Nutrition & Diet Myths
1) “Eating past 7pm is bad for you” – Our body doesn’t store more calories just because it’s later in the day however ideally you should aim to have your last main meal around 2-3 hours before bedtime to avoid indigestion. Eating late at night isn’t problematic if you truly are hungry or have just come in late from work etc. however it may be problematic if you are snacking on high fat/sugar foods out of boredom and subsequently eating too many calories over the course of the day.
2) “Eating more than 3 meals a day, aka snacking in-between meals, is bad” – You should eat when you’re hungry – which is usually around every 3-4 hours when awake. Recent research also suggests that those who eat 6 times a day, as opposed to only 4 times a day, actually consume fewer daily calories and weigh less – perhaps because those who ‘eat little and often’ avoid getting over hungry and don’t over-eat!
3) “You need to eat super-foods to be healthy” – There is no legal definition of the word ‘superfood’ but generally it refers to foods that have a relatively high nutrient content. On that basis all fruits and vegetables are superfoods in my eyes and ideally we should eating a range of different colours a day (to ensure different nutrients) with at least 5 servings a day (1 serving is 80g or a handful).
4) “Saturated fat is bad for you” - So called good fats are those which reduce the risk of heart disease and include those from vegetables (rapeseed oil which is a mono unsaturated fat), nuts, seeds, avocados, oily fish (which is a polyunsaturated fat) and olives. So called bad fats are processed fats (or trans fats) found in some fried foods, cakes and biscuits, and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat, found in animal products and coconut oil is more of a neutral fat from a health point of view. The Mediterranean diet promotes a moderate amount of fat to be a eaten a day (40% of calories coming from fat) with them mainly being mono and poly unsaturated.
5) “Skipping breakfast is good way to save calories” – Skipping breakfast is never a good idea as it can lead to poor concentration and energy levels for the morning ahead. It may also leave you craving energy from the vending machine at 10am! So don’t worry about ‘saving calories’ – have your bowl of porridge topped with yoghurt, fruit and seeds at 300 calories and leave the chocolate muffin (at 450 calories) on the shelf in that shop you pass on the way to work ;) . Check out my breakfast recipes for inspiration and for another reason to eat it check out the results of the National Weight Control Registry (almost 80% of successful slimmers EAT BREAKFAST!).