Behind most food and nutrition myths, there is a tiny ray of truth waiting to be seen. But what is to be believed??? Just about every day, you will hear some nutritional advice from your friends, or see something new on social media. Many foods have developed an unjustifiable reputation for being dietary disasters. Given the large amount of misconceptions and misinformation about foods and health that are in circulation, debunking these common health and food myths can help you take that sigh of relief. So read on to know better…
Here are the most common myths I hear and read everywhere :- 1. MYTH– Fruits are a healthy snack.
FACT– Depends on what your goal is!
This is one of the most debatable topics. Some fruits have loads of sugar. We just need to be careful of the amount of those fruits we are eating. If you are struggling to lose weight and fruits make up a big part of your diet, you need to scale back on them and include more fats, proteins, and vegetables. If you are already at your desired weight, then an apple or banana a day is OK. Personally, if I am on a diet, I would prefer to eat around 80 calories from an egg, rather than munch an apple. So be smart, and stay mindful of what you eat.
2. MYTH – You should not skip your breakfast.
FACT–Skipping breakfast won’t kill you!
Most heard adage – “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” “Eat breakfast to kick start your metabolism,” or better yet – “Skip breakfast and die!” Truth is (and this might come as a shocker to you), breakfast or no breakfast, it doesn’t have any connection with the weight loss. It doesn’t matter when you eat your meals – morning, night, or throughout the day. If you have personal reasons why you want to have an early meal, for eg., you feel it energises you or improves your focus, then these are good enough to have an early meal. Weight loss or weight gain depends on the number of calories you eat, the food you eat, your lifestyle etc. Having a late breakfast can actually help you restrict your calories in the rest of the day and you are not hungry around mid-morning, therefore, lesser calories from bingeing.
3. MYTH – Caffeine has only negative effects on the body.
FACT– Not so!
Extremes are bad in everything! Consuming more than 500 – 600 mg of caffeine can have adverse effects. If consumed in moderation, though, caffeine sharpens memory, keeps you alert through those groggy mornings, relieves post workout muscle pain to quite an extent, and also increases the stamina during exercises. It even boosts your metabolism! Try mixing MCT or coconut oil to your black coffee and see yourself soar during those intense workout sessions or while running around in your office. The list of benefits of coffee could go on, but I am limiting myself to those related to weight loss here.
4. MYTH – High protein diets are bad for you.
FACT – Revise what you mean by ‘high protein’…
While many myths are easy to write off as being ridiculous this one keeps coming around. Kidney damage, liver damage etc., has been associated with high protein diets. As I mentioned before, any kind of extreme can land you in trouble but the problem with people generally is that even 70-80 grams of protein (which is needed everyday for a healthy individual) is considered a high protein diet. Protein is the building block of life. Daily allowance for protein is 1.8 gms of protein per kilogram of body weight for a healthy individual. It is essential for a healthy heart and a healthy body. We are literally made of protein – from our bones to our muscles, arteries and veins, skin, hair, fingernails – everything! So stop being scared of including protein in your diet.
5. MYTH – I should not workout during my periods.
FACT – You can workout whenever, however!
So far, no study has found negative effects or health risks from working out during your chums. In fact there actually might be some benefits. Exercising during your menstrual cycle can help you combat PMS and those nasty mood swings. The endorphins released during workout reduce the perception of pain. If you have irregular periods or your period is overdue, physical activity can help you get back on track. So if you are not tied down with really bad cramps, try to hit the gym next time.
6. MYTH – I just want to reduce my stomach or butts (spot reduction).
FACT –Spot Reduction is a lazy man’s fantasy!
How nice it would have been if I could do a set of 100 crunches and find a flatter stomach the next day! When food is consumed, excess calories are transformed into fat. This process is reversed in exercise, when calories are metabolized into fuel for the muscles. Since working out makes you burn calories, you will lose fat during exercise. So even if you drop down and give 100 crunches, you willlose stomach fat – but no more than it will help you lose weight from the rest of the body. So, do those crunches, consistently, but don’t expect to wake up the next day with washboard abs!
7. MYTH – I just eat egg whites! Egg yolks will give me high cholesterol.
FACT– Cholesterol itself, is highly misunderstood!
Eggs are a nutritional power house, but for a while now, egg yolks have been demonised as a cholesterol-inducing food. True, the trend earlier was to think that egg yolks contribute significantly to cholesterol levels, but latest researches show that cholesterol itself is not the villain – trans fats are the real culprits! Eggs are a superfood with almost every essential vitamin and mineral our body needs to function. Egg yolks provide valuable vitamins A, D, E, K, omega 3 fats, and antioxidants, much of which is not found in egg whites. So banish the egg yolk fear, and start adding eggs to your breakfast or soups (unless advised otherwise by the doctor).
8. MYTH – Rice makes me fat, I don’t eat rice!
FACT – Overeating anything makes you fat, not just rice!
What is my favourite meal of all times? – Rice! My tiny little pearls of goodness have been creating so much confusion. But, there isn’t one simple answer to this! It all depends on how much quantity you are consuming. While rice may be healthy and not necessarily linked to weight gain, your overall diet is more important than any one food item. Try and limit your carb intake to 2 meals, keep your third meal full of proteins and fats. I eat rice everyday – my lunch is inevitably rice 6 days a week. Now yes, if you want to eat paranthas in the morning, rajma chawal for lunch, and then butter chicken with roti again at night, then don’t blame rice for the weight gain!
9. MYTH – Dark or brown bread is better than white bread.
FACT – “It doesn’t matter if its black or white!”
Let’s shock you some more: Dark bread is mostly white bread with food colouring. The presence of the ingredient caramel or treacle (look at the ingredient list at the back) would indicate that it is brown because of the colouring. Of course, some decent bakeries out there do sell whole wheat bread. Just check for the first ingredient – is it whole wheat or wholemeal flour? Avoid added sugar or other sweeteners. Here’s a life lesson for you – Always check the food labels.
Tip – When eating white bread, combine it with high fat or protein options like butter, cheese, eggs, or hummus, so that the glycemic load of that meal (the rate at which it is absorbed in the blood) can be reduced. Read 5 Foods You Need to Stop Buying Now! to understand what’s a good way to plan your fitness journey and trash the rubbish.
10. MYTH– Having food after 8 p.m. will make you gain weight.
FACT –Your weight doesn’t wear a watch!
A calorie is a calorie. Remember this: If your total intake on any given day is greater than what it is supposed to be, you will gain weight regardless of what time it is. Now that doesn’t mean that you shift your comfortable 8 p.m dinner time deliberately to 12 a.m. Late night eating is generally an issue because you tend to binge on not-so healthy stuff. As long as you are aware of what you are eating throughout the day, having your dinner late sometimes is absolutely OK if you are stuck somewhere.
Hi all. I am Swati Sodhi. A mother, a nutrition expert, a blogger and certainly not the least of
all, a Fitmag Author. With more than 600 transformations to my credit, I’m an
internationally accredited nutritionist who recently got the opportunity to be a part of Team
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