There is always so much contradicting advice in the media about health and nutrition that it is no wonder we all get a bit confused. Here are a few of the common myths that people talk to me about ……
Eggs are bad for your heart
We all know that to keep our arteries healthy we need to keep an eye on our cholesterol levels . Eggs have got a bad name for themselves in the past as they contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolk. However, we now know that dietary cholesterol is not the main problem. It is more important to monitor our intake of saturated fat, as this has a much bigger effect on blood cholesterol.
Eggs are a great source of protein, and are fantastic for creating a quick, easy, healthy, light meal, or for use in cooking.
Carbohydrates make you fat
So many diets advocate cutting down on carbohydrates like bread, potato, rice and pasta, but is it true that these foods are fattening and should be avoided if we are trying to lose weight?
In a word, No! Carbohydrates are less fattening gram for gram than fatty foods and are fantastic at filling us up and keeping energy levels stable. The carbohydrate itself is therefore a really healthy part of our diet but we often add calories to this by, for example, adding butter and cheese to a jacket potato, or spreading lots of butter on bread. These are the bits to watch if you are trying to lose weight not the starchy food itself. Cutting out carbs means you are going to miss out on the benefits of healthy foods like whole grains and starchy vegetables.
Low carbohydrate diets like the Atkins diet do cause weight loss, as they are extremely restrictive and cause you to reduce calorie intake, but may be unbalanced and unsustainable in the long term.
Tinned or frozen fruit and vegetables are not as good for you as fresh.
Vegetables and fruit are tinned or frozen very quickly after picking and therefore contain just as much in the way of nutrients as fresh alternatives. They are often cheaper than buying fresh, and are a good standby to have in the cupboard or freezer. So, your ‘5 a day’ does not have to be made up of fresh foods – remember that you can include juices and other sources of fruit and vegetables as well as frozen and tinned forms.
Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten in the daytime.
Calories are calories, and it does not matter when you eat them as they act the same in the body. The main problem with eating late at night is that you may get indigestion when you try to sleep. It is true that snacking late at night can be ‘fattening’ as you are likely to consume calories from high fat high sugar foods, but it is not the time of day that is the problem, purely the calories consumed.
If you want to build muscle you need to follow a high protein diet
We do need protein in our diet but it is not necessary to follow a high protein diet to build muscle. In the UK we generally eat much more protein than our body needs anyway, and building muscle is predominantly about your training program. Eating more calories than your body needs, whether they come from protein, fat or carbohydrate will be converted to fat and stored as fat in your body.
Honey and brown sugar are better for you than brown sugar
Nutritionally speaking, your body uses all of these in exactly the same way – they are all concentrated sources of sugar with very little in the way of other nutrients.
Organic foods are more nutritious than non organic foods
The term ‘organic’ refers to the method of farming, not the nutritional content. So, whilst eating organic may be better for the environment, it does not mean that you are getting more in the way of nutrition. Organic food is generally more expensive, so whether you chose these foods is a matter of choice and budget.