So I got asked by the Fashion Potluck team, to write a post about nutrition and diet tips, as they thought this would be something this community would find useful and really benefit from. Aaand me being a fitness instructor, they though I would be the best fit to do this.
Of course, I was totally flattered, however, let me start of by saying.. I was also very sceptical about writing this post.. because how am I, one of the fussiest eaters known to man, still working on repairing my relationship with food, meant to write a post telling people what foods to eat, what to avoid and educate them about nutrition guidelines I myself, struggle to follow.
But then, after talking to a friend, she made me realise that actually.. this too is a part of my journey and working out what suits you and your body type, is a huge part of nutrition.
Truth is, there isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to food. Yes, we have guidelines which are a good starting point, however nutrition and the way our bodies respond to it various foods is a very personal matter and in fact unique to each individual. Therefore, trial and errors are inevitable to figuring out what your body agrees with!
But since I don’t want you leaving this post feeling equally as confused as you might have been clicking on it.. I thought I’d take the time to bust some popular myths about food, that might give you a clearer idea of what to look out for and stop fearing "bad" foods.
But first a disclaimer: I am not a in anyway a detrition or nutritionist. With the qualifications I have acquired, I can only call myself a nutrition adviser (and even that sounds very formal). However, since this was a requested post, when talking about food and nutrition, I decided to speak from personal experience, things that work/ don't work for me and what I’ve learned from my courses and additional reading. If you do want personal advice, do seek this from a professional.
So let's get to it...
1. "Fat makes you Fat"
I mean, I understand where the confusion might come from, the irony of this statement is pretty amusing.
Yes, fat has a higher calorie count than carbs and protein put together (both having 4cals/g), scoring a great 9cals/g, however, fat completes the trio of the 3 macro-nutrients, and is equally as important in our daily diet.
Now before you get too excited, this does not mean you can go off and eat a tone of bacon, soak your chips in oil and top it off with whipped cream, expecting your body to be particularly pleased and lose weight. These foods are fine but only when consumed mindfully and in moderation, not on a daily basis.
Returning to the statement that fats should nevertheless be consumed daily as a part of a balanced diet, the fats I'm talking about are the good fats, we often forget and don't consider, that is essential for survival and actually promote weight loss. These are found in foods like avocados, nuts and fish and should make up around 35% of your daily intake, according to the Eatwell Guide.
2. "Foods labeled gluten-free are healthy"
Coming from a person that is actually gluten-free, I can vouch for this.
The label "gluten-free" isn't an automatic pass to being a healthy food that can be eaten without limits. In fact, a lot of the time manufactures will add sugar, fat and other substitutes to gluten-free food to make up for the taste and consistency.
The thing to bare in mind is that if you are celiac or intolerant to gluten, then of course, gluten-free options are the way to go, however, these are still , in many cases carbohydrates and should be consumed mindfully and within reason.
3. "Eating after 7pm will make you gain weight"
Our weight is dependant on our calorie balance. It's kind of like a seesaw.
In order to lose weight you have to be in a calorie deficit (take in less energy/ calories than the total you burn throughout the day). Alternatively, if you consume more calories than you burn, that promotes weight gain, and naturally in order to maintain your current weight you would have to consume and burn an equal amount of calories.
Pretty straight forward, right?
So saying that eating after 7pm makes you gain weight, has no really evidence supporting it and makes no sense. Yes, it is advice not to eat big, heavy meals in the evening as this may disturb your ability to sleep and therefore inhibit your bodies ability to restore itself overnight; however, the main thing to think about in terms of your calorie intake, is how your calorie consumption relates to the amount you burn, and your weight goal.
4. "Drinking fruit juice, is the same as eating whole fruit"
Long story short - in the process of juicing, a lot of the nutritional value found in whole fruits is lost. For most fruits, the skin holds most of the fibre (and other nutrients), meaning that this is missed out on once the fruit has been juiced, as on most occasions the skin is removed.
Similarly, if you drink smooth juices without the pulp, that eliminates even more of the nutrients you could get from a whole fruit.
Furthermore, with fruit juices, it is also very easy to over consume calories as you don't get the feeling of being full as you would from actually eating the fruit. So overall, you get less nutritional value and more of the calories.
5. "'Reduced-fat' means it's low fat"
Food items labeled as "reduced-fat", "lite/ light" or "lower in fat" are named this in relation to their original form/ product, and must have at least 30% less fat. This doesn't necessary mean that they are actually low in fat, as to be considered a low-fat product they must contain less than 3g of fat per 100g .
Things too keep in mind when looking at fat counts:
- For a food to be considered fat-free, it must have 0.5g or less of fat per 100g/ml.
- Low-fat - 3g or less of fat per 100g, or 1.5g or less per 100ml (1.8g per 100ml for semi-skimmed milk)
- High-fat - more than 17.5g of fat per 100g
Mind-blowing I know, shops often use these tactics to manipulate us into buying foods we thing are gonna be healthier and better for our bodies but actually turn out to be worse. Don't always believe the "in-your-face" packaging, make sure to study the nutritional values before buying "healthy" products, as you don't want any nasty surprises.
I hope this helps, and makes you more aware of some of the things you should be looking out for when going grocery shopping.
If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to get in contact with me.
Always, T xx