Recommendations for a healthy diet and lifestyle flooded the Internet. We have to buy only low-fat products, enroll in fitness clubs, run marathons, use environmentally friendly products, vitamin complexes, use miracle detox products, and so on. Every manufacturer puts its essence into the concept of a healthy lifestyle. It becomes challenging to understand this riot of sentences.
Health care is getting more expensive, so the idea of preventing chronic diseases becomes an economically more justified strategy than treating them. A healthy diet implies the physiologically healthy nutrition of healthy people. Most often, this term is used in the context of preventing overweight. The problem of excess weight is global. Traditional dietetics to the treatment of obesity was not successful but it created a lot of misconceptions. In this article, we gathered five debunked myths about the healthy diet you should stop believing in.
1. Proper nutrition is good for everyone
The abstract concept of proper nutrition doesn’t imply an individualization of the approach to each specific person. All people have their genetics, lifestyle, daily routine, work schedule, psycho-emotional background, national traditions, and food preferences.
In an era of almost limitless possibilities of laboratory diagnostics, we can conduct a genetic analysis. This analysis will show a person’s predisposition to obesity and related diseases, food intolerance of several products, and kind of effective physical activity. A gastroenterologist can help you perform analyzes that show the state of the intestinal microbial world.
It is also important to evaluate the hormonal background of a person, which certainly affects metabolic processes by accelerating or slowing them down. This means that a healthy diet is different for every person and should be selected by a specialist.
2. The calorie count is the only way to lose weight
In some cases, this statement is true. If you reduce the calorie content of your daily diet by 300-500 kcal, you will begin to lose weight. However, not all calories are equally healthy. Products with different composition, but the same calorie content provoke different metabolic processes in speed. You might hear about the concept of the glycemic index (GI). This is the ability of a product to increase blood glucose by a certain level.
For example, a person eats an apple or drinks apple juice (that doesn’t contain extra sugar). The calorie content of the product is the same, but the level of blood glucose and the rate at which it will increase from these products are different. A whole apple has indigestible soluble fibers that prevent the quick absorption of simple sugar (fructose) from the intestines into the blood. The juice is free of fiber that means that fructose quickly enters the body and you need to cope with such an amount of sugar. This sugar also increases the level of “bad” cholesterol and enlarges fat cells.
Other factors can also affect the ability to increase blood sugar
- The type of sugar
- The degree of grinding
- The type of cooking
You should also know that protein food can increase insulin levels in the blood without raising blood sugar. This means that many protein foods shouldn’t be consumed at once, especially without a good portion of the fiber. The less carbohydrate food was processed, the less its harmful effect on the body.
3. Frequent meals are the basis of a healthy diet
A person without a predisposition to overweight needs to eat according to a feeling of hunger but not appetite. Hunger is a physiological concept, while appetite is emotional. For a person with a predisposition to obesity, frequent eating not beneficial. Insulin is produced as a result of any food or drink consumption to transfer blood glucose into the cell through the cell membrane.
Normally, the amount of insulin produced is just enough to transfer the received amount of glucose. Then glucose goes into chemical reactions in the cell and insulin secretion decreases. When you follow the recommendations on frequent food intake, you eat every three hours. Insulin is produced again and this leads to its increased concentration in the blood. If this happens regularly, a person has a predisposition to diabetes, and snacks have a high glycemic index (GI), it causes cell insensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance). This is considered the basis of type 2 diabetes.
You should understand that meals should be based on feelings of hunger, but not appetite. If you have a predisposition to being overweight or have a family history of diabetes, try to eat no more than three times a day. If you still need snacks, choose foods with low GI. Moreover, an addiction to sweet snacks may be a serious reason to visit a nutrition specialist, because you may already have insulin resistance.
4. Porridge is the best breakfast
Porridge discredits itself in many positions. Cereals are carbohydrates, milk contains lactose that is a fast carbohydrate, and dried fruits added to porridge are carbohydrates as well. According to the previously described process, porridge will cause unreasonably increased production of insulin, which will transport sugar into the cell longer than required. It will result in that the blood glucose level will begin to decline below normal and a person will want to have a bite again. This creates the vicious circle of hyperinsulinemia. That’s why it is better to choose nutritious protein foods in combination with vegetables for breakfast.
5. It is necessary to limit the consumption of animal fats
This recommendation may be valid for people with high blood cholesterol. Researches show that the increase in sales and consumption of low-fat products didn’t lead to a reduction in the number of people with high cholesterol. In contrast to the anti-fat campaign, the movement of the supporters of the ketogenic diet (a diet based on high-quality fats of both plant and animal origin) becomes more popular recently. The ketogenic diet is used as the treatment for several nervous system diseases and cancer. It is also a popular element of anti-age programs.
However, you should know that cholesterol is a source of sex hormones and some adrenal hormones that are essential for normal body functioning. The increase in “bad” cholesterol is more associated with the metabolism of carbohydrates than fats.
You should remember that nutrition should be varied and it has a place for animal fats. However, animal fats have their requirements. They shouldn’t be oxidized because they will be converted to trans isoforms that accumulate in the body and are not excreted. Moreover, the ecological purity of the product is extremely important because fat is a toxin accumulator.