Myth: You need to cut out some food groups for a healthy diet
Diet culture encourages this behaviour. Every new ‘IT’ diet removes a food group or at least a large portion of a food group claiming that ‘this’ is your answer to being healthy.
While cutting out whole food groups can lead to quick weight loss, if these foods are ever reintroduced it can lead to weight returning. Alternatively, if it is a long-term change to cut out these foods, it can lead to a number of related deficiencies that can compromise your health.
Fact: you don’t need to cut anything to maintain a healthy diet
Gluten, dairy, carbs, fat, sugar, it’s all been demonised at some point by the media, and the fall out has been people giving it up. However, the only reason you need to cut these foods out to be healthy is if you have an allergy to them such as coeliac disease (not technically an allergy) and lactose intolerance. It might seem beneficial in the short term when you cut out these certain foods but it can be more harmful both to your physical self and mental health.
Why this behaviour does more harm than good?
Well if you aren’t fully informed when making your decision, it can lead to detrimental deficiencies of essential nutrients that your body needs and craves to function at its peak. Cutting out carbohydrates for example usually results in a significant drop in fibre and sometimes even B Vitamins. It can result in lower energy over time as glucose from carbohydrates is the bodies preferred ‘fuel’.
Similarly, with diary, once it is cut from the diet in claims of helping with acne, or weight gain (I will get into that with another #mondaymythbuster) it can lead to deficiencies in calcium. Dairy is also a great source of all your macronutrients, so while you can get these elsewhere it is beneficial to eat well balanced foods.
That brings me to the comment made earlier around mental health. When foods are cut out of your diet it can lead to very restrictive behaviours. It creates rules around food that are often quite unsustainable. If you do give in and eat the food you have told yourself you can’t it can often result to feelings of immense guilt.
With so much misleading information out there around nutrition is has led to a lot of confusion, so it is no wonder that people crave rules around food. Because how are we to know what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ where every source of information is telling us something different?
But eating chocolate, bread or cake is not going to make you fat or unhealthy. It can all be a part of a healthy diet. Without using the wishy-washy term moderation, it can only be understood that your health or what you eat is not a one size fits all. But because anecdotally cutting out dairy worked for someone doesn’t mean it will suit your body. You have to experiment and find what works for you. But don’t just listen to the physical signs of your body, check in with your mental health as well. If cutting something out comes at the cost of your feeling restricted in social settings, craving that food all the time then its not right for you.
You never need rules around food. I wanted to send out this #mythbuster, because in the lead up to Easter or any holiday I know that these feelings and cravings for rules can get so much stronger.
Enjoy Easter, eat the chocolate, eat the hot cross buns. One weekend of indulgence won’t ruin your overall health and fitness goals. But celebrating with family will do a lot for your mental health and happiness!
If you found this post insightful you may also like these…
– One diet fits all
– Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
– Cheesy Bolognese Pasta Bake
Myth: You can never have too much protein
Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein make up the macro-nutrients. In the last few years both carbs and fats have got a bad rap in the health and wellness world, but protein has long standed as one of the healthiest parts that make up our food. For good reason, as protein is an essential building block for the body, helping to repair muscle, organs and bone.
There is now protein in everything from sweets enriched with protein, protein smoothies, even high protein pasta. But how much protein do we actually need? And can we eat too much protein?
FACT: When eaten in excess it comes out in your pee
Protein is great as it increases satiety and muscle retention – aka helps to keep us full for longer and build muscle.
However, unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein cannot be stored by the body. When protein is consumed in excess the amino acids that are the building blocks of protein are usually excreted and the remaining is stored as fat.
This is one of the reasons that it is recommended to include a source – however small – of protein at every meal time. As we can’t store it, it is best to consume small amounts at a time to allow it to be used efficiently by the body.
Now that brings me back to the fact I stated above. The excess protein comes out in your pee. Or more specifically the surplus of amino acids is excreted through your kidneys to make up urea – or urine!
Ever wondered why lemon trees thrive from being urinated on? Well that’s because the nitrogen in urine from surplus amino acids is like a natural fertilizer.
If excessive protein is consumed over a long period of time it can lead to a range of negative health effects, in particular kidney damage and dehydration as your kidney’s need to work harder and use more water to get rid of the excess nitrogen and other waste products of protein.
