Diet Myths Busted

by Edwina McDonald
Pinnacle Health Group

There is so much information out there these days, advising us ‘what’s good for us’, and how we should be managing our own daily intake of nutrients, to lead a healthier lifestyle whilst feeling at our best, physically and mentally.

From intermittent fasting to the paleo diet, it seems that everywhere we look, more information is out there suggesting a different approach - and a lot of the time, the information can seem completely contradictory to the previous article we may have read!

Whilst much of the information, and many approaches to nutrition can be well-intentioned and work for many people - it can be so overwhelming for all of us to know where to even start.

Further to this, there seems to be some clear “diet myths” that lots of nutritional advice or content is centred around - only to confuse us, and make it difficult to understand whether these throwaway lines are nothing more than hearsay.

As an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, much of my time is spent dispelling myths, or simplifying many of my patients’ understanding of healthy nutrition.

Here are my top, and most common, Diet Myths Busted:

Diet Myth 1:
Skipping breakfast will aid weight loss; FALSE.  
Breakfast gets your metabolism going for the day. Waking up hungry in the morning is a sign you have not over eaten the night before, but it is recommended that you consume a nutritious breakfast to start the day - not only to improve your brain and body function, but to also improve metabolism and weight management.

Diet Myth 2:
Red meat is the only source of iron; FALSE. 
Red meat is the richest source of iron - however you can get ‘non haem’ (non-meat) iron from nuts, legumes, brown rice, quinoa, baked beans and peanut butter. To increase the absorption of iron, it helps to consume with vitamin C, of which citrus fruits are a rich source.

Diet Myth 3:
I can eat as much fruit as I like; FALSE. 
Excess fruit, like anything else, contributes to excess calories (and sugar) which can lead to weight gain. Whilst fruit has the benefits of contributing to our daily intake of fibre, vitamins and minerals - it is recommended in Australia that we aim for two servings of fruit per day - of which one serve is equivalent to a medium-sized apple or pear, or one cup of diced fruit.

Diet Myth 4:
Liquid calories don’t count; FALSE. 
Liquid calories don’t take up much stomach volume, so we can be forgiven for thinking that these calories don’t count! But they certainly do, and coffee and even coconut water will contribute to calorie, fat and sugar intake - and therefore should be factored in (and counted) as part of your daily nutritional plan.

I spend a lot of time dispelling these diet myths, so hopefully this has been helpful to you!

If you are having doubts or concerns about any nutrition information you hear, read or see -  always seek the advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian to make sure you are doing the best thing for you and your health!