The other week I was asked to give my opinion on some popular ‘Diet & Food Myths’, and so I thought I would share my responses to them with you in this blog post and the video below. Thank you for the great comments on it so far; you can leave a comment below telling me other diet myths that you’ve heard or under [this video] – I would love to hear them!
Thank for watching and reading :).
6 Popular Diet & Nutrition Myths.. BUSTED!
- 1) “Bread is the devil” – Bread is only the devil if you eat too much of it and smoother it in lashings of butter (because you’ll simply be eating too many calories!). Granary bread is a great source of whole-grain goodness, which reduces our risk of certain cancers, and it has a low GI, meaning that it releases its energy slowly. Having a couple of slices of bread with an olive-oil based spread plus a healthy filling such as tuna and salad is an ideal lunch option!
- 2) “Eating past 7pm is bad for you” – Our body doesn’t store more calories just because it’s later in the day however ideally you should aim to have your last main meal around 2-3 hours before bedtime to avoid indigestion. Eating late at night isn’t problematic if you truly are hungry or have just come in late from work etc. however it may be problematic if you are snacking on high fat/sugar foods out of boredom and subsequently eating too many calories over the course of the day.
- 3) “Eating more than 3 meals a day, aka snacking in-between meals, is bad” – You should eat when you’re hungry – which is usually around every 3-4 hours when awake. Recent research also suggests that those who eat 6 times a day, as opposed to only 4 times a day, actually consume fewer daily calories and weigh less – perhaps because those who ‘eat little and often’ avoid getting over hungry and don’t over-eat!
- 4) “You need to eat super-foods to be healthy” – There is no legal definition of the word ‘superfood’ but generally it refers to foods that have a relatively high nutrient content. On that basis all fruits and vegetables are superfoods in my eyes and ideally we should eating a range of different colours a day (to ensure different nutrients) with at least 5 servings a day (1 serving is 80g or a handful).
- 5) “Saturated fat is bad for you” – So called good fats are those which reduce the risk of heart disease and include those from vegetables (rapeseed oil which is a mono unsaturated fat), nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish (which is a polyunsaturated fat) and olives. So called bad fats are processed fats (or trans fats) found in some fried foods, cakes and biscuits, and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat, found in animal products and coconut oil is more of a neutral fat from a health point of view. The Mediterranean diet promotes a moderate amount of fat to be a eaten a day (40% of calories coming from fat) with them mainly being mono and poly unsaturated.
- 6) “Skipping breakfast is good way to save calories” – Skipping breakfast is never a good idea as it can lead to poor concentration and energy levels for the morning ahead. It may also leave you craving energy from the vending machine at 10am! So don’t worry about ‘saving calories’ – have your bowl of porridge topped with yoghurt, fruit and seeds at 300 calories and leave the chocolate muffin (at 450 calories) on the shelf in that shop you pass on the way to work ;). Check out my breakfast recipes for inspiration and for another reason to eat it check out the results of the National Weight Control Registry (almost 80% of successful slimmers EAT BREAKFAST!).
So there you have it.. my responses to 6 common diet myths. What do you think.. and have you heard any others?!
Great post and video dispelling some common myths Nic! However, as a public health nutritionist, I was a bit disappointed to hear you refer to the advice to cut down on sat fat as a “myth” – although there has been much debate on the role of sat fat and CVD recently, the totality if the evidence still supports the official dietary guidelines. Prof Bruce Griffin at Surrey wrote a good piece on this only a few days ago: http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/comment/saturated-fat-guidelines-to-reduce-coronary-heart-disease-risk-are-still-valid/20068191.article But I completely agree with your advice that we should eat a more Mediterranean style diet, including choosing unsaturated fats like oily fish and nuts….. basically the eatwell plate! 😉
Hello! Ok so I’m not disputing the link between LDL-C and sat fat (as the article states) HOWEVER the new dietary CVD guidelines (JBS and NICE) now refer to us checking LDL particle size/density rather than number to measure CVD risk (large ‘fluffy’ particles being more optimum) which corresponds to HDL-C (high) and TG (low) for optimum risk status – the latter of which are cheaper to check in the blood. I work in a large CVD/Diabesity department and although it is hard to change the way we think it’s so interesting to get behind the science. The EWP has its place however I’m not a personal fan of the images within it and prefer the American My Plate for easy to understand advice for ‘what to eat at a meal’!! xx
PS I never said do not cut down on it.. I say to replace it with MUFA but it’s not the end of the world if you prefer butter over an Olivio Spread 🙂 x
I’m loving that people are embracing the benefits of fats again. Long live avocado, coconut oil, and organic butter!
I’ve never been a skip breakfast kind of girl, it’s always been my favourite meal! SO yum!
Bravo :)) xx