Most women in Australia actually consume too much protein, so if you are considering paying the extra 50c-$1 at the smoothie store for added protein powder chances are it is a waste of money.
I do sometimes consume protein powder, but usually in a smaller dose that the packet recommends and only if I haven’t had protein in my last meal.
So instead on making expensive urine, try and keep it simple and consume a small amount of protein a day. Protein should only make up 10-30% of your diet.
If you liked this #mythbustermonday post you may like these
– Olive Oil isn’t healthy to cook with
– Tips to eat more vegetables
Myth: One diet fits all
‘One size fits all’ – I used to see this all the time on clothes, well I call bullshit. Your one size fits all approach to clothes is discriminatory and out right silly. What fits my friend who 5’4’ is not going to fit me at 6’3’. There are no ifs or buts about it!
So why do we take this approach to dieting?
We want to find a magic pill or potion that will make us healthy and if someone finds what works for them, well it must work for me as well right?
There is one major reason that all of these diets that we see on the internet simply don’t work. Okay, a few more than one reasons, but this is a big one.
Everybody is different. Everyone does different levels of exercise. Everyone requires different amounts of energy and likes different types of food. No one diet is going to work for everyone.
What I eat, doesn’t work for my sister. While we both go the gym, she will predominately does weight training, while I add in a bit of cardio as well. I am 6 inches taller than her and weigh more than her. We have very different body types. She loves all things sweet and I love all things savoury.
So while we grew with the same lifestyle, and still follow very similar lifestyle choices etc what she eats is still different to me.
FACT: You need to figure out what you like and what works for YOU
So why is it that we think what works for one person will work for us.
Let’s take the new ‘no dairy’ fad for example. I get it, dairy reacts badly with some people, in some cases it can increase hormonal acne or you can be allergic to it causing serious bowel discomfort. However, that doesn’t mean that dairy is bad and should be avoided by everyone. It means for some people they don’t have the enzymes required to break it down in the body.
The same goes with gluten. Gluten reacts badly with some people, and dangerously if you have celiac disease, I am not denying that. But cutting out gluten just because you think it is ‘unhealthy’ or ‘bad’ is more harmful for you than actually eating it.
I have used these examples in this article, because so many people cut out things, restrict certain foods or follow insane diets because someone once said it made them feel ‘yukky’. But you are different, you are going to enjoy different foods and feel good on different amount and types of foods.
There are a lot more issues with fad diets/’ways of eating’, that I will go into on a different #mythbustermonday. But I think this is one that is forgotten or neglected the most.
There is no use in comparing yourself to your friends or family – when you live different lives, in different bodies following different schedules, exercise, work lives etc.
So how do I suggest you get on the journey to finding what works for you:
- Focus first on your relationship with food – questions what you read, what you hear and see in the media.
- Don’t compare your lifestyle or food choices to your friends or family – if you do more cardio or exercise in general, you are going to need more food, simple.
- If you feel best eating vegan and do it for ethical reasons go for it, but never choose a diet purely because you feel the need to ‘restrict’ things for health reasons.
The biggest thing to do, is question everything. Don’t just follow along because something worked for one or 1000 people. There is no magic pill. You need to find what works for you, and still allows you to enjoy food!
If you liked this #mythbustermonday post you may like these
– Drinking can’t be part of a healthy lifestyle
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Myth: Alcohol can’t be a part of a healthy lifestyle
Following on from last week’s #mythbustermonday talking all things restriction, over indulgence and moderation I thought I should dive a little deeper into one particular, possibly more controversial items that is usually labelled unhealthy and one of the first things restricted.
FACT: Alcohol isn’t the problem, it is how much we drink
Ok that is not entirely true. Alcohol is classed as a toxin and when broken down by the body can cause an array of side effects.
The first I want to highlight though is a positive, and the reason so many people do still reach for the bottle. Alcohol can relax you, alcohol is a sedative and depressant and acutely increases dopamine, GABA and serotonin. The hormones and neurotransmitters that positively influence your mood.
So when drunk in moderation alcohol can be great to relax you. I know for myself a drink or two every now and then helps me to unwind – I am a massive over thinker and struggle to switch my brain off when it’s time to relax.
The bigger issues come about when alcohol is frequently drunk in excess/ binged. Have you ever woken up after a big night out with a pounding head, dehydrated and even a little anxious? Well this is to do with how alcohol is metabolised by our body.
