Breaking Nutrition Myths
Increasing consciousness on fitness, healthy eating and weight loss, coupled with the wide use of digital and social media platforms have led to the indiscrete dissemination of information from a variety of sources on nutrition. It often becomes difficult to distinguish the facts from myths.
Here are some myths about healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss:
- It seems obvious that for weight loss we need to burn more calories than we consume (calorie-deficit diet).But consuming a low-calorie diet which lacks nutrients is not healthy, and a careful planning of the diet is crucial. Besides diet, weight loss programs should also take into account health conditions such as hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances and genetic factors, as well as medications that are taken by the person.
- One of the biggest myths is that fats are completely unhealthy. Contrarily, fats are one of the essential dietary components and we routinely need a certain amount of healthy fats in our diets. Going on extremely low-fat diets for a long period of time can cause metabolic disorders and heart diseases.
- There is a misconception that high cholesterol foods are bad. In fact, many high cholesterol foods such as eggs and full-fat yogurts are good for health. One should not completely cut down cholesterol foods unless there are specific health conditions.
- Carbohydrates are always associated with weight gain, but they are an important part of a balanced, healthy diet. In fact, a balanced carbohydrate diet can help to lose weight.
- It is good to know the basic nutritional value of the foods we are eating. But at the same time, it is not necessary to observe the caloric value of each and every meal we take. Recent studies reveal that “calorie-tracking” has been associated with an increased risk of disordered eating.
- We tend to think that fruit juices are healthy, but this is not always the case. Many juices sold in stores are loaded with sugar and are high in calories. Excessive consumption of these drinks can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.
- Advertisements and social media platforms condition us to think that being skinny is healthy. It is true that obesity is associated with health hazards like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but being skinny does not equate to being healthy. A person can have a healthy lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise and still not be “skinny.”
- Media such as Instagram are full of “before” and “after” pictures that promote various exercise regimens or diet plans for weight loss that lead us to believe that losing weight is quick and easy. But in reality, weight loss requires a great amount of patience, perseverance, hard work, and discipline.
Though several fads and theories come and go, the secret to good health with reduced risk of lifestyle diseases is based on having a well-balanced diet, exercising in moderation and staying stress-free.