Last week I busted a few fitness myths, this week I’m going to bust the nutrition myths that keep us stuck and uncertain when it comes to eating for good health and weight loss.
By the end of this article, I’m hoping to have you stocking up on frozen veggies without the guilt, munching on a baked potato, skipping brekky (but only if you feel like it) and ditching your fears about fat!
#1 Eating carbs will make me fat
Nope, no matter what the internet says, eating carbs won’t make you fat. If you gain weight it’s not because you ate too many carbs, it’s because you ate more calories than you burned. It’s important to remember that there are plenty of good quality carbohydrate choices – such as fruit and veggies – that are filling due to the fibre quantity, and also highly nutritious. So enjoy the carbs, just try to mostly choose the better quality ones.
#2 Fresh is better than Frozen
Not true! In fact, sometimes the opposite is the case. The nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables is determined by the season and how close to the consumer the produce was harvested. Frozen is therefore sometimes better than fresh, as they are picked when they are fully ripe and have developed all of their nutrients, and are then frozen straight away to persevere those nutrients. “Fresh” food, on the other hand, is often picked too early and is sometimes stored for months on end.
Eating frozen veggies has the added benefit of saving on food waste; I’m sure many of us know the feeling of buying a packet of salad mix every week only to toss it in the garbage after only a few days in the fridge!
#3 Eating fat will make you fat
Fat doesn’t make you fat. As I mentioned previously, excess calories make you fat. While it’s true that fat does have more calories per gram than carbs or protein (a gram of fat has 9 calories, while a gram of carbohydrate or protein both have 4 calories), a small amount of fat in your diet won’t blow out your calorie allowance. In fact, it will make your foods much more satisfying, it will stop you from getting hungry again in an hour, and fat is essential when it comes to helping you absorb some of the vitamins and minerals in your food.
If you’re trying to lose weight, be mindful of how much fat you’re adding to your diet. But never aim for zero fat – it’s both unsustainable, unpalatable and unhealthy!
#4 Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
The old saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” just leads people to ignore their own hunger cues! Breakfast is no more important than any other meal, and if you don’t like breakfast you’re not obliged to have it. The only time I encourage people to eat is (a) when they’re hungry, and (b) after a workout! Getting some protein and carbs after a workout really is important for proper recovery.
Some people skip breakfast as their way to practice intermittent fasting, however recent research shows that IF can be problematic for some women due to our hormone fluctuations (our bodies can think we’re starving, leading to a release of cortisol). But if you’re genuinely not hungry and you feel good, it’s safe to trust your body. When it comes to brekky, do what works for you!
#5 Sweet potatoes are healthier than white
Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes are both healthy, we really don’t need to make one bad and one good. Of course, once a potato is deep-fried or turned into potato chips, that’s another thing completely! Sweet potatoes have more fibre and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. It’s true that sweet potatoes are lower on the glycaemic index than white potatoes, but think about the other things you have when you’re eating a meal that includes potato – usually a lot of fibrous veggies and some protein (i.e. meat) that brings the overall GI right down. Many people find potatoes quite filling and satisfying, leading them to eat fewer calories overall when they allow themselves a bit of mash on their plate. Please don’t sweat the small stuff, eat the potato!
So there you have it, my top 5 nutrition myths now busted! Want to workout with me? Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and tick the notification bell, so you never miss a new workout. You can also sign up for workout calendars that I send out for free every month, and feel free to follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I share loads of fresh workouts and ideas.