Alcohol like other drugs and toxins is broken down by the liver. It uses two main enzymes, ADH and ALDH. However, it has been found that these enzymes can be in slightly different forms and work at different paces in different people. That is why you might not have the same tolerance as your friend that is the same height and weight as you!
These enzymes are also the reason you wake up feeling incredibly dehydrated even through you desperately need to pee. Alcohol is a diuretic. So, the more you need to pee, the more the alcohol is dehydrating you.
Some of the more serious impacts of excess drinking are increased risk over time of developing alcoholism, liver disease, alcoholic pancreatic and cancer.
I am not going to tell you not to drink. That would be highly hypocritical of me. However, do so in a safe way. Always make sure to drink plenty of water during and especially afterwards and take a night off sometimes.
Similar to the questions I ask around food last week. I want you to think about why you drink?
Why do you find yourself reaching for the bottle every night? Every weekend? Why do you find yourself drinking in excess all the time?
It doesn’t make you unhealthy or a ‘bad’ person if you drink.
However, the level and frequency you drink can have negative impacts on your health.
If you are someone that suffers from anxiety, I would discourage against drinking in excess as it can prolong and amplify your feelings of anxiety.
OR If you are using alcohol as a crutch in social situations or to avoid your ‘problems’ all together I urge you to get help to cut back a little. Because alcohol isn’t going to make these problems disappear. When you wake up they will still be there.
Just as it is when it comes to our diet, drinking in moderation can be great when celebrating with friends, unwinding on holiday or after a big week at work. But regularly check in with yourself about why you are drinking!
Drink wisely and stay safe!
Myth: The Keto diet works for everyone
The Keto diet has fast taken the place of the Paleo Diet. It seems that everyone that was doing paleo has now jumped onto the keto bandwagon. But is this for a good reason?
FACT: YOUR BODY THRIVES OFF CARBOHYDRATES
So first off let’s just clear a few things up. The main source of energy and the first source that will ever be utilized if available is Glucose, which occurs when carbohydrates are broken down.
If your body is denied carbohydrates it will use a mechanism called ‘gluconeogenesis’ to turn anything it can in the body into glucose. The first thing to go is proteins in our body which builds up your muscles and organs, allows for the transfer of oxygen through your body – you name it!
So in order to protect itself the body enters ketosis. This is where fat is broken down into fatty acid and further down into ketone bodies.
Ketosis is our back up system. Our liver creates these ketone bodies but there are trade-offs of using this back up system.
Our body is clever, it does everything it can to protect us. But that doesn’t mean it is not a serious thing. For Keto diet we essentially trick our body by denying it carbohydrates and feed it dietary fat to make it enter ketosis.
However, the downfall of a lot of people following the Keto diet is they increase their veggie and protein sources and remove ‘carbs’ from their diet. The problem is eating more than two sticks of celery has enough carbs to remove your body from ketosis. Similarly, if protein is provided to the body it stays in gluconeogenesis for longer as it thinks that a carb source might come soon so it will just hold off and use the protein for energy first!
To get your body into ketosis it can be very difficult. It calls for dramatic changes to the way your eat. You specifically have to increase fats.
Ketosis is not more protein and less carbohydrates. You need to be eating 80% of your diet as dietary fat. You need to eat low carb vegetables (yes all veggies have carbs). But If you eat a lot more protein your body breaks them down to amino acids which through gluconeogenesis turns into glucose. THIS IS NOT KETOSIS…
Our brain cannot use fat as fuel so when fat is broken down to fatty acids it needs to be broken down into ketone bodies so that it can pass the blood brain barrier.
Online it has become this sensation that ketosis makes you burn your fat stores. However, that is not actually the case. It might have been, back when our ancestors would starve and their body would go into ketosis.
You are still eating on the keto diet so your body will always use that fat and protein first as a way to protect itself. You need to eat dietary fat during ketosis to make sure that your body doesn’t revert back to using protein for energy
A lot of people do experience a sence of ‘clarity’ or clear mind when following the keto diet. And studies have also found this to be true. That is because the brain does work well off ketone bodies. However the danger is, if too many ketone bodies build up in the body it can throw off the acid based balanced causing some serious issues in the body.
