DIET MYTHS BUSTED
‘Some fat in your diet is essential for healthy cell growth and nutrient absorption, but don’t go overboard, as fats are still high in calories.
You should eat fat to slim down From bulletproof coffee (made with butter) to avocado-with-everything, the latest eating trends promote fat, with fans claiming it kicks your body into burning fat, keeps you fuller for longer and plumps out skin. Research led by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra has shown fat may not be the heart- and waistline-enemy it was once considered to be, suggesting our reliance on processed carbohydrates is the bigger issue. But that doesn’t mean you should be too liberal with fats. ‘Avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil are all full of healthy fats we need,’ says Hobson.
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‘But they’re still high in calories so you’ll gain weight if you eat too many of these foods.’ Sugar alternatives are better for your body From coconut nectar to agave syrup, health-food stores are awash with supposedly healthier sugar substitutes. ‘But in your body, they act in exactly the same way as plain old table sugar,’ says Hobson. ‘There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these alternatives, and it’s fine to use them if you like the flavour, but don’t assume you’re eating something that’s better for you.
Some claim honey, for example, contains minerals, but you’d have to eat large amounts to get any significant levels into your body. Whether it’s agave or date syrup, they’re all just sugars and should be consumed in moderation, like any other sugar.’
Clean eating makes you beautiful ‘The trend has become confused with aesthetics, partly because of the use of words like “glow” and references to bright eyes and smooth skin in many of the books and blogs,’ says Hunter. You can even buy supplementary powders and teas boasting beauty benefits. But Hunter’s advice is: be realistic. While eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet is important for healthy skin and hair, avoiding sugar and drip-feeding yourself kale smoothies and coconut oil won’t give you lithe limbs or a radiant complexion.
We’re not designed to eat grains or dairy.
A principle of The Paleo Diet, the theory goes that grains and dairy weren’t part of our ancestors’ diets, argues that we’re not ‘meant’ to eat them. In fact, humans evolved to eat what was available; we wouldn’t have survived if we were rigidly designed to eat only certain types of food. ‘Grains are an important source of fibre, and most people in the UK have nowhere near enough fibre in their diets, raising the risk of digestive conditions and heart problems,’ says Hobson. Go for whole, unprocessed grains wherever possible: oats, brown rice and quinoa are good choices. Dairy’s rich in calcium, which is vital for healthy bones, so if you can’t eat it due to an intolerance, make sure you’re getting enough calcium from your diet; greens, chia seeds, almonds and fortified plant milks are good sources.
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