As we start a New Year we’re sure to be bombarded with messages about dieting, detoxing and what we should and shouldn’t be eating to be at our best in 2018. Trying out new foods and ways of eating is great, restricting yourself and forgetting that balance is key…not so great! Ahead of all the noise, we’ve rounded up our favourite myth busting tips from our resident nutritionist Plantbased Pixie – who gives us the top 5 nutrition truths.
Mythbusting tip number 1 – ‘Beans aren’t bad’
Apparently word on the street is that beans contain “anti-nutrients”…here is what Pixie has to say on this one!
“These “anti-nutrients” all but disappear when you cook beans so beans are all ok!
Beans are an amazing source of fibre and plant-based protein. They’re versatile and delicious, and count as 1 of your 5-a-day. Beans have a gassy reputation. But draining and rinsing beans properly could help you pass wind less! Don’t forget, the average person farts around 15-20 times per day so it’s totally normal.” (Insert giggle…)
Mythbusting tip number 2 – Nutrition truths -‘It’s ok to eat foods you can’t pronounce’
You’ll often hear these days that we should avoid overly processed foods, and therefore foods we can’t pronounce…our girl Pixie says don’t get confused by fearmongering.
“This encourages avoidance and exclusion, which is not the basis for a healthy relationship with food. E300 sounds scary, vitamin C sounds friendly, they’re actually the same thing! I’ll bet you can pronounce cyanide, but please don’t eat it. What about eicosapentaenoic acid? Sounds scary, but it’s actually just an omega-3 fatty acid, and a pretty important one at that!”
Mythbusting tip number 3 – Nutrition truths – ‘Gluten is not the enemy’
We’ve all heard that one before…Pixie says, if you’re intolerant avoid it, if not – nutrition truth, there’s no need!
“Gluten is a group of proteins, and has become a scapegoat in recent years for a whole host of non-specific issues. Of course, there are some people who need to avoid gluten , but the vast majority of us don’t need to cut it out. Are gluten-free diets healthier? Not necessarily. Gluten-free diets have been found to be lower in iron, B vitamins, and fibre. Fibre is super important . It’s food for our gut bacteria (our gut microbiome), and so a gluten-free diet is often associated with a decrease in beneficial gut bacteria. Not good! Your gut microbiome has a huge influence on our wellbeing, and research indicates that having a more diverse gut microbiome is important for our health. On the other hand, the gluten-free trend has meant a lot more products on the market for coeliacs, so there is that!”
Mythbusting tip number 4 – ‘It’s ok to eat after 6pm’
Ever heard you should try and finish eating before 6pm? Well…
“Many living things have 24-hour cycles called circadian clocks, which encourage different activities at different times, for example plants photosynthesising during the day and nocturnal animals hunting at night. We have light/dark cycles (so we feel sleepy at night), feeding/fasting cycles, and others that govern physiological processes and hormone levels. So, should you eat after 6pm? Sure, if you want to! It’s not like at 6pm your body suddenly switches from metabolising food for energy to storing it as fat. It doesn’t work like that. In the end, a rule is a rule, a diet is a diet. What if you get home from work late one day? If you’re hungry you should eat, not obey some external rule that says you shouldn’t. Your feeding/fasting cycle is essentially ghrelin release ➡️ hunger ➡️ eat ➡️ insulin release ➡️ time ➡️ ghrelin release ➡️ hunger. And so on. Don’t override your hunger signals, you need to eat! Conclusion: rely on internal rather than external cues where possible.”
Mythbusting tip number 5 – Nutrition truths – You’re allowed to eat white potatoes
“In the past few years there’s been a noticeable trend in wellness which says sweet potato = good, white potato = bad. However it’s not that simple. Let’s compare:
Blood sugar: if you cook and eat sweet potato skin on then it raises blood sugar less than white potato, however if you enjoy it skin off then it raises blood sugar more.
What about nutrients? Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fibre. But white potatoes contain more iron, magnesium, potassium and protein. They’re also cheaper.
Essentially, I think it’s not that helpful to pit them against each other. Both work brilliantly as fries. You might prefer sweet potato in warm salads, but never use them for hasselbacks. Also nothing can compare to roast potatoes sweet potato got nothing on that!”
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