Dieting Myths and Misconceptions Busted


Haven’t we heard our parents or grandparents say ‘no eating after 8 pm, avoid rice, bananas, meat and potatoes!’ Aren’t these the things your friends and relatives exclaimed when you expressed a wish to lose weight? And you ended up following their futile advice without even researching further or realising that it may not do you any good, but rather be detrimental sometimes.

Frankly speaking, we are served a number of myths when it comes to ‘dieting’ and that’s the reason why several weight watchers fail to achieve formidable results despite of being highly motivated. Let’s look at few such diet related misconceptions and their impact on our body.

Myth #1: Low fat = Low calorie

One of the biggest myths of all time. The fact that lot of people have believed this literally made up this falsity is the proof that we humans are actually quite naive. Low-fat diet simply doesn’t mean low-calorie diet and therefore it doesn’t give you the license to eat as much as you want. If you pile up your plate with low-fat farsan or savouries, you may end up eating more calories than what you normally would if you had a one serving of chips. In order to make products low in fat, manufacturers add substituting ingredients like flour, sugar, starch, etc. to improve taste and this adds calories. Therefore the best way to know about how healthy your food product is check the nutritional count at the back of each pack, and know how many calories, fat, sugar you intake.

Myth #2: Say no to rice, potatoes and bananas

Any Tom, Dick and Harry could easily put you off on these. Learn to make smart choices and include these foods regularly but in balance in your diet without letting them hamper your calorie count. For example, banana or two in the morning will not only provide you with a generous dose of potassium, fibre, vitamin C, etc. but will also provide you with simple form of energy viz glucose and fructose which will help you to keep going throughout the day. Similarly rice, whether brown or white, contains methionine which helps mobilise fat from the liver. All you have to do is maintain balance and just stop mindless eating and control portion size when it comes to eating rice based preparations.

Potatoes are loaded with nutrients too but we make it unhealthy by using faulty cooking treatments like deep frying to make chips, cutlet, French fries, etc from it. If included meticulously in diet it can protect against cardiovascular diseases and few types of cancers due to high potassium and Vitamin B6.

Myth #3: Late night meals are fattening

Obviously, weight a person gains is a result of what you eat throughout the day and not just at night. This might be true for people who keep skipping meals at day time and binge at night. The idea is to keep a gap of at least an hour before hitting bed and eat something light as you don’t need too many calories in the night.

Myth #4: Avoid eating outside food while dieting

Most fast foods are unhealthy but not all, and if you choose your options carefully you can include them in your healthy diet. Tips you can follow:

1. Avoid high-calorie toppings like cheese, butter, mayonnaise; instead you can go for salsa, garlic dip, etc.
2. Pick fresh fruit juice or milkshake rather than aerated drinks.
3. Choose salad based wraps and burgers.
4. Ask for steamed, baked or grilled items rather than deep fried. Now a days air-frying is also a cool option.
5. Try out fruit salad stalls rather than the regular unhygienic chaat selling hawkers.

Myth #5: Eat less, weigh less

If you eat less or skip meals you will end up binging later on when you feel extremely hungry. And therefore you gain more weight and your efforts get wasted. Moreover, if you keep yourself on extremely low-calorie diet for longer period of time, your metabolism gets altered and restricting yourself from essential nutrients also poses great health threats.

Myth #6: Say no to snacking

While mindless snacking can gift you with several extra kilos, thoughtful snacking can help you reduce several kilos. People who have small, frequent meals with snacks are more likely to get better weight loss results. Choose snacks which are low in calorie and high in protein and vitamins like fruits or salads without much dressing so that they can curb your hunger pangs in a healthy way.

Myth #7: Vegetarians are devoid of good protein sources

False, there are plenty options for vegetarians too. Include at least three servings of milk and milk products (one glass milk, one cup curd, 40g cottage cheese), two servings of pulses especially soybean, one serving of nuts to meet your protein requirement. Vegans also have amazing options and varieties available, recipes of which are all over the Internet.

Myth #8: Fast to nullify the feast

As ridiculous as it may seem, the idea to compensate your feast with fast is actually a mistake you wouldn’t want to make. When you eat larger meals than required, your body stores the extra fats in liver and when you skip you food, there is an urgent need of energy by the body and that is served by breaking muscle proteins because breaking down fat for energy is a long process and it doesn’t come into circulation that easily. Thus all your effort turns futile.

Myth #9: Eggs are unhealthy

If taken for breakfast, eggs help limit your calorie intake all day. Eggs are the best and reference source of protein along with several vitamins and minerals essential to your health like vitamins B2, B12, A, E, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Boiling an egg is one of the healthiest ways you can consume it and is the perfect option for those watching their weight. It would be wise to include one egg in your daily diet without bothering about cholesterol levels.

Myth #10: Fruits are the best breakfast option

No doubt fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals and carbohydrates. But cereal is a better option when it comes to refuelling your body after a long gap because it contains complex carbohydrate and protein and a fibre. Ideal breakfast should contain a serving of cereal, milk or milk product, and a fruit.

Asian dieting approach is met by number of myths and misconceptions. Keeping a clear mind after the above clarifications, an approach of eating a balanced diet if adopted will faclitate in keeping you active throughout the day while bearing long term commendable results. After all who doesn’t love good health while having a shapely stature!

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
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Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

Aafreen is a young and energetic MD specialized in Immuno-hematology and Transfusion Medicine. Besides being from amongst the top performers since her med school days, she remains a humble and charitable human.

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