Eight nutrition myths (and why they’re wrong)

1. You need to cut carbs to lose fat

This is a common myth surrounding the notion of consuming carbs.

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet. Choosing ‘complex carbs’ over ’empty carbs’ is the best way forward. Complex carbs provide the body with essential nutrients and energy, as well as vitamin B.

They are packed with fiber and you digest them slower, which mean they keep you fuller for longer.

‘Empty, or ‘simple’ carbs provide fewer minerals or nutrients and are considered ‘refined’ as opposed to the superior nutrient dense complex unrefined carbohydrate choices.

Complex carb examples are peas, beans, wholegrains, and vegetables.

Both simple and complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy.

Bad or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients, such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals.

Complex carbohydrates are not at all fattening; therefore they can be included in a weight loss diet.

They are full of dietary fiber. They help to manage blood sugar levels, as well as promoting digestive health.

2. Eating well is time consuming

It is all about being organized, with a little bit of knowledge and know-how. Cooking in bulk is the answer. Making enough to do four portions or so will help offset some of the negative associations with eating well and how much time it could take.

Having the right ingredients in the pantry and setting aside a couple of hours per week can help. For example, why not make a soup, a curry and a stew at the same time?

They all need onions, garlic and some veg, so what a great way of cooking for all three. You could make 12 meals in two hours with three different options. Win-win!

It is all about timing and being organized. Having the right and healthy ingredients in the house are essential to making the best meal choices. So think healthy, organized and set some time aside.

3. Snacking is bad for you

It all depends on what you are snacking on and when you are snacking.

Having snacks late at night isn’t the best for digestion and can impact on getting good quality sleep.

However, having a snack in the afternoon when we are sluggish and need to continue with work, for example, could prove beneficial.

Although, as mentioned, it is also important what you decide to snack on.

Grabbing cakes, cookies, buns, chocolate, pastries and pies are not going to sustain you.

They will possibly provide instant gratification and energy momentarily, but they will not provide nutritional benefits or sustain energy provisions throughout the hours to follow.

Poor snacking can leave us even more exhausted and depleted. Good snacks to choose in those moments where they are called for include oat cakes, humous, apples, peanut butter, nuts and yoghurt.

4. It’s hard to source nutritious food

This is simply not true. Every supermarket has a fresh fruit and vegetable section.

They also have an array of grains, pulses, beans, legumes and lentils.

Supermarkets also have fish and meat varieties that are healthier choices, the sorts of foods you buy without being heavily processed and covered in creams and sauces with high calorific contents and bad fats.

There are also other places where you can purchase your favorite delicious and nutritious ingredients such as your local Asian supermarket, the local health food shop, your local farm shop or food market.

Another option is on Amazon where you can source many of the ingredients that are difficult to find elsewhere.

5. We can get our nutrition from food alone

This is true, but only to an extent. If we eat a balanced diet of complex carbs, essential fats and nutrient dense proteins and fibre, in theory we should meet our nutritional needs. However, if you are a vegetarian it may be harder to source more vitamin B from our foods, therefore, for some, supplementing with a B vitamin may be advised for a period of time.

For those who are vegan, sometimes being able to source dense protein from our foods, and getting the recommended nutritional intake of protein may prove more challenging. Pea protein is a great way to boost our intake for example.

Vitamin D, which is essentially a hormone, is difficult to get from food alone, therefore we rely on the sun to provide us with an adequate level that we need for a variety of health functions, including the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for maintaining strong and healthy bones.

Sometimes, depending on where we live geographically, we may need to supplement our vitamin D in order to reach an optimum level.

6. Low-fat or fat-free foods are better for you

This is a clever marketing strategy to sell more foods with these titles or claims.

Often in these cases where fat is removed or something is ‘free’ from something considered a negative, they are replaced with other nasties to overcompensate for the lack of the fat.

Some fats are good for us. For example, nuts, seeds and fish. Then there are bad fats, such as red meat and ice cream.

So when choosing fats, pick good fats as part of a balanced diet and avoid bad fats where possible.

7. Nutritious food is expensive

Some countries that are still considered to be developing have the most nutritious and well-balanced diets. Take India as an example. If we are able to buy and store in bulk, it can help lower the cost of every day pantry items, like pulses, nuts and seeds.

Some of the richest countries in the world have the poorest diets. Take America for example — an estimated 40% of the American population is obese. It is about knowing where to source the ingredients, how to cook the food, how to cook in bulk and how to store the food.

All little tips can help towards eating in a more healthy, affordable and sustainable way.

8. Eating well is complicated

It is as complicated or as simple as you want to make it. As long as you are able to focus on healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish and avocados, as well the complex carbs mentioned earlier and consume good sources of protein, whether it be meat, fish, dairy, nuts, pulses, you should, as a result of these food choices, be eating well.

I love this quote from French chef Auguste Escoffier: “Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.”

So choose your food wisely.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top