Every year or so new diets become the fashion of the day. They sound interesting and seem to well backed by science. And the word spreads thick and fast, sometimes taking good common-sense hostage. And typically, our mind tends to exaggerate the diet itself and the benefits thereof. So, it’s time to probably take a reality check. Check out the diet myths the author busts in the piece below. Team RetyrSmart
As diet fads spread fast like gossip, it is time to take a reality check
- A vegan diet is automatically healthy
Vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy, but they can lack certain nutrients. You may have to use a little creativity to ensure you get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. Likewise, just because a food is vegetarian or vegan, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthy (e.g., potato chips). Just like with any diet, you have to look at the balance and nutrition of all the foods you’re eating.
- Raw foods are the most nutritious
One of the main beliefs is that cooking destroys nutrients and enzymes in foods that are essential to human health. But science doesn’t always support that notion. For instance, one study found cooking elevated the antioxidants and accessible lycopene in tomatoes. Plus, cooking kills bacteria and helps to reduce some harmful compounds in foods. So, eating a combination of raw and cooked foods is typically a healthier approach.
- Frequent small meals are better than fewer large ones
People claim this can help you lose weight by keeping your metabolism active. But again, science doesn’t back this idea. Eating frequently may have benefits for some people (like preventing excessive hunger), but it is incorrect that this affects the amount of calories we burn. Some research has even shown that frequent eating can increase liver and abdominal fat. So, at the end of the day what you put into your body is more important than how frequent your meals are.
- Carbs are the enemy of weight loss
Some people still tend to view carbs as the enemy, especially for weight loss. But the truth is not all carbs are evil. Simple and refined carbs — cakes, cookies, crackers, pasta, etc. — aren’t very nutritious and can contribute to weight gain. So when people lose weight from “cutting carbs,” it’s likely because they avoided these foods. But healthy carbs from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and more are part of a nutritious diet. And it’s time they stop getting lumped in with their unhealthy cousins.
- Fat in food equals fat on your body
While many people have finally learned to embrace fats, some still are scared fat in food might end up as excess fat on their bodies. But like carbs, not all fats are equal. Choose heart-healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive and canola oil, nuts, nut butters and avocados over those that are high in saturated and trans fats, including fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. These healthy fats help our bodies protect organs and absorb nutrients, among other benefits.
- Eating lots of protein strains your kidneys
Some people might believe eating protein causes your kidneys to work harder, raising your risk of kidney disease. Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should cut back on protein, this is absolutely not true of otherwise for healthy people.
Research actually has shown a higher protein intake might help to lower your blood pressure and combat Type 2 diabetes — two risk factors for kidney disease. Plus, protein consumption helps to maintain a healthy weight, which also benefits kidney function. So again, a balanced diet is what strengthens your body and prevents disease.
- A detox diet is worth a try
Detox diets and cleanses have become incredibly popular — often thanks to celebrities on social media peddling pseudoscientific detox products. But these dangerous products are typically a waste of money — and can end up doing more harm than good.
Some of these diets essentially starve you (or use laxatives) to cause you to drop weight quickly. But that’s incredibly unhealthy and can upset your gut health, among other issues. Instead, focus on cutting processed foods and drinking lots of water if you want to rejuvenate your system.
- Calories in versus calories out determines weight
Many people believe weight is a reflection of willpower, based on caloric input versus output. But it’s so much more than that. It is well known that genetics, hormones and various external factors have a huge impact on body weight. Junk food can also be downright addictive, making people quite literally lose control over their consumption.
Furthermore, not all calories work in the same way. For instance, a high-protein diet can actually increase your metabolic rate. Thus, weight is not as simple as counting calories and willpower, and you should never assume you know what’s going on in another person’s body.