True or false – Will carbohydrates make you fat? Does salt increase blood pressure? If you think that the answer to both our questions is ‘true,’ you have reached the right destination.
There are several myths your parents and friends will tell you, but are they scientifically true? We blow the cover of ten most common food myths that you have heard so often.
Food Myth: Fat free food is calorie free
You can eat as much fat free food as you want. But will it help you slim down? Well not really, if you are trying to lose weight, try burning calories or consume fewer calories.
Nutritionist, Mansi Belani from Evolve Medspa cautions: “A low calorie diet works on the simple principle that calories in terms of energy give us fuel for the day-to-day activities. If you reduce calories less than the body requires it will burn fats (at initial stage) to replace them. If you are eating fewer calories, than your body needs to burn fat.”
Food Myth: Eat lots of protein to build muscles
Our strength and conditioning coach Arnav Sarkar says that protein consumption levels ‘depend on the size of the person and the intensity of his or her training. In general I would recommend 1 gram per kg (of the person’s weight) to be a good place to start.’
But those engaged in intensive training need to increase their protein intake. ‘The most that it’ll increase to will be 1.2 or 2 grams for each kilo that you weigh – but do note that this cannot be self prescribed.’
On the flip side, the notion that extra protien will help you muscle up even though you only workout at low intensity 3-4 times a day, while leading an otherwise sedentary life, is wrong.
Food Myth: Excess intake of salt increases high blood pressure
When you have high blood pressure you are sensitive to salt, that’s when you should reduce the intake of salt. But the best component to fight BP is potassium; it has a high chance to reduce high blood pressure.
Food Myth: As long as the fast food is ‘basically’ healthy, it’s ok.
No one is immune to fast food. Even if you opt for a salad, thinking it is a healthy option you might be wrong. These salads are usually high in salt and rich in fat content. The salad dressingor the mayo can affect your weight and body.
Food Myth: Organic Food No More Nutritious than Non-organic Food
Organic food from a farmer’s market is the hottest trend the world over. But is it nutritious than the food available at the local market? Latest research ‘found there was no difference in the amount of vitamins in plant or animal products produced organically and conventionally – and the only nutrient difference was slightly more phosphorous in the organic products.’
Food Myth: Carbs are fattening
Refined carbs are unhealthy and calories are fattening. But carbs procured from whole grain,fruits and vegetables boost energy and help in weight loss. Contrary to Atkins’ Diet that enforces low carb diet, you will gain weight eventually.
Food Myth: Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those in the day
It doesn’t matter when you consume high calorie food – morning or at night. You will still put on weight. You need to follow a proper low calorie diet under the guidance of a nutritionist.
Mansi Belani explains an ideal low calorie diet, “Proper low calorie diets essentially involve consuming foods that are high on nutritional content and yet have fewer calories. Yes, unessential fats have to be eliminated like deep fried, shallow fried food items, butter, ghee etc. but it is good if you incorporate nuts like 3-4 almonds, 2-3 walnuts & few teaspoons of vegetableoil except coconut oil”.
Food Myth: You need eight glasses of water a day
According to research, women need two and half litres of water while men need three and half litres of water. BUT, there are some criteria:
You have to take into account the liquids from beverages and foods.
If it’s a hot sweaty day, you need more than this amount.
If you’re pregnant, exercising, sweating or vomiting you need more than the 3 litres of water.
Food Myth: Gluten-free food is healthy
Gluten free diet is recommended for those who have celiac disease. It is unadvisable to follow gluten free to lose weight. But it would be great to eliminate processed food from your diet. This can help you shed kilos.
Food Myth: As long as you’ve eaten right, you can eat a dessert every day.
Refined sugar is a non-nutrient. This essentially means that it does not give you any nutritional benefits. Refined sugar also leeches nutrients from your body, depleting your body of the good gains from healthy foods.
Therefore, any desserts made with refined sugar will harm you. However, you can save yourself by ensuring three things:
1. The dessert is permissible within your day’s meal calories.
2. You stick to portions and eat desserts only after ensuring optimal nutrient gain from other foods – all within the day’s calories.
3. If you absolutely must eat dessert often, then ensure it uses natural sweeteners and doesn’t have other harmful ingredients like refined flour. Dark chocolates are a good choice. As always, stick to portions.