There are a host of myths relating to nutrition formulated over the
years by crash diets, food crazes and now perpetuated by the Internet.
But what makes for a good nutritional dietary map and what can you do to
set yourself on the path to a healthier lifestyle?
According to Justine Pearl, brand manager at Pouyoukas foods, there are a couple of areas within nutrition that often lead people down the garden path, and while the list is simple the mental and physical effects can be devastating. The areas include diet and dieting, starvation as a means to shift those pounds, devouring only salads and getting the balance between protein and carbohydrates right.
“The most common myth relating to good nutrition is that going on diet will right all wrongs,” warns Pearl. “A diet is not going to magically throw your nutritional goals back on the right path, it might be a good start but without the combination of the right foods, quantities and a health plan designed for your specific body make up, you are not going to succeed.”
Pearl warns that it is all about balance and where dieting can be good as a means to monitor yourself and reward your successes, it has to be done with your body in mind. Another area she warns against is starvation as a means to kick start a diet.
“Your body is like a car it needs fuel to survive, without it, it will simply stop starting and go nowhere,” she says. “There is still a fad whereby people starve themselves for a couple of days in order to kick start their metabolism, this is complete hogwash. You will stall your metabolism completely if you follow this too often, smaller quantities of the right foods throughout the day will kick start your metabolism, not starving yourself half to death.
“Beyond that the health risks of starvation can be devastating and while you may not feel them immediately they will catch up on you,” warns Pearl. “Why not just cut back, snack on healthier produce like pumpkin seeds and raw peanuts, and replace refined carbs with low GI alternatives.”
A big trend and perhaps the biggest switch that needs to be flipped is an acknowledgement of the importance of balancing your intake of proteins and carbohydrates.
“Protein is the building block of the body and the mind and an important nutritional requirement in your diet, whereas carbohydrates are fuel for your body,” urges Pearl. “This is not to say that you must tuck into a slab of meat each day or devour a loaf of bread, it is all about balance. There are a number of non meat protein alternatives that will give you your required daily dose in a helping without having to resort to cannibalism.”
“Nuts, seeds, peas and legumes are all excellent sources of protein and carry a host of additional nutritional benefits as well. Additionally there are a myriad of low GI carbohydrate alternatives our there that can be opted for, before turning to refined breads and even store bought pastas. The options are out there you just need to find them.”
Pearl also warns that all salads are not created equal and that man cannot live on lettuce alone. Tucking into a salad that is doused in a creamy dressing, sprinkled with wafers and croutons and dripping in a host of exotic cheeses can land up being as fattening as any other menu item.
“I think this point brings us to the key aspect of healthy nutrition, it is not always what you eat, but what you are eating is made up of that is they key. A salad topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and say raw peanuts is not only going to look fabulous, but it is going to taste fabulous and be healthy to boot,” adds Pearl.
“The reality is that we have so much information at our fingertips that we should be able to make these choices for ourselves with ease. The problem however is that so much of what is available is misguided. We suggest you arm yourself with the facts, use common sense when it comes to your body and most importantly read the labels of the foods you chose,” ends Pearl.