5 nutrition myths to let go
1. If I eat after 6 pm I’ll put on weight.
Not so, says Dietitian and Associate Professor Tim Crowe of Deakin University. “It’s not what you eat, but how much you eat, that explains weight gain,” he says.
It’s true that some overweight people do eat more food at night time, says Crowe, but this group also typically eats a greater number of kilojoules per meal.
And a large scientific review concluded that body weight is not greatly influenced by how often someone eats.
2. Lemon water will flush out toxins.
Warm water with lemon juice is a fashionable morning drink. Fans claim it will flush out toxins, and as a bonus banish wrinkles, aid digestion and reduce anxiety.
Apart from a few extra vitamins, there’s little evidence that lemon water beats tap. Or that it will remove toxins any quicker than your body’s own detox system: the lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system.
If you do drink a glass of lemon water in the morning, always chase it with a glass of plain water to rinse the acid off your teeth, as it can erode the dental enamel.
3. Eating extra protein builds muscle.
To build muscle, you need to eat a healthy diet, with a normal amount of protein, combined with strength training. Protein intake beyond your needs will either be stored as fat or burned for energy. The average Australian diet is naturally quite high in protein.
Timing is important. After resistance training, try a glass of chocolate milk. Studies show the combination of protein and carbohydrate can help build muscle.
4. Fresh is best.
Yes, it’s great to shop at the farmer’s market to buy fresh, local, in-season fruit and vegetables. But this isn’t always possible, says leading US dietitian, Janet Helm.
“The most important thing is to eat more fruits and vegetables – no matter what form,” she says.
“Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh; studies have demonstrated this time and time again.”
5. Sea salt is healthier than table salt.
All salt comes from the sea. It’s either directly evaporated from seawater or saltwater lakes, or mined from inland where the ocean deposited its salt thousands of years ago.
Sea salt retains its trace elements, while table salt has them removed. But the quantities are so tiny, they would make little difference to your health.
Sea salt does not contain less sodium than table salt, nor does it contain iodine. Some table salt has the advantage of added iodine, an essential micronutrient often in short supply in Australian diets.
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