Author: Renu Puri
Nutrition should be an essential part of living a more fulfilled life. A lot of times, when we try to hop on a diet, our preconceived notions about nutrition get in the way and hamper our mindset, thanks to trends, fads, and stereotypes that keep us misinformed. In this day and age, it has become increasingly difficult to find authentic nutritional information that is reliable.
That is why with this blog, we aim to bust 10 diet myths so you can live your healthiest life and break free from any guilt that comes along with these myths!
From when our ancestors believed that the sun was a deity to recent times when people believe that broken mirrors harbinger bad omens, we have unconsciously spent a huge chunk of our lives in misconceptions. There are so many myths that have been passed down through generations that we seem to have lost count. Not restricted to any particular region, these myths have penetrated throughout the nation.
I remember being petrified as a child to tour the Eiffel tower as one of my friends had told me that a penny dropped from the top of the Eiffel tower could kill someone. Although remembering this instance makes me burst out of laughter now, it also makes me realize what a powerful impact these myths have on our psyche, especially when told at a very young age.
Myths are not exclusive or limited to one topic. You would find them to be about anything and everything and nutrition is no exception. A lot of people read about something vaguely and take it as the final word. “Whey protein powders are steroids”, “Eating an egg yolk will make you fat”, “Diabetics should refrain from consuming rice”, I could go on and on about how many bogus things I’ve heard with regards to nutrition that are far from the truth.
Recently, we got a query over email with regards to weight loss that made us perceive the impact of food myths on people differently. Some of us are skeptics by nature and would not necessarily believe anything without proof but we also have to understand that a huge percentage of people do end up believing a lot of what is said to them. Hence, it is very important to educate people on what is the truth and what is not.
That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to debunk traditional and modern myths so you can follow your fitness journey the ‘correct’ way!
If you believe this myth, you are not alone. A lot of what is advertised by the media makes us believe that a gluten-free diet or a vegan diet can only be done by celebrities or people with a big, fat wallet. With the sudden emergence of specialty health foods stores, average shoppers might look at the price of one specific health-food option and make up their minds that they just can’t afford to eat better. This is a huge misconception.
Eating healthier can be more inexpensive than eating unhealthy foods. Yes, you heard that right! You don’t have to eat gold-plated peanuts to lose weight or get fit. Incorporating loads of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet will do the trick. The good news is that contrary to what fitness moguls may convince you to think, you do not need to shop at high-end superfood stores to be “healthy”. While it may feel like a convenient place to get everything you essentially would desire for your fitness goals, local supermarkets and mandi’s have options with similar nutritional values. You just have to look with the right mindset and guidance.
With more and more people promptly educating themselves about nutrition, the misconception that foods that are high in fats are unhealthy is being put to rest. But all in all, a huge chunk of the population still believes that high-fat foods are not good for you. First and foremost, you need to understand that good fat is pivotal for the functioning of the body. Contrary to the belief, low fats are the diets that can trigger diseases and ailments like elevated insulin levels and triglyceride.
Diets high in fats like the keto diet have proved to be really efficient for the overall health of individuals – especially for someone who is looking to lose weight. A diet that is low in carbs and high in fats enables a process called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose.
With celebrities and socialites promoting a gluten-free diet for a liberating lifestyle, this notion is accepted worldwide by a lot of people. You can’t blame them though. If a person with the ideal body comes over to you and tells you that the secret to his body is a gluten-free diet, you would be bound to believe it. However, what they do not mention is the number of hours they spend in the gym alongside the diet and how they have 2-3 personal trainers to guide their exercises and diets. The truth is–you do not need gluten-free foods to be healthier.
Unless you have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should not be compelled to eat gluten-free foods just for the sake of being healthy. You can eat gluten and still be healthy. In a lot of cases, avoiding gluten can do more harm than good as some gluten-free foods can deprive you of the optimum amount of fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals needed for the body to function.
Multivitamins, probiotics, and health supplements are a staple in an average Indian household. The importance of incorporating multivitamins into our daily routines was etched deep in our minds from a very young age. Advertisements of Salman Khan promoting Revital, Anil Kapoor promoting Mankind’s Health Ok, and Shilpa Shetty promoting Fast&Up reinstate the importance of ‘living life, king size’. We are in no way trying to condone the efficacy of supplements but what we’re trying to say is the exact thing can be done through correct nutrition as well.
If you consume a balanced diet, have an active lifestyle, and focus on mindful eating, you don’t need any supplements to give you the nutrition. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency that is not being fixed through nutrition, then it becomes important to incorporate supplements but that should be done only under medical supervision or with the help of professional dietary guidance.
We always encourage our clients and subscribers to read labels, especially for foods that they decide to consume because it is very important to know what ingredients you are putting in your body. Impulsive food shopping can be very detrimental not just to your wallet but also to your health. There is no guarantee that the supplements stocked up in stores are safe for you. Every individual is different and to say that one supplement can work for anyone may not be correct. A lot of people have allergies and sensitivity towards medications or natural foods. The flashy labels with a super fit person endorsing the product does not guarantee that it's ‘all natural’ or ‘safe’.
