The Keto, Dukan, 5:2, Zone, Atkins, South Beach, Magic Mayo, low-carb, no-carb, no sugar, Paleo, and on it goes. There’s seemingly no end to new and improved methods of quickly shedding extra kilos through innovative scientific (and sometimes rather unscientific!) breakthroughs, packaged with smart marketing and a celebrity endorsement or two. If you’ve given any of the above a shot, you might find these mythbusters helpful before embarking on another food related lifestyle change.
Myth: Carbs are evil.
It’s become fashionable to entirely cut carbohydrates to quickly lose weight. One example is the Gluten-Free diet emphasising proteins, vegetables and dairy over foods containing wheat, barley or rye. There are certainly positives in this diet but removing carbohydrates altogether can drain leave the body low in energy and is difficult to sustain. Moderation and balance are key. A diet based heavily on processed, refined grains, such as pasta or white rice is worth substituting for whole grains that are minimally processed and a healthier source of energy.
Myth: Egg Whites Good, Egg Yolks Bad.
There’s a popular misnomer that healthy eating means only the egg whites, exiling the poor yolks to landfill due to the dangers of cholesterol. This ignores real benefits of the yolk, loaded in antioxidants, omega-3 fats and amino acids that help prevent heart disease, so there’s multiple reasons to be colour blind when considering your next omelette.
Myth: Fruit is just full of sugar anyway.
It’s true that many fruits are packed with fructose, sucrose and glucose. It is also true that when we remove these sugars from their natural source and add them to other foods, we increase our risk of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. But the disconnect between myth and reality is how we consume those sugars. Whole fruit offers nutrients such as fibre to protect against bowel cancer, potassium to reduce blood pressure and flavonoids which can keep heart disease at bay. By contrast, drinking fruit juice extracts many of these benefits and leaves you with more concentrated sugars. Try to eat, rather than drink your fruits for maximum benefit!
Myth: 99% Fat Free is 100% Healthy.
Aiming to eat low fat foods is generally a good approach for a healthy diet. But beware of the flashing 99% fat free (or similar) logo that dominates our supermarket shelves. Typically, removed fats such as butter or oil make those foods taste good, and without these, many fat-free options can taste fairly bland and boring. To improve the taste, food manufacturers add in a host of preservatives, sugars, salts and thickeners. Whilst you may have settled on a low-fat option, chances are you have opted into a higher calorie intake.
Myth: Caffeine is no good for you.
Finally, a debunked myth that will make much of Melbourne rejoice. Not only is coffee okay in moderation, there are even a few health benefits. Two to three cups per day is a perfectly reasonable dietary habit and some studies have shown that regular coffee intake may help reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and gallstones. But watch your calorie intake if you like your coffee with sugar, cream or those delicious syrup flavours.