Nutrition and Diet: Myths vs. Facts

Nutrition myths are like fast-food restaurants – they are everywhere and hard to avoid.

But it’s important that we learn the facts about what we’re eating to make the most informed food choices and learn how to develop healthy eating habits.

MYTH: If food is fat-free, it is healthy. TRUTH: Foods labelled “fat-free” can still be high in calories, salt, sugar, or other undesirable nutrients. Plus, fat is not the enemy it was once thought to be. Fat from foods like nuts, oil, and fish is essential in the diet. Don’t be fooled by fat-free claims- learn to read the ingredient list and use the Nutrition Facts panel so you can get the whole story.

MYTH: Only people with high blood pressure should limit their sodium. TRUTH: We can all benefit from getting less sodium in our diets In addition to causing high blood pressure, excess sodium can cause stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease. The best way to cut back is to limit processed foods.

MYTH: A low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight. TRUTH: In a recent survey, 97% said that choosing the right carbs is better for healthy eating than choosing a low-carb diet. The “right carbs” are vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and whole-grain bread. These foods provide fibre, vitamins, and a wealth of disease-fighting antioxidants.

MYTH: Drinking fruit juice is an excellent way to increase fruit in your diet. TRUTH: Fruit juice is high in added sugars. In fact, a cup of fruit juice can have as much as 40g of sugar, equivalent to 10 teaspoons. Consuming too much sugar increases your risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke. The best way to increase your fruit consumption is to eat whole fruit, which gives you the added benefit of fibre.

MYTH: Skipping meals will help you lose weight. FACT: When you skip a meal, your body’s metabolism tends to slow down to compensate for the lack of energy (food).

MYTH– Skipping breakfast makes you gain weight. FACT: Eating a healthy breakfast can help you manage your hunger later in the day. If you are not hungry- first thing, listen to your body.

MYTH– Eating at night will make you fat. FACT: People who eat late at night do tend to put on extra weight. If you are hungry after dinner, limit yourself to healthy snacks such as low-fat yoghurt or baby carrots.

MYTH– You cannot be overweight and healthy. FACT: Some people are overweight with healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. For most people, excess weight increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes. The longer you are overweight, the more your risk of developing disease increases.

MYTH: Cooking meals at home takes way too much time. TRUTH: If you plan ahead, keep a well-stocked kitchen, and choose simple recipes, weeknight meals can be easy to prepare. Choose recipes that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes, take shortcuts with healthy convenience foods, such as pre-cut vegetables or cooked brown rice.

MYTH: Supplements are a waste of money FACT: Those on restrictive diets or any health conditions or those who take certain medications, people over the age of 50, and pregnant or breastfeeding women- may benefit from taking specific supplements.

Try our dietitian-approved recipes for a healthy lifestyle.

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