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10 diet myths that can damage your health

What to eat, when to eat and how often to eat are questions that bother us perennially. We bust some common myths about diet.

Written by Kriti Saraswat |Updated : February 28, 2015 11:37 PM IST

Being conscious of one s diet habits, and taking care not to practice unhealthy things is certainly good. However, having the wrong information or harbouring wrong beliefs about healthy eating can do more harm than good. In this post, we bust 10 diet myths that you may be having.

Myth: Eggs increase cholesterol levels so should be avoided.

Truth: Eggs are actually good for your health. Eating one egg a day will provide your body with various nutrients like zinc, protein, vitamin A, B, D, calcium, iron, phosphorous, choline and lutein. It is well within the daily requirement of cholesterol by our bodies and so consuming one egg every day will only do good to our system.

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Myth: It is impossible to eat healthy in a pub.

Truth: Order smart and you can still be eating healthy even in a pub. The trick is to keep track of your food choices and avoid binge eating. Opt for tandoorifish/chicken/paneer or grilled chicken/fish/paneer, steamed momos, satay, shish kebabs. Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. If drinking, take small sips so that it lasts longer and nibble on food in-between sips. Stick to one type of drink like beer or wine instead of cocktails as they pack in lots of calories. Or be the designated driver and stay away from alcohol altogether. Here is how you can eat healthy at a pub.

Myth: Eating before and after a workout session will make your exercise efforts redundant.

Truth: Eating is very important both before and after a workout. This is because what you eat prior to your exercise will help fuel the session and result in muscle building. What you consume post workout will help in recovery making sure your body has all the nutritional supplies it needs after the exhaustive regimen. Eat carbs and proteins an hour before you exercise and vitamin supplements, carbs, proteins, water or sports drink within an hour after your regimen is over. (Read: What to eat before and after workouts)

Myth: You have to eat only bland food if you suffer from high BP or hypertension.

Truth: You can certainly enjoy tasty food even if you are a BP patient all that is needed is to monitor your salt intake and lead a healthy life without taking too much stress. You can make a high-fibre pasta dish using whole wheat penne and adding lots of veggies in it. Another dish is flaxseeds raita as it prevents the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol) and builds immunity. It also provides essential omega 3 fatty acids and calcium. Check out some tasty recipes to keep BP under control.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.

Myth: Drinking something along with your meal helps in faster digestion of food.

Truth: Liquids reach the intestine before food thus taking away all the digestive enzymes and inhibiting digestion of food. Beverages like coffee, tea, soft and hard drinks also restrict gastric secretions while citrus fruit juices bring down starch digestion creating gas and fermentation. It is best to have them prior meals or an hour after meals.

Myth: You have to starve yourself if you want to lose weight.

Truth: Eating right is more important than not eating when on a weight loss mission. Include food items that suppress appetite and increase metabolism so that you don t each too much. Add chillies to your meals as they help burn energy even hours after the meal. Olive oil reduces appetite while ginger increases metabolism and aids digestion. Refer to our sample weight loss diet by expert dietician.

Myth: Rice is bad for health.

Truth: Many people completely avoid eating white rice as they think it does not have any nutritional value. Rice is good for people who want to gain weight. Also, you don t have to omit it from your diet, it can be eaten twice a week. It is a good idea to have it for lunch so that the body can use energy from carbohydrates. Make the switch from white to brown rice as it is healthier it has vitamin B, fibre, keeps you full for longer and can be eaten by diabetics as well.

Myth: Using olive oil is best for cooking.

Truth: Using olive oil or extra virgin olive oil for cooking is not always good. This is because it has a low to medium smoke point the temperature it starts to burn, producing harmful chemicals. It means if you use it to fry something, it will star to burn and lose its nutrients. Olive oil is good for saut ing veggies or a salad dressing. For Indian cooking, it is best to use an oil with a higher smoke point like rice bran, sunflower, sesame, etc. Read about whether your cooking oil is making you unhealthy.

Myth: Drinking alcohol is bad for your health.

Truth: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is certainly bad for your health but there are studies which show that drinking in moderation has many benefits. Flavonoids present in red wine reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by warding off cholesterol build-up. A glass of wine every day boosts libido in women. Drinking a pint of beer too reduces your risks of a stroke.

Myth: A high-protein diet is ideal for everyone.

Truth: While a high-protein diet is good if you are on a weight loss programme, it is not recommended in the long run. It needs to be supplemented with a high energy workout. Usually athletes and body builders follow this diet in order to increase their muscle mass. A balanced diet with regular intake of protein is better than just a high-protein diet as it can increase cholesterol levels and place a lot of stress on the kidneys. Find out if a high protein diet can do more harm than good.

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