If I was to say the word “health” to you, and you had to respond with the first thing that came into your mind, what would it be?
Exercise? Fitness? Weight loss? Strength? Weights? Cardio?
The list is potentially endless, but would “nutrition” has come so easily to mind?
We tend to neglect this notion of nourishment when we’re thinking about cutting weight, gaining muscle, or even just keeping fit generally, and people often assume specializing in nutrition is for professional athletes.
Of course, we can’t all afford to hire trained dieticians, and it must be stressed that every individual is different, with varying nutritional and bodily needs. A trained dietician and nutritionist once told me, never trust anyone that “says” they’re a dietician if they don’t begin their sentence with, “Well it depends on…”
However, there are some basic tips and Mythbusters that everyone should be made aware of, and I’m here to share them today.
A large craze amongst many was that of the coconut oil one. It is assumed that cooking your meals in coconut oil instead of regular cooking oil was “healthier” and “skinnier” (whatever that means” for you. This is not the case. Coconut oil is still full of saturated fats aka the bad kind of fat.
It will not help make you leaner but may add extra flavor if that’s what you’re going for. If you want to cut weight, and hence cut out the saturated fats, it’s recommended to go for a low-calorie cooking spray, many of which brands offer different flavors, including coconut oil.
Another common misconception is that honey is “better” for you than regular sugar. For example, adding honey to your morning porridge or oats is “healthier” than granulated sugar. Again, this is misconstrued. Honey, although produced naturally by bees, contains what is known as “free” sugars which are refined sugars often added to foods by manufacturers.
However, they are naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices, and still need to be reduced. It’s not criminal for you to thus add honey to any of your foods, but just be aware you need to be careful with the portioning as you would with regular sugar.
Fruits are full of natural sugars known as fructose, which is a type of carbohydrate – perfect for stocking up on before training. Although a lot of fruits have the same type of sugar in them, it doesn’t mean they all have the same amount. This makes people think that fruit smoothies are a perfect ‘health’ snack, but again, this isn’t always the case.
When fruits are blended, this reduces their fiber content, thus turning them into free sugars (the ‘bad’ type as we saw in honey). Certain points based diets actually point this out as well – in Slimming World, one regular banana has less ‘syns’ than a banana that’s mashed up, and that’s because once it’s mashed it’s broken down into free sugars.
Another thing to note is the amount of fruit some put into smoothies – it can be a lot! Think to yourself, would you ever eat this much fruit as it is in one sitting? This isn’t to say you can’t ever have a smoothie – one 150ml portion is recommended per day, probably best in the morning too for some energy boosts. As with anything, be conscious of portion control.
On that note, best to state now that NOTHING will detox you. So many think that there are certain detox fruits out there (now this is different from fruits containing antioxidants like cranberries and blueberries).
There is literally no such thing as a magical detox food or single ingredient in the world which can do this. ESPECIALLY NOT detox teas or the newer “detox coffees” which have been hitting the market lately. All these products do is make you go to the bathroom a lot more often which is obviously going to make you drop weight (and fast!), but not in a convenient, recommended, and definitely not a healthy, balanced manner.
Last but not least, always remember that if you’re going for weight loss, it’s all about ENERGY BALANCE – not fat or carbs. People jump the ‘low carb’ or even ‘no carb’ diet trends because it helps them lose weight quickly, which it does, and will (it’s also why people think bread is the devil)!
However this is only because carbs retain water weight, so once they go, your water weight will drop drastically. After this though, your weight will eventually balance out again. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, especially if you’re an active person, and it’s advised not to cut them out altogether.
Try not to think of the word ‘diet’ when you’re trying to be fitter, lose weight, or have a healthier lifestyle. Remember that food is your life sustenance; just like a car won’t go without fuel, neither will your body without food. So make sure you’re informed about what foods will make you perform best! Nutrition is your friend – remember to always fact check those myths!