Eat This, Don't Eat That! Let's Bust Nutritional Myths!
Do you see numerous tips & strategies floating on social media telling you what, how and when to eat or drink? Let’s fact-check some.
In the age of social media, everyone has become a self-styled guru dispensing advice about diet and nutrition. It doesn’t take long for a random claim to find its following. But it is better to have caution as some may be ill-informed.
Check these commonly repeated bits about food and nutrition that only convey a part of the truth:
Myth 1: Eggs increase your cholesterol.
Fact: Do you remember when everyone started shying away from eggs fearing that it is bad for them? Others would eat egg whites and discard the yolks to be health-conscious.
Eggs are a source of dietary cholesterol, but different studies have found that the cholesterol in eggs has no significant effect on our blood cholesterol levels. Instead, eggs are one of the cheapest sources of complete protein.
You can have one to two eggs every day without worry.
Myth 2: Fat-free foods are great for your diet goals.
Fact: Are you cutting fats entirely from your diet to accomplish your diet goals? That can be counterproductive as your body needs fats to perform optimally.
Fats consumed through your diet promote immunity, absorb vitamins, and make you feel full and satisfied after meals. You can choose healthier fats in whole foods like eggs, fish, nuts, and olives instead of processed foods for your health.
Myth 3: Jaggery is a healthy sugar substitute.
Fact: Does someone you know with diabetes or high blood sugar levels opt for jaggery instead of sugar in their tea and other sweet delights? Well, jaggery is not as healthy as you would think.
It contains some minerals and vitamins (more than processed white sugar), but it is just another form of sugar with almost the same amount of calories. As it tastes less sweet, you may use more of it in your food, leading to higher consumption and detrimental effects on your health. Use it in moderation like you would do table sugar.
Myth 4: You need to be on a detox diet to help your digestion.
Fact: Few health trends have gained as much popularity as detox diets and cleanse. Well, they are unscientific and unneeded. Your body knows how to detox itself—your liver rids your body of any toxins naturally produced in the body.
Going for a detox diet, like consuming fruit juices or eating only boiled vegetables, may rather deprive your body of essential nutrients and ruin your gut health. However, going on a digital detox can be useful.
Myth 5: Carbs are bad for you.
Fact: Carbohydrates, like fats, get a bad rep because every other diet and fitness guru seems to be asking you to reduce their consumption. But like fats, carbohydrates are an invaluable constituent of your nutrition. They sustain you and provide you with the energy to function every day.
Carbs build muscle mass, promote gut health, and control weight gain. You can perhaps limit the consumption of high-calorie, high-sugar carbs found in fried food, white bread, and desserts and instead choose healthier carbs found in whole wheat, brown rice, beans, and fruits.
Myth 6: Drink many glasses of water every day.
Fact: “You must drink at least eight glasses of water every day”: Many people repeat this mantra, but there is no scientific evidence. You should follow your body’s instinct and drink water whenever you are thirsty.
Apart from directly drinking water, your body gets it from foods you eat, like fruits, caffeinated beverages, meat, eggs, and fish. Your required water intake depends on age, body type, activity levels, and climate conditions (you need more water in summer).
If you are still worried about it, carry a water bottle and sip some water throughout the day.
What to do before accepting any nutrition claims to be true?
These are a few common diet and nutrition myths you must have come across at some point in your life. What can you do if you come across any more such hoaxes or facts? It is better to verify any tips and diet and nutrition claims on social media or the internet.
If something seems too good to be true, that may be the case. Verify any new diet and nutrition information before adopting it. Do not just google it and refer to random links online. Look for trusted sources like medical publications or renowned news outlets and read the fine print.
You may implement some diet restrictions because a family friend or relative told you that cutting down on a food source worked for them. Understand that your body’s needs may be different. Do not make any drastic changes in your diet without medical consultation.
Speak to a nutritionist to learn about your nutrition needs and the changes you can implement in your diet for any particular health issues.
If you think that any foods may be harming you or you may be allergic to something, consult your doctor to get tested and receive medically-prudent guidance.
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