Many people are super keen to inform others about what and how to eat. These statements/messages are often spread by legitimate and mainstream persons of nutritional knowledge (nutritionists, government, scientists, dieticians), the food industry, media, as well as many faddish and quackish sources. Amazingly, being slim, good looking, and famous automatically qualifies you as a nutrition expert (*insert sarcasm here).
Although the nutritional messages often vary dramatically, certain statements from the mainstream have been fairly consistent throughout many decades (eg. fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious). In saying this, there have been consistent myths circulating our ears for decades too. Below are just a few of the myths we've been told and the truth behind it:
1. Eating fat makes you fat
Fats are essential for a normal functioning system and are apart of a balanced diet. They provide essential fatty acids that the body cannot make itself. They're made up of two main categories of fats: saturated and unsaturated fats.
Saturated fats come from animal products and some vegetable oils (such as coconut and palm). These fats are solid at room temperature and too much raises your cholesterol levels so, it's advised to consume these in small amounts.
Unsaturated fats are derived from plant oils such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, canola, salmon, rapeseed oil (to name a few). These help lower cholesterol levels.
Now, we could go into depth with the make up of fats and how they're broken down, but we'll save that for a rainy day. All that is important to note is that fat is not going to make you fat. It's the unhealthy fats such as trans fats (found in processed foods) that are not ideal to ingest regularly or at all. We would recommend you avoid these.
2. Carbs are bad for you
With fad diets exploding over the last few years, I have been told this statement more times than I could count. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient, fact! They're the single largest component of energy we derive from food.
Structurally, carbs are broken down into fuel more rapidly. However, not all carbs are created equal. For example, sugar is readily absorbed by the gut and can be used immediately for energy. Whatever is not used is then stored as fat. On the other hand, complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes, take significantly longer to absorb therefore giving a steady stream of energy to be utilised appropriately.
Don't hate on carbs! They've only ever wanted to ensure you are provided with the right amount of energy. All thats important to note here is to keep an eye on the type of carbohydrate and portion size.
3. Organic foods are more nutritious
While there is no internationally agreed term for 'Organic', we believe it can be defined as a farming method that prohibits the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals on fruits and vegetables.
This method does not, in all means, make a fruit and/or vegetable healthier. In fact, it has nothing to do with the nutritional value of food. While it’s said to be better to avoid pesticides where possible, non-organic produce contains the same nutrients as organic varieties, just with the traces of pesticide residue on the skin. That is why it is important to ensure you wash the produce thoroughly.
At the end of the day, both organic and non-organic foods possess copious amounts of antioxidants, fibre and vitamins, so don’t allow non-organic versions deter you.
4. Eating vegan is healthier
Veganism has been around for many years, but only recently has it gained massive popularity amongst people all around the world. Many have made this choice for a number of reasons, but the two primary concerns are for animals (ethics) and health. Now, don't get us wrong, we love vegan food and what it stands for. However, many consumers have the perception that if something is 'vegan', it is automatically healthier.
Vegan diets can be healthy (if you're not diving into the fries and crisps), but they can lack certain nutrients. However, if a vegan diet makes you feel great then it's the healthier option for YOU. As said before, there's no "one diet fits all".
5. Skipping meals helps save calories
Pretty self-explanatory! I mean, you will definitely be saving calories seeing as you're not consuming certain main meals. However, even though this has been proven to result in rapid weight loss, it's only going to make you feel tired and hungry most of the time. Meaning that you are most probably going to reach for the high-calorie, processed snack or you'll compensate with bigger meals when you eat. When we are really hungry, it's harder to make healthy food choices.
Get into a regular eating pattern when it comes to your meals and plan ahead to make sure you look forward to tasty and healthy options. You don't need to skip meals in order to cut calories. When you make better food choices, you will automatically be cutting down on calories.
*PLEASE NOTE: We don't wish to debate, only to educate.