Health experts reveal the six worst diet myths and what to do instead

Diet myths busted: Health and fitness experts reveal the worst nutrition advice they’ve seen – and why a ‘detox’ WON’T get you back on track in 2019

  • Australian health experts have revealed the worst diet tips they’ve seen
  • Ill-advised tips include restricting all carbohydrates and deprivation diets 
  • Here, the experts share what people should do instead in order to drop weight 

Australians are bombarded with diet plans, ‘must-have’ exercise programs and at times, very conflicting pieces of health advice.

So it’s no surprise some feel overwhelmed by all the information available on the Internet.

Here, health experts have revealed the worst diet tips they’ve seen and what you should do instead to stay healthy and in shape this year.

‘Exercise will not make up for unhealthy eating’: Australian health experts have revealed the worst diet myths they’ve seen (stock image)

Calories in vs calories out

Registered dietitian Shauna McQueen told Byrdie that maintaining your weight is not as simple as ‘calories in, calories out’.

Ms McQueen said that this method can lead to deprivation diets that prove to be detrimental to one’s mental and physical health in the long term.


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Similarly, certified holistic health coach Lee Holmes told FEMAIL that some foods, however low in calories, can be detrimental to your health.

‘It’s much better to focus on eating the right kinds of foods for your own body type and foods that will balance hormones, help to burn fat and boost your metabolism,’ Ms Holmes said.

‘These foods are different for everybody, but generally speaking, stick to a good balance of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates and include more fresh foods such as vegetables and fruit.’ 

‘Focus on eating the right kinds of foods’: Certified holistic health coach Lee Holmes (pictured) told FEMAIL that maintaining your health isn’t as simple as ‘calories in, calories out’ 

What are the benefits of eating carbohydrates? 

* Fuel the brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system

* Aids in digestion   

* Satiety and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check 

* A carbohydrate-deficient diet can cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath and vitamin and mineral deficiencies  

Source: Reid Health 

All carbohydrates are bad

Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines previously revealed on her blog that not all carbs are made the same. 

Ms Itsines explained that there are a variety of myths surrounding carbohydrates, and most of them shouldn’t be believed.    

‘This is just one I want you to stop believing — carbohydrates are used by your body for energy and stamina, concentration and recovery. In short, we need carbs!’ she said.

‘Cutting carbs is a weight loss trick that doesn’t work. It’s not sustainable for your body and can mean you miss out on vital nutrients.

‘Instead, you can try swapping refined grains (like white bread) for less-processed versions (such as rye) and keep an eye on your portions.’

Exercise will make up for unhealthy eating

Experts recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet and working out regularly as the way to achieve optimal health. 

Clinical nutritionist and author Jessica Sepel told FEMAIL that one of the biggest myths is exercise alone will give you the body of your dreams.

‘Contrary to popular belief, over-exercising can send your body into a stress response,’ Ms Sepel explained.

‘When your cortisol and adrenaline are through the roof, it can actually make weight loss more difficult.’

‘Swap refined for less-processed’: Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines (pictured) previously revealed on her blog that not all carbs are made the same 

Instead, she suggested exercising smarter, rather than harder.

‘It’s about exercising in ways that you love; this is what I call ‘exercising with kindness’. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes, five times a week, and enjoy one or two rest days each week.’ 

All sugar is the same, and should be restricted 

Registered dietitian Rachel Daniels told Byrdie that the sugar in fruit, is vastly different to that found in candy and other sweet treats.

Ms Daniels explained how unlike candy, fruit provides one with fibre, vitamins and minerals, and keeps you fuller for longer.

What is a sample day on a plate for a healthy diet? 

Breakfast: Aim to include protein, fibre and some healthy fats

– One piece of grain sourdough, two eggs, a spread of avocado and one to two cups of grilled vegetables (think mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and capsicum)

Lunch: A high-fibre stir fry

– A palm-sized chicken breast (marinated in cracked pepper, ground coriander and soy sauce), 30-40 grams of raw high-fibre pasta, and two to three cups of vegetables cooked with chilli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, cracked pepper and coriander  

Dinner: A palm-sized piece of salmon, oven baked potato wedges with the skin on, and half a plate of colourful salads (think lettuce, spinach, cucumber, tomato, carrot, snow peas, red cabbage and dress with balsamic vinegar) 

Snacks: 30 grams of roasted nuts, a piece of fresh fruit, natural Greek yoghurt, boiled egg, or vegetable sticks with hummus (minimally processed and full of nutrients)

Source: Dietitian Leanne Ward   

However she recommended not going overboard with your fruit consumption to ensure a balanced diet. 

Detox to get the body ‘back on track’

While they’re commonplace on the market these days, Ms Daniels told Byrdie that they are not sustainable.

She explained how while you might see an initial drop in weight (often water weight) and a boost of energy, weight loss will eventually come to a halt. 

Similarly, sports model and personal trainer Alexa Towersey told FEMAIL that eating less often causes us to ‘damage our metabolism’.  

‘As a general rule of thumb, the more extreme the action, the more extreme the reaction,’ she explained. ‘In my experience, the longer it takes to come off, the longer it will stay off. It’s truly a case of slow and steady wins the race.’ 

‘Diet’ or ‘low-calorie’ advertised foods will ensure weight loss

Supermarket shelves are stocked with foods labelled ‘diet’ that it’s easy to feel like you’re making the right choice, purely by the packaging.

Instead, dietitian Leanne Ward told FEMAIL to steer clear of highly-processed foods, and instead stick to a ‘clean and lean’ diet.

Ms Ward’s sample day on a plate includes some form of protein, fibre and healthy fats for breakfast, a high-fibre stir fry for lunch, lean protein and vegetables for dinner, and roasted nuts or a piece of fruit as a snack.   

Clean and lean: Dietitian Leanne Ward told FEMAIL to steer clear of highly-processed foods, and instead stick to a diet of lean protein, nuts, fruits and vegetables

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