Every day, we are exposed to a wide variety of health and nutritional information on social media and the internet. However, not all of this advice is factual. We spoke to some of India’s top health professionals to shatter common food myths. Here’s what they had to say.
These are the 12 biggest nutritional myths blown by the experts
The most common food myths
1. Myth: Consuming fats makes you fat
Fact: Contrary to common wisdom, studies have shown that fats, when consumed in moderate amounts, are good for you. “People are afraid to eat ghee and oils and eat fat-free because they think they are doing the right thing. In reality, when eaten in the right amounts and in both visible (ghee, oils and butter) and invisible forms (nuts, seeds, avocado, cheese, oily fish), fats are actually beneficial to health. Fats play a very important role in your body and are responsible for a number of metabolic functions. In addition, certain fats act like anti-inflammatory agents and are the only source of certain vitamins – vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Unless you overdo it, you will benefit from eating fats! “Explains Kamna Bhandari, lifestyle coach and co-founder, intermittent fasting and mindful living.
2. Myth: Consume small, frequent meals for weight loss
Fact: It is generally believed that eating smaller, more frequent meals will boost your body’s metabolism and aid weight loss. However, if you are eating healthy and meeting your energy needs, the frequency of your meals doesn’t matter.
Myth 3: Focus only on the “calories in, calories out” approach to weight loss
Fact: While reaching a calorie deficit by burning more energy than you expend is a crucial factor in losing weight, it’s not the only thing that matters. “This is not true as the process of losing weight is much more complex! Calories are only part of the puzzle. Our emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and other factors like sleep, stress, and hormones affect the way our bodies process energy. If we only focus on calories, we are missing out on these important factors! “Says Neha Ranglani, nutritionist and author of the book Breakfast Reboot.
4. Myth: Thin is healthy!
Fact: While obesity has been linked to a number of harmful conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, experts advise that it is beneficial to focus on nutritious foods and stay active rather than getting thin. Hence, maintaining a healthy weight and body fat percentage is the way to go.
5. Myth: “Sugar-free” is good
Fact: “Food labels can be just as misleading as your tinder match,” jokes Pallav Bihani, founder and CEO of BOLDFIT. He adds, “Foods labeled“ calorie-free, ”“ sugar-free, ”or“ fat-free ”are usually filled with harmful preservatives and substitutes that do far more harm to your body than natural calories. Additionally, some high protein foods like nutrient bars and breakfast cereals are filled with artificial sweeteners that will destroy your fat loss without you even realizing it. I suggest that you consume natural products as much as possible. In the long run you’ll be fine! “
Myth 6: Eating carbohydrates leads to weight gain
Fact: Eating moderate amounts of nutritious carbohydrates that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals is actually beneficial. These nutritious carbohydrates include starchy root vegetables, grains, and legumes. However, excessive consumption of high-carbohydrate, sugar-containing foods leads to weight gain.
7. Myth: Consuming carbohydrates at night is harmful
Fact: “Because the Indian diet is based on carbohydrates, it is difficult to eliminate carbohydrates at night, especially in the long run. In addition, eating carbohydrates at night helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle by producing serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes healthy sleep. If you eat carbohydrates at night, you can sleep better! “Notes Ruchi Sharma, nutritionist and founder of Eat Fit Repeat.
8. Myth: Your macronutrient ratio is all that is important to good health
Fact: While adjusting your macronutrient ratio can help you lose weight, the quality of the foods you consume is more important for overall health. For example, if you only focus on your macronutrient ratio and consume highly processed foods and protein shakes, you can potentially lose weight. However, to improve your metabolic health, lifespan, and vitality, it is recommended that you eat a healthy diet of natural foods regardless of your macronutrient ratio.
9. Myth: Excessive Protein is Required to Build or Maintain Muscle
Fact: “In my opinion, the biggest nutritional myth is that we need excess protein to build or maintain muscle. That’s not the case! To build muscle, you need to consume the minimum amount of protein that doesn’t necessarily come from supplements but from simple, natural foods, ”explains Prateek Kumar, founder of FitCru.
10. Myth: Dietary supplements can replace real foods
Fact: While diet supplements are useful in many ways, they should never replace real foods. For example, taking a fiber supplement doesn’t mean you can stop consuming high fiber foods like vegetables, beans, and fruits. These foods contain nutrients and botanicals that cannot be replaced by added fiber. “Dietary supplements should do exactly what the name says – supplement normal inputs when the body is deficient. If you have a balanced diet, you should most likely get all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs in the amounts you want, ”adds Avinash Mansukhani, transformation specialist and founder of Fight The Sunrise.
11. Myth: Eating less or starving yourself is the only way to lose weight
Fact: “Eating less only slows your metabolism, makes you lethargic, deficient, and most importantly, increases cravings and makes you unhappy. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat right instead of eating less, and consume the right food at the right time! “Says lifestyle coach Kamna Bhandari.
12. Myth: Immunity boosters build your immunity overnight
Fact: “There are several products on the market that are marketed as ‘immunity boosters’. However, the truth is that immunity cannot be boosted simply by taking these pills. Yes, they help, but a large part of our immunity lies in our sleeping habits, the quality of the food and our lifestyle, ”says Pallav Bihani, founder of BOLDFIT.
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