So is it a Diet Myth or Diet Fact? Let’s start with this: The web cannot replace a nutritionist.
Online you can find everything: tips for eating healthy, celebrity diets, inspired diets, cooking classes and countless opinions on eating habits with miraculous effects. How much of it is true though and supported by the majority of dietitians and nutritionists and how much is just a diet myth?
7 Diet Myths
- Gluten-free sweets are healthier. Diet Myth! “They (gluten-free sweets) are designed for those who suffer from celiac disease or gluten intolerance and for those who do not possess special health benefits. Indeed though, because of their composition, they often consist of other fats or excess sugar”, says Dr. Manuela Pastore, dietitian at Humanitas Hospital.
- “Sugar free” and “fat-free” will not make you fat. Diet Myth! “Even in the case of low-fat products, substances used to replace fats and sugars (additives, emulsifiers, stabilizers etc.) may not be very healthy and they don’t always come with fewer calories. Moreover, using such terms may encourage consumers to eat more,” adds the doctor.
- Carbohydrates make you fat. This is partially false and partially true as it depends on the type of carbohydrate. Overall carbohydrates provide us with energy and can be found in foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits and other healthy products. Processed and refined carbohydrates lack nutrients and fibers and are abundant in many processed foods with sugar and salt additives, these are the carbohydrates you should steer clear from.
- A healthy diet costs more. Diet Myth! Buying fast food can save you money, but only in the short run. Saving a little now can cost a lot later with the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle resulting in several potential health issues. However, you can also save money by buying fresh food: the secret is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and to plan your weekly menu before the trip to the super market.
- Eating late at night makes you fat. Diet Myth! “If you eat a well balanced diet, practice sports and do not overuse energy-dense foods, then there should be no risk in eating late at night,” notes the expert.
- Intense detoxifying (Cleansing) is good. Diet Myth! Detoxifying with liquids cleanses the body but if you follow a healthy diet which is consistently rich in fibers, your kidneys and liver will do the rest. Not eating can be dangerous for people of all ages.
- Energy bars help you get slim. Diet Myth! “I never recommend it to someone who is trying to lose weight. The content of fat and sugar can be very high,” Dr. Manuela Pastore notes. Energy bars are ok for someone after a strenuous workout who requires additional calories but they should not be replacing meals.
Are gluten-free, “no sugar” or “fat-free” products everything they say they are?
“The alternative foods, such as low-fat foods or foods with no gluten, can have a very different nutritional composition compared to the traditional ones due to the different production process. In these foods, substitutes of certain ingredients such as flour derived from wheat in gluten-free foods or sugar and fat in low-fat foods, are mixed with other ingredients instead. Often, to maintain the organoleptic and rheological properties of the product, several additives are used. These appear in the ingredient list, so it is recommended to read the labels carefully and buy products that have a short list of ingredients and where only known ingredients are indicated.” concludes Dr. Pastore.