Top 5 Diet Myths Debunked

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1. Cut out Carbs

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts. Your central nervous system, kidneys, brain and muscles (including your heart) all need carbohydrates to function properly. Carbohydrates are also important in intestinal health and waste elimination. It is recommended that 45-65% of your daily caloric intake is from carbohydrates.

Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can result in fatigue, less energy and excessive breakdown of protein. In addition, you will miss out on the essential minerals and vitamins found in foods containing carbohydrates, which could weaken your immune system.

The Bottom Line: Your body needs carbohydrates to function. Focus on including healthy carbs like fruit, vegetables and whole-grains in your diet.

 

2. Eggs are bad for you

Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and contain high amounts of protein, antioxidants, minerals and good fats. While eggs have been vilified in the past for their high cholesterol content, recent research shows that in healthy individuals, there is no association between eggs and heart disease or stroke.[1]

1 large egg has only 77 calories with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein (with all 9 essential amino acids)[2]. It is rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and Vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5[3]. Additionally, 1 egg contains 113mg of Choline, which is an important nutrient for brain functioning.[4] It is estimated that 90% of Americans do not intake adequate amounts of Choline in their diets.[5]

The bottom line: Eggs are nutritious, packed with antioxidants and minerals and keep you satisfied for longer. Opt for pastured eggs which are more nutritious than barn-laid varieties.[6]

 

3.Low Fat Dairy is better for Health & Weight-Loss

A recent review published in the European Journal of Nutrition[7] by Dr Mario Kratz, found that people who eat full fat dairy are no more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes than people who stick to a low fat diet.[8] In fact, when it comes to obesity, the study found that full fat dairy might be more beneficial for your waistline.

Dr. Kratz found that of the 25 people in his team’s review, 18 reported lower body weights, less weight gain, or a lower risk for obesity than full-fat dairy eaters.[9] The other seven studies were inconclusive. “None of the research suggested low-fat dairy is better,” he says.[10]

The fatty acids in full-cream dairy may help you feel full sooner and keep you satisfied for longer.[11]

The bottom line: Full fat dairy has been linked with a reduced risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease but balance is key. Include full fat dairy as part of a balanced diet, which is also low in processed and fast foods.

4. Avoid Salt

Meta-analysis of 7 studies involving 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension, found no conclusive evidence that reducing salt decreases the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure.[12]

In fact, another study of over 100,000 participants indicates that a diet too low in salt may pose health risks.[13]

 

Dietitian Melanie McGrice says that “research in nutragenetics is now showing us that some people may be more sensitive to salt than others, so salt’s impact on your health may be affected by your DNA”.[14]

The Bottom line: A moderate amount of salt in the diet of healthy individuals with no blood pressure or heart issues isn’t bad. Cutting back on processed and fast food will instantly cut back on salt.

5. Multiple small meals are better than 3 square meals for weight loss

According to University of Massachusetts Medical School, people who eat frequently throughout the day tend to weigh less. Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that participants who ate 17 small snacks a day had lower cholesterol and insulin levels after 2 weeks, decreasing their risks of weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.[15]

However when many people consume more than 3 meals a day, they don’t reduce their calories in each portion. This leads to them consuming more calories each day and putting on weight.

Whether you consume your calories in several snacks or 3 square meals a day depends largely on your lifestyle and habits.[16]

The bottom line: Rather than focusing on when to eat or how many meals to eat, listen to your stomach and make sure that you don’t consume excess calories. Eat when you feel hungry and stop eating when you feel slightly full. Remember, your brain and stomach register feeling full after 20 minutes.

References
[1] “Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies”, BMJ 2013;346:e8539. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8539 on 30th September 2015.
[2] Berry, S. (2015) “Top 10 Mainstream Diet Myths Debunked”, Retrieved 20th October 2015 from http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/top-10-mainstream-diet-myths-debunked-20150213-13e1bo.html.
[3] Ibid, above n2.
[4] Ibid, above n3.
[5] FASEB J.March 200721 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) LB46. Retrieved 30th September 2015 from http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/21/6/LB46-c.
[6] Guyenet, S (2009). Whole Health Source. Retrieved 30th October 2015 from http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com.au/2009/05/pastured-eggs.html
[7] European Journal of Nutrition, February 2013, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 1-24.
[8] Markham, H (2015). “Why full fat Diary may be healthier than low fat”, Retrieved 30th of September 2015 from http://time.com/3734033/whole-milk-dairy-fat/.
[9] Markham, H (2015). “Why full fat Diary may be healthier than low fat”, Retrieved 30th of September 2015 from http://time.com/3734033/whole-milk-dairy-fat/.
[10] Ibid, n9.
[11] Ibid, n9.
[12] Moyer, M (2015). “It’s time to end the war on salt”, Retrieved 30th of September 2015 from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt/.
[13] Winslow, R (2014) “Low salt diets may pose health risks- study finds”, Retrieved from September 30th 2015 from http://www.wsj.com/articles/recommended-salt-levels-could-do-more-harm-than-good-study-suggests-1407964274.
[14] Ibid, above n2.
[15] “3 Square Meals vs. All Day Snacking: How Often Should you Really Eat Each Day to lose Weight”. Retrieved 30th September 2015 from http://www.details.com/story/how-many-meals-should-you-eat-a-day-to-lose-weight
[16] Ibid, above n2.

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