Nutrition is a confusing subject in the wellness world. There are many different opinions, and tons of conflicting advice. As a dietitian I hear these all day, every day! There are new nutrition ‘facts’ out all the time that are puzzling and questionable. I have put together a few of the most common ones at the moment, in the hope to settle the confusion once and for all!
1. Fruit is too high in sugar
To answer this question, we really need to clearly define the type of fruit we are talking about. A whole piece of fruit, in its natural state does not contain too much sugar. Fruit contains fructose, which is a type of sugar. However, fruit also contains fibre. This slows down the rate at which the fructose is absorbed into our bodies, and prevents those big spikes in blood sugar levels like we have talked about before. When we start juicing, drying or altering the fruit in some way, this is where we can run into trouble sometimes. It is important to consider your portion size – for example, how easy is it to munch through a big handful of dried apricots or dates. When you think about how much that would equate to in fresh fruit, you may be surprised! Same goes for juicing. Make sure it contains majority vegetables, or alternatively go for smoothies so that the fibre stays in!
2. Snacking is not healthy
To snack or not to snack? 5 small meals a day, or 3 main meals a day? There is no hard and fast rule for this one, it really does depend on you and your appetite. But, there is nothing wrong with snacking if that suits your body! Some people are satisfied with 3 main meals a day and have no problems with this. However, many of us myself included, like a snack to tide us over. If this is you then go ahead – it is not a good idea to ignore hunger. Keep plenty of healthy snack options on hand such as fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, yoghurt, vegetable sticks and hummus. Delish!
3. Carbs are the devil
Our bodies one hundred percent absolutely need carbohydrates. And your body does the exact same thing with them before 4pm as it does after 4pm. The key is the type and amount you are having across the whole day. Filling a quarter of your plate with a low GI or slow release carbs is an important part of creating a balanced meal. I know myself, that if I have just a chicken salad for lunch, I will be hungry not long after. Adding some roasted sweet potato, quinoa, canned legumes or basmati rice will give you the hit of carbs that your body craves! And this also helps prevent those pesky 3pm sugar cravings.
4. You have been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ with your eating lately
It truly makes me sad when I hear ladies refer to their eating as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I think it is so important for our happiness and our enjoyment of food to get away from this ‘all or nothing’ approach to food. Instead, we need to focus on a sustainable, balanced approach – something that we can see ourselves doing for the rest of our lives. Besides, dieting is no way to live! Try to be kinder to yourself, and think about striking that 80/20 balance every day.
So that’s it! Four of the most common nutrition myths I hear on a regular basis explained. Nutrition is an ever evolving science, which means our understanding of it and the way the body works is always changing too. Just be savvy with where you get your info and make sure it is coming from a trustworthy and credible source!
Photo credit: Annelies Susanto