Diet & Nutrition

The worst diet lies you still think are true

Nutritionist and founder of the Right Balance, Kathleen Alleaume shares the worst diet lies we need to put in the bin.

At some point or another, we’ve all succumbed to the allure of a food fad, no matter how weird or far-fetched it may seem. From consuming nothing but cabbage soup, to swallowing the juice of a grapefruit before every meal, we’ve sure tried some crazy things to be our healthiest self.

In fact, a recent survey from Uncle Toby’s has found that 2 in 5 of us have tried a fad diet in search of a quick fix, but are they really the way to go?

We’ve asked Nutritionist and founder of The Right Balance, Kathleen Alleaume, to share the worst diet lies we need to stop believing so we can get back to focusing on what really matters – healthy habits and self-love.

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Skipping breakfast aids weight loss

The common adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is not so straightforward. When it comes to weight control, there’s evidence for both eating and skipping breakfast.

However, research does show that people who consumed whole grain cereals whether that’s in the form of whole grain toast or a porridge, fruit, dairy and vegetables had healthier diets at both breakfast and throughout the rest of the day.

So, what you choose to eat for breakfast matters, a lot.

A kilojoule is a kilojoule

If you had a choice between a cinnamon doughnut or a handful of nuts, which one would you choose? Both have roughly the same kilojoules (not that we’re counting), but the problem is the kilojoules are not created equal.

Referring to kilojoules is okay when you want to understand portion control, but not when taking into account how nutritious or filling your choice is. FYI: doughnuts have 6 times more sugar, three times more saturated fat and three times less fibre than nuts. Go figure!

There are healthier types of sugar

Whether it’s white, brown, honey, maple, agave, or coconut sugar, our body breaks down all types of sugar equally into glucose.

However, there are subtle differences in the way each sugar type is digested and absorbed, but for most people, one type of sugar isn’t better than another. The key is to limit the overall amount you consume regardless of the type.

Eating 6 smaller meals is better than 3 large meals

There is no science to back an ideal eating pattern. How regularly a person eats and whether they snack or not, is a matter of personal choice.

If a current eating pattern is working to help regulate your appetite, keep cravings at bay and prevent hangry moods, then there’s little reason to change eating frequency purely based on the latest diet trend.

Done right, nutritious snacking in between meals can help you avoid energy slumps and fill nutritional gaps.

You should eat ‘alkaline’ foods for health

It’s simply not possible to change the body to an alkaline environment as the body is an extremely efficient system that works 24/7 to keep the body in a slightly alkaline state at all times.

However, most alkaline diets do have some benefits, since a lot of the foods it recommends are good for you, such as fruits, veggies, and legumes, but some of the so-called “acidic” foods banned by the diet are also good for you, including whole grains.

Certain foods can boost your immune system

The immune system has been the centre of people’s nutrition conversation a lot this year, for obvious reasons. But there’s very little scientific evidence to prove that certain superfood will cure, treat or prevent any viral infection – in other words, give your immunity a boost.

Instead, your best bet is to focus on eating a balanced diet with a wide variety of colourful nutrients which will, in the long term, help your immune system.

No carbs at night

Spoiler alert: carbs cannot tell the time. The time of day you eat carbs makes no difference whatsoever to your waistline. Whether the kilojoules come from protein, fat, or alcohol, again, it is excess kilojoules, not carbs that are to blame.

Fruit is full of sugar

There’s no denying that all fruit contains sugar (some fruit more than others) in the form of fructose. But for most people, the benefits of eating fruit outweigh any disadvantages posed by its sugar content.

Fresh fruit is packaged up with fibre and also contains plenty of healthy nutrients and antioxidants.