Don’t Fall for It: In a world of food theories and counter theories, bust the biggest eating myths

To separate facts from fiction, we get to the bottom of the biggest food myths and the truth behind them.

Published: 16th May 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2021 01:23 PM   |  A+A-

food, nutrition

For representational purposes

Carbs make you fat, smoothies make you thin. Count your calories, but restrict your meat intake. To separate facts from fiction, we get to the bottom of the biggest food myths and the truth behind them.

Carbs make you fat
This generalisation has eroded our basic understanding of how carbs function. “Carbs have the same energy value as proteins and only half the fat, so on their own, they can never make you pack the pounds,” says Bengaluru-based food scientist Juhi Parmar. ‘Good-carbs’ are indispensable. These are whole grains, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

Watch your calories
Counting calories has emerged as one of the most damaging trends. According to nutrition and exercise science expert and author Rujuta Diwekar, calories are just one part of the multi-factorial equation. It is the nutritional component of food that matters most. Fat accumulates because everybody has a different metabolic response to the food they eat. Also, standardising calorific intake—2,500 for men and 2,000 for women —is fallacious.
Egg yolks raise cholesterol
The yolk of an egg is not the problem. Half-baked information is. “Research shows that most of the cholesterol in the body is made by the liver, primarily by saturated, and trans fat, not dietary cholesterol,” 
says Parmar.
First of all, just because it is yoghurt, it does not mean it has probiotics. Not all yoghurts contain live and active cultures. While they do wonders for some people, others may develop an adverse reaction to probiotics. Part of the problem, according to Dr Patricia Hibberd, a professor of paediatrics and chief of global health at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, is the way in which probiotics are advertised. They are labelled as ‘digestion improving,’ which is a cloudy claim, as none of the supplements or food items that contain these bacteria are approved to prevent or treat specific illnesses.

more protein EQUALS bigger muscles
More protein does not equal more muscle. It will only give you an irritable bowel. “Protein is required to build muscles but in the right quantity and with regular exercise. Otherwise you will end up peeing the excess out. Too much protein can harm your kidney,” says Pune-based Akash Mohanrao Chakor, Founder and CEO Foodkida, a food science and technology website.
You can never eat too much healthy food
Even if you have the healthiest food every day, some of it may not suit you. For instance, high-fibre food. “The perception is that the more we eat, the better. However, it could lead to diarrhoea, dehydration, gas, and stomach cramp,” says Delhi-based Himanshu Rai, Chief Dietitian and Nutritionist at Think You, a diet therapy portal. Another example is fish. Too much of it can lead to bleeding and hypervitaminosis of Vitamin A, he suggests. Even too much water can cause water intoxication. 
Veganism is the healthiest DIET
It is one of the healthiest diets but certainly not the healthiest for the simple reason that it eliminates an important food group—dairy.  “Vegans end up consuming a lot of legumes to increase their protein level but this can lead to a leaky gut. There is a greater chance of anaemia due to a lack of heme iron in a vegan diet. Some studies have found soy protein to cause hormonal disruptions,” says Rai.

food myths


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