Diet myths: What you need to know | The New Times

There are many diet and nutrition myths that people swear by just from what they hear, or read on the internet. However, nutritionists urge you to be mindful. Some of the myths are;

High fat foods are unhealthy 


Healthline highlights that this antiquated and incorrect theory is slowly being put to rest, many people still fear high fat foods and follow low fat diets in the hopes that cutting their fat intake will benefit their overall health.


Low fat diets have been linked to a greater risk of health issues, including metabolic syndrome, and may lead to an increase in insulin resistance and triglyceride levels, which are known risk factors for heart disease.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day 

Researchers don’t agree with this notion, although having breakfast is one of the most important factors in setting yourself up for a healthy day. Research has shown that this might not be the case for most adults. For instance, research indicates that you need to eat small, frequent meals for optimal health. Eating small, frequent meals regularly throughout the day is a method used by many people to boost metabolism and weight loss.

Eating frequent meals throughout the day is not the best way to promote weight loss. Research shows that a regular meal pattern may be best for health.

Non-nutritive sweeteners are healthy

According to Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant, the increased interest in low calorie, low carb, sugar-free foods has escalated products that contain non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). Although a diet high in added sugar significantly increases disease risk, intake of NNS can also lead to negative health outcomes.

Non-nutritive sweeteners may lead to poor health outcomes, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and negative changes to gut bacteria.

Low fat and diet foods are healthy alternatives 

Research has shown that many low fat and diet items contain much more added sugar and salt. It’s best to forgo these products and instead enjoy small amounts of foods like full fat yoghurt, cheese, and nut butters.

Low fat and diet foods are typically high in sugar and salt. Unaltered higher fat alternatives are often a healthier choice.

Following a very low calorie diet is the best way to lose weight 

Nutrition experts emphasise that though reducing calorie intake can indeed boost weight loss, cutting calories too low can lead to metabolic adaptations and long-term health consequences.

Even though going on a very low calorie diet will likely promote rapid weight loss in the short term, long-term adherence to very low calorie diets leads to a reduction in metabolic rate, increased feelings of hunger, and alterations in fullness hormones.

Very low calorie diets lead to metabolic adaptations that make long-term weight maintenance difficult.

Ntamanga disagrees with the idea or thought of people that when you are small you are automatically healthy.

Obesity is associated with many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, certain cancers, and even early death.

He says, although obesity increases your risk of disease, it is not a must to be skinny to be healthy. Rather, maintaining a healthy body weight and body fat percentage by consuming a nutritious diet and maintaining an active lifestyle is most important.

All smoothies and juices are healthy 

Ntamanga explains that some smoothies are not healthy, especially those taken in public places that you have no idea of how they were made. Most of them are packed with added sugars and calories. 

However, he notes that some juices and smoothies are highly nutritious. For example, a nutrient-dense smoothie or freshly made juice composed primarily of non-starchy vegetables can be a great way to rise your vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intake.

Carbs make you gain weight 

“Some people have given up on consuming carbs for fear of gaining weight, risking obesity, diabetes, and other adverse health effects”, he says. 

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system, experts say.

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