food myths, dieting, carbs, fruits, good fats

Have you ever received dodgy nutrition advice from a non-nutritionist? Say, from a well-meaning personal trainer, who should instead perhaps just stick to the gym? There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to food intake for optimum weight loss. Here, acclaimed Sydney dietician/nutritionist and author Susie Burrell dispels some of these popular food dieting myths, separating fact from fiction for SHESAID readers.

Myth Bust No.1: You must avoid certain high-in-sugar fruits, such as bananas, citrus fruits and stone fruits, when trying to lose weight.

“While fruit does contain some sugar, no food in isolation will cause weight gain,” Susie says. “And consequently, including one to two pieces of fibre-rich fruit in your diet each day is no issue if the goal is weight loss. Some fruits, such as grapes and bananas (pictured below) have slightly more sugar than an apple or mandarin, but it is splitting hairs over a few extra grams that are not going to add any significant effect on weight loss results.”

Myth Bust No.2: Juices are better for you than actual fruit, when trying to shift those pesky kilos.

“I would argue no, for fruit juice in particular is a concentrated source of sugar,” Susie says. “For example, it takes three to four pieces of fruit to get a small volume of juice. Veggie juices are slightly different as vegetables generally have less sugar than fruits and hence can be made into a low-calorie drink which offers plenty of nutrients.”

Myth Bust No.3: Oats are too high in carbohydrates for breakfast for dieters.

“No, this is not true at all, oats are a nutritious wholegrain packed full of soluble fibre,” Susie says. “I encourage my clients to add 1 cup milk or Greek yoghurt to 2 tbsp of oats for a nutritionally balanced, low GI breakfast option.”

Myth Bust No.4: You must not eat carbs after 3pm if you’re trying to lose weight.

“Everyone needs carbs: controlled portions that link to your energy output. When it comes to the “no carbs after 3pm” myth, again it is the total amount of carbs consumed throughout the day that really counts to your waistline, rather than a specific time of day at which you mustn’t eat them.

Myth Bust No.5: All fat is bad for us.

“We actually all need 40-60g of the right mix of fats,” Susie says. “What is most important is getting the balance of fat right in our bodies. Moderate amounts of saturated fat from meats, chicken skin, full-fat dairy products, butter and takeaway foods should be consumed along with three to four servings of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats each day.

“Monounsaturated fat is found in foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and cooking oils made from plants or seeds such as sunflower, canola, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils. Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fat (omega-6) is found in foods such as fish, tahini (sesame seed spread), margarine, linseed (flaxseed), sunflower and safflower oil, pine nuts and brazil nuts.”


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food myths, dieting, carbs, fruits, good fats