You may be eating ‘healthy’ foods and following a diet. But certain diet misconceptions may be undoing all the effort you are putting in. Two nutritionists bust 5 common diet myths.
The source of calories is as important as the number of calories you consume.
* All calories are created equal.
Do you find yourself starving all day and ultimately eating junk food or cookies thinking the limited calories will not spoil your diet plan? It isn’t the best way to lose weight. Nutritionists say the source of calories is as important as the number of calories you consume. And your body doesn’t absorb all calories equally, so being selective about what you eat is important.
“A calorie is a way to measure the energy that comes from food. Your body uses the energy from food to provide energy to all cells of the body. Whether you choose satiating foods or not, you will have a major difference in energy balance over the long-term, because a calorie from a boiled potato is not the same as a calorie from a doughnut,” explains nutritionist Raheela Hasan.
Nutritionist Anjali Peswani gives an example: “One gram of carbohydrate gives you 4 kcal versus 1 gram of fat which is 9 kcal. Hence, the source of calorie does matter. One cookie may be lighter as compared to one apple but their calorie content is the same.” And as we all know, their nutritional levels are wildly different. “Eating foods high in sugar/salt (instead of the healthy option) can have adverse effects on health in the long-term. It can lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels leading to diabetes, obesity and also depression,” says Peswani.
Have desserts in moderation for a change of taste.
* Desserts should be banned from your diet.
Desserts often get a bad reputation for being fattening and sugar-loaded. But should be completely banned from your diet plan? Peswani advises against avoiding them altogether. “If you eat them occasionally and not on a regular basis, you don’t need to ban them,” she says. Hasan advises that one can have it in moderation for a change of taste but it is better to opt for a healthy dessert.
Research had earlier suggested that avoiding desserts altogether could, in fact, lead to overeating and make you fat. “Many are dependent on them as it gives an instant sugar rush, but they don’t realise that it leads to lethargy sooner. One must have controlled portions as it is good to break the monotony at times,” says Peswani.
Low-fat yoghurt is a healthy dessert.
* There is no such thing as a healthy dessert.
The trick lies in eating desserts that don’t imbalance your diet. “There are many desserts which are healthy and can be eaten without too much guilt. The idea is the person needs to know the art of balancing calories,” says Peswani. She suggests healthier desserts such as sheera, Moong Dal or carrot halwa, kheer, dark chocolate and low-fat yogurt.
Cheat days are perfectly all right, within limits.
* It is possible to cheat on some days and then exercise and burn it off.
There’s good news. Cheat days are actually recommended by nutritionists. “I tell my clients to indulge in one cheat meal a week so the diet is not monotonous and they don’t feel deprived. Having your favourite food once in a while makes you sustain a healthy eating pattern in the long run,” says Peswani. Hasan suggests you choose a cheat meal day, eat what you like on that day in moderation but stick to a regular fitness regime.
Fruits are an excellent source of fructose which is good for your body, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
(HT file photo)
* Fruits can make you fat.
Fruits are an excellent source of fructose which is good for your body, as well as essential vitamins, minerals and fibre which keeps away digestive disorders like acidity and constipation. “One must avoid fruits post-sunset as your metabolism starts to slow down and sugar needs to be minimum then. Consume at least 2 portions of fruit per day,” says Peswani. Hasan suggests adding different types of fruits in the diet to get the most benefits.
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