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
4. Dairy makes you fat.
Combined with calorie control, a dairy-rich diet can nearly double body-fat reduction and weight loss and help prevent weight gain, according to nutrition experts. Part of the reason is the hormone calcitriol, which helps conserve calcium for stronger bones while telling fat cells to convert less sugar to fat and burn more body fat. The result is leaner fat cells and a leaner you. We advise the intake of three servings of low- or non-fat dairy a day. Now that you know that the dairy myth is untrue, you can eat (most) dairy guilt-free. Just remember to consume in moderation and eat dairy with the other food groups like whole grains and vegetables.
5. Coffee is bad for your health.
Coffee, the archenemy of our health, might not be that bad for us after all. It has been blamed for slowing down your growth and causing heart problems. It now seems that previous studies, on which these assumptions were based, did not take into consideration that heavy coffee drinkers often had other unhealthy habits, like smoking and physical inactivity, which might have contributed to the health problems. Coffee may even have health benefits, including fighting off Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver diseases. It also improves cognitive functions and keeps depression under control.
The biggest myth of all is that there is a universal diet plan that suits everyone. Listen to your body’s signals, because it knows what is best for you. Are you currently on any diet plan?
This article was written by Amy Mia Goldsmith a biology graduate and personal trainer from Melbourne. She has a a degree in nutrition and her goal is to teach people to live a healthy, happy life. You can contact Amy on her Facebook page and Twitter.
Image credit: www.heartresearch.org.uk