We have access to so much nutrition information that sometimes it becomes difficult to decipher what is fact and what is plainly false. Some of us even hold onto information we’ve been told in our younger years and apply it to today. Here are some of the most common myths I get told as a dietitian.
Slim equals healthy
This untruth is a frustrating one. Slender influencers and celebrities dominate our screens. That doesn’t mean they are healthy though. Our bodies are all different and a larger person who exercises and eats well will outlive a skinny person who doesn’t. Drastically, reducing calories doesn’t mean you’re physically fit or in good shape. It means you’re part of a society that obsesses with skinny.
Sugar is evil
Misinformed trainers, diet coaches and influencers are labelling sugar as evil. Sugar isn’t addictive and its pathway to diabetes is complex. Naturally occurring sugars are part of whole foods that are packed with nutrients. It’s more often the whole package of a processed food containing sugar that’s an issue. Discretionary sugar is part of a healthy diet and if you try to remove it completely, you’ll most likely spiral into a pattern of denial leading to an unhealthy relationship with food.
Soy is full of female hormones
There is a huge difference between the estrogen hormone in your body and the phytoestrogen which is found in soy. The myth that soy will give you breasts, or cancer is unsubstantiated. Consuming two to three serves of soy will in fact protect you against disease. You can return to enjoying that soy latte now.
Less calories are better
We’ve all been guilty of doing those little sums in our heads to add up how many kilojoules we’ve consumed. Many of us forget to consider that a chocolate cake that is worth 500 kilojoules is not the same as a 500 kilojoule vegetable salad. Individual foods and their nutrients are metabolised via different pathways. This alters the affect they have on our weight, appetite and overall health.
Lay off the egg yolks
When people thought cholesterol in yolks was bad many years ago it was a tragedy to see people scrambling to avoid yolks. Eggs may contain some cholesterol but it has since been shown that this does not raise the bad cholesterol in your blood or increase your risk of stroke or heart disease. An egg is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s one of the most nutritious, single foods you can eat and all the nutrients are in the yolk.
Ever since the low-fat movement began in the 70s people have equated eating fat with getting fat. Fat became the enemy when in fact it is a vital part of our diet containing fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Fats should be moderated in our diet particularly saturated and trans fats. Fatty fish, avocados and nuts, and healthy oils should make up the bulk of the fat in our diet.
Super foods are super
The market for super foods has grown massively in the past decade. This has mostly been a result of clever marketing and advertising campaigns. Kale only came to prominence after a marketing agency in America was employed to lift its sales. Goji berries and quinoa don’t really have any more nutrients and antioxidants that many other fruits and vegetables out there. They do however have a heftier price tag.
It’s important to source your nutrition information from experts in their field. Check the credentials of health and wellness experts and social media influencers. You’ll probably be saving yourself a load of money and create a happier, healthier life for yourself.