The media is full of confusing and conflicting messages when it comes to nutrition. Consequently, busting diet myths and fighting against fads is part of a nutritionist’s daily job. Read on for the three most common fallacies I come across in my practice.
‘Coconut oil is a superfood’
Over the last few years, sales of coconut oil have rocketed; thanks to celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow singing its praises as a cure-all superfood. However, evidence for these health claims is weak at best. In fact, coconut oil is higher in saturated fat (the type linked to heart disease) than butter and lard; hardly the superfood we’ve been led to believe.
‘Gluten-free should be part of everyone’s diet’
Gluten can cause a whole host of issues for those who are allergic; for example, extreme weight loss, dermatitis, and even nerve damage. However, most of us are capable of tolerating gluten and shouldn’t exclude it from our diet. This is because eliminating gluten means cutting down on wholegrains; an important source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
‘Going on a 3-day juice diet will cleanse your system’
My biggest bug-bearer of them all; juice cleanses. Your body is an incredible, fine-tuned system that, in the absence of chronic disease, is perfectly capable of keeping things in balance. Going on a ‘cleanse’ is simply unnecessary and, in some cases, dangerous. The easiest and best way to look after yourself is to eat balanced meals at regular intervals, get some exercise and dedicate some time to yourself each day.