07 Sep 2016

Healthy Eating and Nutrition Myths

Health and Wellbeing Advice

When it comes to eating right, you are spoilt for advice. Unfortunately, separating fact from fiction can be difficult, especially when everyone has an opinion.

We’re here to bust the myths surrounding nutrition.

Low fat dairy is the better option

Dairy foods provide us with a generous serving of calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein. But when it comes to full fat vs low fat, many people steer clear of the extra calories, fearing the fat content will jeopardise the efforts to stay lean.

While they do contain more kilojoules, full fat dairy products will also fill you up more. Keep your serving sizes in check and be sure to read your labels. Some low fat dairy products can also be higher in sugar or salt than their full fat counterparts, especially when it comes to yoghurt and cheese.

Don’t eat after 7 pm

At the end of the day, calories are still calories and will be treated as such by your body regardless of what time you’re eating. Your body doesn’t have a cut-off time in which it will decide that your late night snacking will be all stored as fat – this is all dependent on the amount of calories you ingest throughout the course of the day.

Some people choose not to eat after a certain hour in the evening as it means they prevent regularly overindulging and going over their recommended daily calorie intake. If, on the other hand, you’re training in the evening, then eating at night is not optional. You need to replace the nutrients you’ve lost – and depending on the activity, you’ll need a balance of water, electrolytes, carbohydrates and protein.

Chocolate/sugar/chips are bad for your health

While your junk food of choice isn’t exactly good for your health, it’s important to note that in a balanced diet and exercise routine, the occasional treat is not going to harm you.

When it comes to putting food in your mouth, your body doesn’t realise whether it’s eating a slice of cake or an apple – it realises you’re providing it with a certain amount of nutrients and extracts them respectively. If what you’re eating is low in essential nutrients and provides little to no nutritional value, your body won’t have much use for it, thus adding what is effectively “empty calories” to your daily intake.

Keep your calories in check with a nutrient rich diet that incorporates as many fresh wholefoods as possible, and ensure you’re sticking to a regular exercise routine. To lose weight, you need your calorie intake to be lower than your energy output, and to maintain weight, you need a balance between calorie intake and energy output.

Every now and then, your body needs a “cleanse”

Whether it’s juice, tea or colonic irrigation, it’s hard not to get sucked in by the idea of a “detox” – after all, cleaning your body from the inside out sounds like a good idea in theory, right? Nope. It’s best to save your money and spend it on a healthy grocery haul instead.

Between the kidneys, liver, skin and even lungs, a healthy, functioning body already has its own natural detoxing system in place. Many experts believe there is little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins because the human body has evolved a remarkable structure of intrinsic mechanisms to filter unwanted substances.

For more information on cleansing your insides, read up on what a detox diet is really doing to your body.

Gluten free = good for you

It’s important to keep in mind that gluten free does not equal carbohydrate and sugar free. Gluten-free goods are designed for people who are intolerant to the wheat-based protein, gluten, found in wheat, rye and barley products. If you eliminate gluten completely from your diet (and aren’t gluten intolerant), you could be missing out on a good dose of folate, a B vitamin that assists the body in daily cell production. This is a particularly important vitamin for pregnant women.

High fructose corn syrup is even worse than regular sugar

Sugar has got a pretty bad reputation for its not-so-sweet effects on health – but when it comes to what sweetener to avoid, many will choose regular table sugar over its notorious counterpart, high fructose corn syrup.

While the impacts of high fructose corn syrup on the body are hotly debated, it still remains by and large, a naturally derived sugar, a liquid sweetener extracted from corn.  But, as it’s incredibly cheap to produce, high fructose corn syrup is added to a wide variety of products, from cereal to salad dressing.

The best solution? Limit your intake of sugar, period. Whether it’s high fructose corn syrup or regular table sugar, all sweeteners should be enjoyed in moderation.

Want to know more about the effects of food on the body? Our 10967NAT Diploma of Nutrition gives you a firm understanding of the fundamental principles of nutrition. Call 1300 616 180 to get started today.

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