Health tips can be hit and myth

Whitsunday Times - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - Kathleen Al­leaume Kathleen Al­leaume is a nu­tri­tion and ex­er­cise sci­en­tist and au­thor of What’s Eat­ing You?

WANT to lose weight or over­haul your eat­ing habits for good?

Here are three ter­ri­ble diet tips that could be mess­ing with your slim-down strategy.

Calo­ries in v calo­ries out A calo­rie is still a calo­rie, right? So if you had a choice be­tween a choco­late brownie or a hand­ful of nuts, which one would you choose?

Both have roughly 170 calo­ries but the prob­lem is, not all calo­ries are equal.

Choos­ing a food based on how many calo­ries (or kilo­joules) it has doesn’t take into con­sid­er­a­tion how nu­tri­tious or filling it is. FYI: brown­ies have 14 times more sugar, three times more sat­u­rated fat and two times less fi­bre than nuts. RE­AL­ITY: Calo­ries are im­por­tant for un­der­stand­ing por­tion con­trol, how­ever tak­ing a math­e­mat­i­cal ap­proach to weight loss is not the only fac­tor in good nu­tri­tion and over­all health.

Go gluten free

The prob­lem is not the gluten – we eat too many pro­cessed foods made with re­fined grains and not enough whole grains.

“Of­ten peo­ple who fol­low a gluten free life­style feel bet­ter be­cause they end up cut­ting out high-fat desserts, cakes and take­away foods and eat­ing more fruit and veg­eta­bles,” gas­troen­terol­o­gist Dr Sa­muel Dou­glas said.

“They make the mis­take that it was the gluten, rather than just eat­ing sen­si­bly that made them lose weight.”

RE­AL­ITY: There’s no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that gluten is fat­ten­ing. In fact, there is ev­i­dence to sug­gest that peo­ple eat­ing three to five serves of grain foods, mainly whole­grain (e.g. one slice of whole­grain bread or ½ cup brown rice) are more likely to have a smaller waistline and less likely to be over­weight than peo­ple who eat less.

While coeliac dis­ease is a se­ri­ous au­toim­mune dis­ease, self-di­ag­no­sis can be dan­ger­ous.

Some sug­ars are bet­ter Most “sugar free” di­ets ad­vo­cate elim­i­nat­ing su­crose, how­ever many of us are be­ing fooled into think­ing we are quit­ting sugar when in fact we are eat­ing prod­ucts laced with other sweet al­ter­na­tives – for ex­am­ple rice malt syrup, which is only free of fruc­tose yet is still a re­fined sugar that pro­vides more calo­ries, con­trib­utes to tooth de­cay and causes a much higher spike in blood-glu­cose lev­els. RE­AL­ITY: Some sug­ars (eg honey, co­conut sugar) may be “less bad” than reg­u­lar sugar but are not some­thing you should eat in large amounts.

PHOTO: JA­COB WACKERHAUSEN

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