Are you on a diet right now? Around 45 million people in the United States try one each year. It’s a big (and wealthy) industry, and that makes it hard to ignore what they say. However, is any of it actually good?
Well, there are a lot of eating myths out there, usually made by people with poor research and big opinions about what’s right and wrong with your diet. And when you simply want to eat a little bit better on a daily basis, this kind of misinformation makes it very hard to do what’s best for you!
So, is there any truth in what’s being said? It’s something we wonder about a lot too. Which is why we’ve tackled the most common and recurring myths about healthy eating with a bit of our own research. What we found out might even be a bit surprising!
From deciding what’s ‘right and wrong’ in the food groups, to discovering if it’s useful to cut out certain items, a lot of it just isn’t fact based. And the idea that it’s impossible to eat healthy on a budget? While it can be complicated, it’s easier than you might think! If that’s interesting to you, read on to find out more, especially if you want to fact check a little right now.
Raw Vegetables are Better for You
Some raw vegetables are better when they’re not cooked, but some aren’t, and that’s just the way it goes! If you cook some ingredients you’ll release a more full nutrient profile, and if you decide to eat something raw you’ll get more nutrients than compared to heating it. Sound complicated yet? Well that’s because it is a bit!
Even within that, some vegetables will release different nutrients depending on what state they’re consumed in. Take broccoli as an example here. You’ll get more antioxidants out of the florets when they’ve been boiled, steamed, or roasted, but you’ll get a bit more Vitamin C and D when you just drizzle them in a dip and eat raw.
So really, it’s up to you whether or not you should cook your veggies, depending on what you need more of at that moment. And if you’re ever confused about the best way to prepare ingredients, just look it up and see what the experts say.
You Can’t Snack on a Diet
Simply not true! It doesn’t matter what diet you’ve decided to follow, there’s always a snack option or two available for those moments when you’re hungry between meals. There are many Mediterranean snacks, Paleo Snacks, and even various Atkins snacks for when you’re peckish!
But seeing as we usually ‘crash’ diet to lose weight, it can often feel like you just have to suck up your cravings and wait until you’re ‘allowed’ to eat again. It’s this feeling that’s harmful.
After all, while you can snack no matter what, the rules of a diet can make you feel that that would be wrong. But in reality it’s up to you! And if you want to follow a truly healthy regime, it’s best to keep some snacks included as part of your daily intake.
Fat is Always Bad
Some fats can be harmful when consumed in high doses on a regular basis – saturated fats fall under this category. But even if you like to eat foods containing high amounts, you can often offset the downsides of this nutrient value by eating plenty of leafy vegetables alongside them.
As such, fats are rarely bad and simply need to be monitored, as any other nutrient in your diet should be. Even if you have a loaded pizza and a big sugary dessert one night, there’ll be very little knock-on effect.
After all, you don’t eat like this every night! If you like you can have a bit more protein the day after, but your body knows what to do with a bit of junk food every now and then.
You Can Do without Carbs
The short answer? It depends. The long answer? Your body will find it very hard to develop energy if it’s got no carbs to work with, and you’re likely to suffer if you cut them all out.
Yes, suddenly cutting out bread and rice, pasta and cereal, or cakes and biscuits can make you lose weight pretty quickly. But if you want to keep weight down long term, it’s better to just reduce your overall intake of carbs, rather than cut them out completely.
Otherwise you’ll have various cravings to try and beat that may lead to regular binging, you’ll notice a drop in energy, and there’s no saying you’ll be able to fill the hole with enough protein or fat.
You Shouldn’t Eat at Certain Times
It doesn’t matter what time you eat at; if you’re hungry, go ahead and eat! Because there’s really no rule around when the best time to eat is. It’s simply about knowing your own body and the amount of calories it takes to work. And if you’re worried, you’re not going to put weight on or disrupt an inner circadian rhythm by choosing to have an early or late snack.
Indeed, you may have often heard that it’s bad to eat after ‘dinnertime’, say around 7pm and beyond. But seeing as your body doesn’t go on strike in the evenings and late at night, this makes no sense – digestion will happen regardless! So if you want to have something before bed, or you fancy a dessert a couple hours after dinner, it’s fine to indulge yourself.
Healthy eating should be done with love for your own brain and body. Don’t let a myth surrounding it get you down about your day to day eating habits or what you’d like to have for dinner. And remember, the more you know about your diet, the easier it’ll be to make an informed decision about it – give yourself the power by forgetting opinions and doing some research!