You need to check if these products have been approved, vetted, and tested for safety. We always recommend seeking professional dietary guidance or taking medical advice as what may work for a certain person may not necessarily work for you. Just remember that anything claiming to make you lose weight in a couple of days in most cases would be a sham that your body would pay for in some other form. If you think a supplement is indispensable in your case, do your research and find what works out for you.
If I planted a tree every time I heard this statement, I would have a field full of beautiful trees. Now that I think about it, I probably should start doing something like that. For every client niwi.ai gets, we plant a tree of your choice! Let us know if that would be a good idea.
Getting back to the topic, Carbs are very important for your health. Even with diets like Keto, you have to take a pause at some point and restart your cycle because carbs are essential for you, and depriving yourself of carbs will hamper your energy levels in the long haul. Let us break it down for you – there are essentially two types of carbs –complex and simple. Complex carbs are found in unprocessed and nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Simple carbs on the other hand are found in processed foods like chocolates, candies, aerated soft drinks, and chips and are usually full of empty calories and have little to no nutritional value. Eliminating simple carbs from your diet and slowly integrating complex carbs will keep you satiated and also will regulate your bodily functions.
The concept of a detox is very subjective to people. Some quit smoking and call it a detox, some quit junk foods to opt for healthy foods and call it a detox, and some stop eating solid foods and go on a juice cleanse for the sake of a detox. The popularity of ‘detox’ also stems from celebrities raving about certain diets for weight loss that proved to be miraculous for them. Although detoxing once in a while is essential, many people misconstrue the true meaning and essence of a detox regime.
A detox aims to cleanse your body of any toxins and free radicals that may be hampering your bodily functions. To clear the air - detox has very little to do with weight loss. A lot of people who go on these detox diets aim to lose weight quickly. While they may lose some weight through the detox, it is very likely for them to gain it back when they switch back to their normal routine unless they understand what they have to continue doing with their body in the weeks to come.
This assumption or myth is synchronous to the previous one. People love bringing detox juices and cleansing drinks to their fitness classes but do not know much about what they ultimately do. In a lot of cases, these detox drinks don’t do much. A Study by Voice of Young Science found that ten companies couldn’t name a single “toxin” eliminated by any of their fifteen products, let alone prove that their products worked. Periodically case reports of potential risks, such as kidney damage from green smoothies or liver failure from detox teas are recorded. So, as we always recommend – do your research and evaluate what’s best for your body.
Toxins can be reduced by following a wholesome diet and regulating your sleep, activity levels, and following an overall healthy lifestyle. However, if your toxicity levels seem to be alarming, rather than following a two-three day detox program, visit a medical professional or a registered dietitian.
This one is partially false and a lot of people have controversial opinions on this one. Some think it is healthy while others think that they are just high-calorie foods. Let us tell you our unbiased opinion – Snacking is fine, as long as it is in a limited amount and the snack itself is a healthier one. E.g.: Fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.
The term ‘snacking’ is oftentimes used when someone snacks on highly processed foods and sugary drinks but this is not the truth. A fistful of nuts can also be a snack and so can a bowl of freshly cut fruits. It just depends on your perception. Processed and sugary foods will spike your blood sugar levels and affect your health in the long run. So make sure to stock up on healthy food alternatives in your pantry to avoid binging on processed snacks. The better choices you make, the healthier you will be.
Brown rice, brown sugar, and brown bread are perceived to be better for you than their regular counterparts. Nobody is sure of the origin of this statement but everyone seems to believe it nowadays. Just because you are replacing the regular counterparts with browner options does not decide its nutritional value. Independent foods decide the ultimate nutritional value. Some brown breads have artificial coloring, loads of preservatives, and refined flour. Now tell me, if you add food coloring to something, does it magically become healthier? Of course not.
While we agree that some brown food options are good for you, comparing them to certain foods without researching their nutritional value will keep you in oblivion. Brown rice is higher in fiber than white rice but certain ingredients in brown rice restrict the absorption of essential nutrients and can cause unnecessary issues if consumed for a long time. Most of the brown food options have similar calorific values and minuscule differences in nutritional values from their counterparts.
Everything starts with awareness. If you are someone who seems to have a hard time differentiating between myths and reality and need a little help in your weight or health journey, look no further!
Our registered dietitians educate you on nutrition at every step and curate plans that include food options that can provide you with the maximum nutritional value so you can keep your health at the forefront. These diet plans are created considering your body type, genetics, activity levels, busy schedules, and even your tastebuds! Yes, you heard it right. We believe that a diet should never feel like a compromise, but rather a lifestyle that you can sustain, and that is why we recommend mouth-watering recipes that will take care of any cravings and make you feel like you never left junk food.
Ready for a health revolution? Join us on our mission to transform the nutrition landscape!
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At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!
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