All fats are fattening
There are three different types of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and trans-fatty acids. Saturated and trans-fatty acids are extremely bad for you; however, the unsaturated fats are crucial to our everyday bodily functions. These healthy fats are found in avocados, seeds, nuts and plant oils. They help to strengthen our cell membranes, lubricate joints and enhance the natural beauty of our skin and hair.
Carbs are bad for you
This is a subject that angers me. Firstly, a lot of people are not aware that fruits and vegetables are in fact carbohydrates. Technically these ‘low carb’ diets are promoting limiting the intake of fruit and vegetables or they just don’t really understand what a carb is. It is about choosing the right carbohydrates rather than limiting your intake of all of them. Eating complex, unrefined carbohydrates is the direction you should go down. They are high in fibre and therefore make you feel fuller for longer. Quinoa, millet, buckwheat, oats are all good examples of unrefined carbs compared to those that are classified as refined and ‘simple’ i.e. white bread, pastries. Refined carbohydrates can spike your insulin levels and increase inflammation in your body which is a big no no for any one suffering with skin problems or is concerned with ageing.
Gluten is a wheat protein that can provoke negative effects in those with rare conditions such as celiac disease or wheat allergies. About 1 in 1,000 have a wheat allergy and 1 in 100 may suffer with celiac disease. However, gluten sensitivity continues to gain considerable medical credibility yet 98% of people do not have any gluten issues. Many health professionals do not advise a gluten free diet as gluten grains such as wheat, barley and rye, have been linked to a reduced risk in coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. A study in Spain found that following a gluten-free diet for a month can in fact negatively influence our gut flora and immune function. This could potentially set those on a gluten-free diet up for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. Gluten can boost our immune function, improving the body’s ability to fight cancer and viral infections.
Coconut oil is so good for you
Coconut based products have risen in popularity in the past couple of years, particularly coconut oil…its now making its way into desserts, coffees, smoothies and as a cooking oil replacement. However, studies have found coconut oil can be as harmful on our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels as butter…Coconut oil is basically pure saturated fat. If you think about how texturally hard it can be in a pot, how hard does it go in our arteries? We are constantly pumped with the information ‘coconut has good saturated fat’….yet it seems to me that the sellers of coconut oil are using the same tactical methods found in the beef industry to downplay the risks associated with saturated fat in their products. The debate around coconut oil is complex and we are no closer to understanding if it is good for us or bad. But what I would say is – limit your intake of it, don’t overdo it and use it sparingly.
Soy products are healthy
Anyone that knows me knows how much I despise dairy but that is for another more lengthy post. But soya milk? I used to drink soya milk when I gave up cow’s milk thinking it was better for me, oh how I was wrong! Not only did my skin break out consistently around my jawline (the area associated with hormones) but I also noticed my skin was way more oily. Research around soy is confusing and conflicting. Some studies suggest their phytoestrogen isoflavones properties can prevent hormone dependent cancers and some suggest they actually contribute to them. This is because phytoestrogens, found within polyphenols, the largest group of phytochemicals, are dietary compounds found specifically in plant based foods that exhibit biological activity similar to 17-β-oestradiol (E2), the mammalian steroidal oestrogen. Soy is actually a low-mineral food that is allergenic to many people with over 90% of soy being genetically modified. However, fermented soy foods like tamari, miso and tempeh are not considered to be problematic as their allergenic proteins are deactivated in the fermentation process. I know almond milk is quite a particular taste but it is the best replacement for dairy on the market.
Fruit is a great dessert choice
I know how delicious fruit can be and they are often thought as a great alternative to refined sweet foods. It has the highest water content of any of the food groups and supplies us with vital minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids. However, the problem being, fruit digests considerably fast. When you consume fruit after a big meal its digestion gets halted meaning the nutrients will not be as absorbed as efficiently…the result? Basically, a digestive disaster and bloating. The best time to eat fruit is first thing in the morning for optimal digestion. Fruit should also always be eaten raw. When you heat it up, it loses its cleansing properties. Dried fruits are concentrated and higher in sugar so don’t overdo it!
Counting calories is the best way to lose weight
Frustratingly, the diet industry created ‘calorie counting’. Monitoring your diet in this way is not only restrictive but can also lead to eating disorder problems. Consuming food is supposed to be an enjoyable experience and should not be viewed as just ‘numbers’. Eating a diet full of fibre and plant-based foods will keep you fuller for longer, energetic and you will not need to obsess over counting your calories. Making smart and healthy diet choices is to the best way to lose weight. Focus on the quality of food you are eating not the quantity.
You must eat perfectly 100% of the time
Changing your diet can seem overwhelming and impossible. Often making drastic changes to the way you eat can be hard to adjust to and can take time. Occasionally treating yourself is not a bad thing. Having the odd splurge whilst trying out a new health plan is understandable. However, you can incorporate foods that have a healthier kick such as if you have an urge for chocolate then choose one that is over 80% dark chocolate (the higher percentage the better). But the main lesson is – do not beat yourself up if you want to treat yourself, we are only human after all!