Health and fitness expert Saskia Gregson-Williams exclusively told Express.co.uk readers what they should learn (and unlearn) about food as they embark on their weight loss journey.
Myth 1: Eating fat makes you fat
Saskia told Express.co.uk exclusively: “People often believe that you have to stay away from all fat to avoid getting fat.”
And while this may be true for processed and frozen foods that are high in saturated fat, there are also a number of healthy, unsaturated fats.
These are found in foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Saskia told readers, “Consuming more calories than you burn is the real reason you gain weight, regardless of where the calories come from.”
Instead of being afraid of fat, the expert suggested that “approximately 30 percent of your daily calories” should come from it.
“But choose good fats that are linked to better immunity, cardiovascular function and brain function, as well as reduced inflammation.”
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Myth 2: Detox diets are important for a healthy lifestyle
Saskia explained: “Detox diets have become increasingly popular in the wellness industry in recent years, claiming to remove toxins from the body and even help with issues like obesity, bloating and digestive issues.”
However, the expert revealed that there is “little research to back this up,” so dieters don’t need to follow these intense calorie-restricted diets to see results.
“You don’t really need to bother with these to be healthy because they don’t really cleanse you of anything; the body is actually very good at getting rid of toxins.
“Also, detox diets can actually be unhealthy.”
There are several drawbacks of detox diets; Because the body doesn’t get enough protein, crash dieters can experience “nausea, dehydration, and dizziness,” not to mention a compromised immune system.
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Myth 3: A balanced diet must include meat
It’s absolutely possible to be meat-free and healthy, according to this expert.
“Most vegetarians and vegans have been told that it’s not healthy to cut meat out of their diets. For example, ‘where are you going to get your iron?’ It’s a common question.”
While people who don’t eat meat can be at risk of running out of iron, as well as essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, with “right planning,” this can be corrected.
Saskia explained: “Nuts, legumes and green leafy vegetables are sources of iron, while soy-based foods contain omega-3s, and you can buy things like unsweetened cereals and soy drinks that have been fortified with b12 vitamin”.
Myth 4: Fruit is bad because it contains too much sugar
The weight loss discourse around fruit can be complicated and confusing, with some experts recommending that dieters get their five a day, and others avoiding fruit because it’s high in sugar.
Saskia debunked the myth once and for all.
“Does that mean we should get rid of the fruit? Absolutely not.
“First of all, fruit contains natural sugars, like fructose, rather than processed sugars that pose risks like tooth decay and weight gain.
“Natural sugars are harmless unless in excessive amounts, and while it’s easy to consume too much artificial sugar in foods and beverages, it’s very difficult to consume too much fructose when eating fruit.”
Myth 5: White potatoes are bad for you
“White potatoes have developed a bad reputation in recent years, and sweet potatoes are often considered the healthier alternative.”
However, Saskia has good news for potato lovers.
She revealed: “White potatoes can be part of a healthy diet depending on how they are prepared and processed,” but added a caveat.
“It goes without saying that baking or boiling them will be much better for you than frying or mashing them with lots of butter.
“White potatoes are packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, fiber and high-quality protein, and the carbohydrate content makes them a great source of energy.”