5 popular diet myths debunked by a nutritionist

By Dr Emma Beckett

5 popular diet myths debunked by a nutritionist
Molecular nutritionist Dr Emma Beckett reveals the truth about the most popular diet claims.

The beginning of the new year is a great chance to take a look at all those popular diets you’ve either started or are looking to try, and see if they’re really worth all the hype. To help with your health and nutrition journey, I’ve debunked 5 popular diet myths.

MYTH: The less fat you eat, the better

Fat is misunderstood! It is actually really important part of a healthy balanced diet. Fat is important for energy, helping you feel full, and building important structures in our bodies like cell membranes and signalling molecules.

Choose more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are found in plant foods such as nuts, cereals, fish, and avocado.

The fats you want to limit are trans and saturated fats you find in animal products and hyper-processed foods. In order to stay healthy, it’s all about finding the right balance – don’t restrict yourself!

MYTH: Healthy food is more expensive

Don’t let superfoods marketing trick you into thinking that a healthy diet is expensive. There are lots of healthy options that are cheap to buy and aren’t going to spoil quickly.

Take cereal for example. It is great affordable option that provides you with fibre and wholegrains to support your gut health and to keep you feeling full. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are just as health as fresh ones, so you can buy them cheap and keep them on hand.

Instagram quality foods can be fun, but eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t want it to be.

MYTH: Skim milk is better for you than full cream milk

People have long believed that skim milk is better for you than full cream milk, however both options have their pros and cons.

Cows milk is about 4%t fat, but after it has been processed into full cream milk (found in supermarkets) it is about 3.3% fat. This is because, despite the name “full cream”, the milk has generally already been skimmed to make cream and butter.

On the other end, skim milk, although often called “fat free”, does contain some fat, but it has to be less than 0.15% to be labelled as skim.

Whilst skim contains less fat, research has suggested full fat is actually the healthier option as the fat helps trigger “satiety signals”, the messages that tell your brain you are full. When it comes to choosing which milk option, you need to consider this in context to your overall diet.

If you use the skim swap as an excuse to eat unhealthy options like cake during the day, you most likely won’t see any benefits. But don’t stress – the milk you chose isn’t likely to be the deal breaker when it comes to the quality of your diet.

MYTH: Fibre supplements are good substitutes for fibre-rich foods

Fibre is so important for our bodies as it feeds and forms the home of the good bacteria living in the gut. Balanced gut bacteria promotes better digestive balance, supports gut health, and can even support immune health.

If you can, the evidence all shows that it’s best to get your fibre from foods – because supplements don’t have all the benefits that foods have. Getting your daily fibre dose is actually really simple as there’s many high fibre options you’re probably already eating, like fibre-rich cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

MYTH: Skipping meals will save calories

Skipping meals isn’t a great solution to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, in fact, skipping meals can leave you feel more lethargic and lacking energy, which may result in you snacking on high-fat and high-calorie foods.

The best strategy to keep healthy is eating a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner and avoid snacking on unhealthy treats throughout the day. Food should be enjoyed, not avoided!

When it comes to your diet, the best way to lead a healthy lifestyle is all to do with balance. Don’t restrict yourself, but also make smart and informed choices.

Eating and staying healthy is really achievable and doesn’t have to be a chore if you don’t want it to be. There’s so many great and tasty options available at your local supermarket, meaning you don’t have to diet per se, rather, just focus on nourishment! Guilt isn’t healthy.



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