Myth or fact?

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It’s important to know the truth behind your daily nutrition

These days there are a variety of sources of information available about healthy eating, so it is important to differentiate between accurate evidence and unfounded claims to ensure optimum health. Along with reports on diets, there is also a lot of misinformation floating around about nutrition and sometimes separating fact from fiction can be tricky as well as confusing. This often happens in relation to food choices, especially when it comes to maintaining daily diets. Through repetition, even incorrect information can influence our thoughts and get in the way of healthy diets. Many ideas or stories surrounding health and diet are repeated so often they become believable. Let us try and separate a few myths and facts.

Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight MYTH

It may seem logical that skipping a meal will help you lose weight because you eat less, but it’s not that simple. Missing out on meals can actually have the opposite effect. Your body goes into ‘survival mode’, slowing down your metabolism and conserving energy rather than using it up. Skipping meals can also make you hungrier, and more likely to snack on high fat or sugar foods. A better way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to eat small meals regularly throughout the day and find ways to be more active.

Red meat is bad for your health MYTH

Red meat has been linked to several forms of heart disease, mainly due to the high content of saturated fat. But red meat contains other nutrients like protein, iron and zinc that are important for health. So, instead of totally excluding red meat from your diet, choose leaner cuts of meat in smaller portions. If you choose lean cuts of meat and cook using low-fat methods like grilling or broiling, you can still enjoy a nice steak. Also, try and include a variety of protein sources, such as meat, poultry, egg, legumes and seafood, with fish taken more frequently, in your diet.

There is no perfect diet that suits everyone FACT

We are all unique and different due to genetics, culture, body type, activity level or our environment. All these factors can affect the diet that suits us. Some people might feel comfortable on a vegetarian diet or some on a low-carb diet. The fact is, what works for one person may not work for the next. Do not follow anyone else’s diet but tailor your own to suit your needs. Just be careful to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines for your age and gender.

Brown sugar is better than white sugar MYTH

The only difference between brown and white sugar is that brown sugar contains molasses, which has a caramel aroma and flavour, while white sugar has been refined to remove the molasses. Both of these sugars contain the same amount of calories. Use whichever sugar you prefer, but aim to include less added sugar in your diet overall.

Nuts can be included as part of a healthy eating plan FACT

Nuts contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats or “good” fats. They are also a good source of energy, protein, iron, selenium, and Vitamin E. Nuts can be a healthy replacement instead of chips, cakes or namkeen mixtures and can be added to stir fry veggies and salads or even breakfast cereals. Nuts may be considered a health food but that does not give you the license to overindulge. Nuts in general are high in calories; when you add nuts to your diet you add calories with your health benefits. The key is to enjoy a handful of nuts.

Low fat or ‘lite’ means no fat MYTH

Lite or light may refer to taste, colour, or texture but not necessarily energy. A serving of low-fat or fat-free food may be lower in calories than a serving of the full-fat product, but many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods – or even more calories. These foods may contain added flour, salt, starch, or sugar to improve flavour and texture after fat is removed. Focusing solely on a food’s fat content is only telling half the story.

Maintaining a food diary can help in losing weight FACT

Sometimes maintaining a food diary and jotting down your daily intake can go a long way in helping you eat less and therefore lose weight. Keeping a food diary instantly increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you are eating. This helps you cut down on mindless snacking or overeating.

For some people, the very fact that they have to record every bite helps deter overeating as they often reconsider eating something because of not wanting to write it down. Showing your food diary to someone else is even better; in terms of accountability, you are accountable to yourself when you’re writing it down and you’re accountable to other people who are looking at your food record.


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