Just to wrap up.
The compliance rate of the diet is incredibly low. It is very hard to follow the strict guidelines the diet. Imagine making up only 5% of your diet wity carbohydrates every day. And now remember that vegetables are carbohydrates. Instead you now have to make up 80% of your diet with dietary fats. Eating out has just become very difficult. Because if you fall off the keto diet for just one day, your body will revert back to wanting glucose or as a backup go into gluconeogenesis and use protein for energy.
If you can imagine that, and think you could stick to it by all means try the keto diet.
I am providing you with the science in the article. I am not a clinical dietician, I don’t know your situation or your health so I can’t tell you what to do or what not to do. There are benefits to the diet, and there are also some very serious side effects that sometimes take a while to come about.
Something things I would like to point out are
- A lot of people online, are not actually in nutritional Ketosis they might be eating low carb but that is not ketosis.
- It is a very strict way of eating, which can be a trigger for disordered eating
- Very limited vegetables and dairy
- No Fibre
- Ketogenic foods are not a thing, your body can enter ketosis but one ‘ketogenic bar’ will not put you into ketosis. It takes your body a few days to enter ketosis. So just one day ‘break’ will cause your body to get out of ketosis.
The Keto DIET is still a DIET. The Keto Diet has now over taken the Paleo Diet. A lot of people have jumped on the keto bandwagon and are promoting it on social media and online but don’t have the full understanding of what ketosis is or what the side effects can be.
I am not telling you not to try it, that Is your right. But if you do, make sure to seek professional advice from a doctor or dietitian. Someone that can monitor you, do your blood work and check in with you.
If you want to hear about a nutritionist’s experience with keto – yes she tried it out herself for 12weeks for a scientific study – Check out Nadia Felsch on YouTube (Here).
Before you do ketosis, or any diet ask yourself – why do I need a diet? Why do I need to label it?
To feel your absolute best you need to look at yourself, what makes you feel best. Do you like pizza? Do you like cake? Why are you going on a diet that is going to restrict you from ever eating this.
A diet is a diet in the end. Really look at why this label is needed in your life.
Between extremes is always the best place to be. Before you buy in to hype and fads do research about it, ask a professional about it don’t just take the advice of someone on social media.
Check out one of our other Myth buster monday posts such as sticking to a diet and ways to eat more vegetables.
Myth: Skinny = Healthy
Over the last 5 or 6 years I have seen countless people, both in person and on social media stigmatise overweight people. Then complain themselves that they need to lose weight.
Let’s just start with this: We are not all naturally meant to be a size 6.
I used to think I was. I used to model while I was in school, and still remember getting absolutely shamed by a designer when I was 16 because I didn’t fit into the size 6 anymore. You know I was going through puberty and had grown hips and put on a few kg. This is only a mild case of stigma that I am talking about though.
Fact: Skinny doesn’t equal healthy
You could look at a girl who is 60kg and someone who is 90kg and assume the 90kg girl is overweight so out of the two they are unhealthier one. But what you don’t know is the 60kg girl starves herself, she is so unhappy in her body and she stops eating around friends, and is malnourished. Later in life she is going to suffer from brittle bones.
You don’t know anyone’s story, past or future. So you have no right to judge that person.
But still when we talk about health the first thing that comes into play is someone’s weight. Instead we should first look at nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption. Someone that looks skinny on the outside could be eating Mac Donald’s every day. They might not be gaining weight but they would definitely have a plaque build-up on their arteries.
A study done in 2002 showed that when you looked at BMI vs Mortality, Healthy behaviours and lifestyle habits significantly decreased a person’s mortality regardless of their starting Body Mass Index. SO why is it that we still focus on weight?
When we focus on weight the way our society currently does only exacerbates the problem. We see a decline in mental health, ruined relationships with food and a rise in quick fixes (aka fad diets) that don’t actually ‘fix’ anything.
I am not saying that extremes of weight gain hasn’t been linked with negative impacts on our physical health or predisposition to diseases later in life. But using overweight and obese as a blanket term to say someone is unhealthy is harmful and illogical.
People are not their weight, they are so much more. And more to the point our weight is not our sole determinant of health. Let focus less on weight loss and more on increasing healthy behaviours!
Check out some of our other Myth buster monday posts such as cooking with olive oils and detoxing the body.