Five Myths Around Nutrition

The world of nutrition can be confusing. With advice on what is good for us and what isn’t changing on a regular basis, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Kim Derbyshire from our Health and Wellbeing team dispells five common myths around nutrtion.

 

1.You should detox regularly! Especially after Christmas/New Year

Detox diets often come hand in hand with ‘clean eating’. A detox typically consists of drinking a juice, often infused with some expensive ‘magic powder’ that is designed to cleanse you of….. of what? It turns out that when these detox companies were questioned on what their detox drinks eliminated from the body, they couldn’t actually name a single toxin that was banished from the body.

The truth is that the liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs are constantly working to remove harmful substances from the body. If you go on a ‘detox’ you’re potentially denying your body of the nutrients that it needs to perform these functions therefore, hindering your body’s natural detoxification process. To give your body the greatest chance of functioning at its best include cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, kale, sprouts) and other fibrous veggies in your diet.

2.You should eat six small meals a day to boost your metabolism

As a method of losing weight we’re often told to eat little but often to “Keep that metabolism high”. There is some truth behind digestion raising our metabolism a little but evidence shows that when our calories are kept the same, the number of meals we eat a day does not make a difference to fat loss. In fact, evidence suggests that having smaller more frequent meals can increase our feelings of hunger and desire to eat; potentially making it harder to stick to a calorie deficit.

3.Eggs are bad for you

For years, decades even, this myth has been doing the rounds. The media and even some doctors that were giving this advice were actually scaring us away from a great protein source. It was thought that the yolk of an egg would increase our cholesterol and therefore, increase our risk of cardiovascular disease. It turns out that there has never been a scientific association between eggs and cardiovascular disease. A couple of eggs a day as part of a healthy balanced diet, for a healthy individual, does not increase our risk of cardiovascular disease. With so many ways to eat eggs whether it be; poached, scrambled, with smoked salmon, with soldiers, it’s good to know we can enjoy them without worry.

4.Fresh is more nutritious than frozen

Over the years we’ve been led to believe that fresh is healthier than frozen or tinned fruits and vegetables. Just because a fruit or a vegetable is fresh, doesn’t mean that it has more nutrients than its frozen or canned counterpart. In the majority of comparisons between fresh, frozen and fresh-stored (bought fresh and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days), there was no significant differences in vitamin contents. When significant differences were found, frozen produce outperformed fresh-stored more often than fresh-stored outperformed frozen. So, stock up on your tinned and frozen veggies for times when you need to whip up a quick and nutritious dinner.

5.Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and without it, your metabolism will crash

We’ve all heard this before. As the saying goes, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. There are some observational studies that show a higher BMI for people who frequently skip breakfast. However, we need to be mindful of personal preference. Some of us will subconsciously overeat throughout the day if we miss our breakfast, whilst others will not be affected by the cravings and will find it much easier to eat at maintenance or in a deficit. A study found that women who did not usually eat breakfast, gained 2 pounds over 1 month when they were made to eat it but perhaps they needed longer to adjust afterall, 1 month isn’t very long. So, without reading to much into this study you should remember that individual preference varies in terms of meal timings and frequency. So, avoid forcing yourself into a routine that does not suit you. The conclusion is that skipping breakfast does not cause your metabolism to crash (your resting metabolic rate).

One point to note is that there is some evidence that Type 2 diabetics should eat breakfast in order to better regulate their blood glucose levels.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28140328

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404961

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/36/4/617/4693514

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157517300418

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898233

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26220945



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