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!
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