Diets & Diet Myths
There are so many diets around these days but which is the best to choose?
Ideally you want something that will last. Basically weight loss is about less energy in and more energy out. Yes there may be other factors which may need to be considered by some individuals, if this is you discuss this with your Dietitian. Fad diets such as some shake diets, soup diets and high protein diets can offer quick fixes and may result in weight loss initially but this weight loss usually is not sustained and most if not all of the weight is regained. Why? Because diets stop, they have an end point. Once someone reaches their goal weight they usually go back to the way they used to eat, this is what got them to their original weight in the first place. You want an eating plan that you can sustain long term, something that suits your energy needs and your lifestyle, a healthy diet which ticks off all the five food groups. Fad diets usually miss one or two food groups and is usually unable to provide you with all the nutrients required for good health.
Eat from the five food groups and follow the Australian Dietary guidelines to achieve a healthy weight. It sounds boring but it sure has to be easier, particularly when socialising, then having to cut out entire foods.
Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods
- Eat plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruits
- Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain
- Include lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives
- Include milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives.
- Reduced-fat varieties should be chosen, where possible
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
- Choose foods low in salt
- Limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink
- Consume only moderate amounts of sugars and foods containing added sugars
Lots of my clients get bored of their usual run of the mill Have you run out of ideas of what to cook for the evening meal or what a healthy but delicious meal could be? I always get my clients to have a look at the Diabetic Living and Healthy Food Guide magazines. Even jump onto the Healthy Food Guide website as they have a database of all their recipes.
Be careful of diet myths, as there is so much information out on the internet these days about nutrition and diets it can get very confusing. Below are a few points which my help to eliminate some confusion.
- Carbohydrates are fattening à FALSE
Carbohydrate foods such as rice, pasta and bread have been labelled as fattening and people think if we avoid carbohydrates this will result in weight loss. Carbohydrate is important for fuel for our bodies and it is difficult to sustain a low carbohydrate diet. Rice, pasta and bread are low in fat and are actually low in calories and high in fibre thus very filling. It is when we overeat these foods and diverge from out recommended portions that they can be no good for us. Carbohydrates can be included in a healthy meal plan, just limit the fat that can be added to the carbohydrate, including butters, margarine, oils and cream.
- Low fat milk has less calcium than full cream milk à FALSE
Low fat milk and full fat milk has the same amount of calcium, so both important for bone health. They differ in fat content only, so on a weight loss eating plan it is ideal to go for a lower fat milk.
- Snacking makes you fat à FALSE
Overeating between meals (known as grazing or picking) or choosing wrong snack choices can lead to weight gain. One healthy snack between meals can be beneficial as it can help reduce the risk of overeating at the next meal and keep your metabolism burning.
Some ideal snacks may include:
- Piece of fruit
- Low fat yoghurt
- Vegetable sticks with hommus
- Small handful of unsalted nuts
- Low fat crackers & low fat cottage cheese
- Glass of low fat milk
- Honey is a healthy substitute for sugar à FALSE
Honey and sugar have similar energy/kilojoule content and provide little nutrition. You are better off to sweeten your food with fruit instead, eg. Topping your cereal with fruit or limit your sugar added to your tea or coffee.
- Red meat is high in fat so avoid this to lose weight à FALSE
Red meat is important for iron, iron helps to transport oxygen around the body, if we don’t have enough iron we can be left feeling tired which makes eating right and exercise a whole lot more difficult. Choosing lean or trimmed red meat for meals three to four times a week in correct portions is appropriate to meet nutritional requirements as well as continue on your weight loss journey.
- Treat foods such as chocolate should be eaten earlier in the day so it is burnt off rather than late at night à FALSE
Our metabolism burns throughout the day and night, even when we are sleeping. It is about the portion and how often we eat these treat foods and not the time of day that will have an effect on our weight. Discuss with your Dietitian what would be an appropriate portion and how often for you treat foods.