Don't be fooled by these diet myths

Accredited Bupa dietitian Gemma Cosgriff exposes the top five diet myths you need to be wary of.

It is easy to be tempted by sensational health headlines promising to help you lose weight with quick-fix pills and miracle weight-loss tricks. However, more often than not these claims are unfounded and can actually be damaging for your health. Bupa dietitian Gemma Cosgriff explains why you shouldn’t believe the hype.

1. ''Lose the grains, lose the gut''

Grains have copped a bad rap lately, with people blaming them for everything from weight gain to digestive issues. 

What the dietitian says… 

Carbohydrates are a great source of energy, so it’s important not to cut them out completely. Grains are not dangerous to most people’s health and don’t make us put on weight on their own. We need to look at how much we are eating for energy versus how much energy our bodies need and use for everyday function. 

And don’t believe those persistent rumours that cutting carbs at night will aid weight loss. There is little or no evidence that the timing of energy consumption relates specifically to weight loss.

2. ''Low fat is king''

In years gone by, it was common belief that cutting fat was the key to weight loss because fat has more kilojoules per gram than carbohydrate or protein. 

What the dietitian says… 

Eating healthy fats is important for our heart and brain health, especially foods like avocado and nuts. The danger with relying on ‘low fat’ labelling is that you could end up consuming food that has minimal fat, but maximum sugar.

3. ''Drop a dress size in two weeks''

Whether it’s ‘miracle pills’ or severely restrictive diets, barely a week goes by without a headline or ad promising to have us shedding kilos fast. But are these claims too good to be true? 

What the dietitian says… 

There is no magic strategy. Just because it’s fast does not mean it’s healthy. Furthermore, it’s unlikely you’ll develop healthier habits that will help you keep the weight off. To use a cliché, it’s not going to happen overnight but it will happen!

It’s not going to happen overnight but it will happen!

4. ''Detox for optimal health''

We might think that going on a ‘detox’ will be a quick solution to feeling a bit blah after an overindulgent holiday or weekend. 

What the dietitian says...

There's no evidence to support the need for us to do any kind of detox.  Your lungs, liver and kidneys are your built in detox system. So the best thing to do is look after your body by cutting out alcohol and reducing your intake of processed foods.

5. ''You won't believe these before-and-after photos!''

One of the weight loss industry’s favourite sales techniques is using before-and-after images to ‘prove’ how effective their program is. 

What the dietitian says… 

While the images might appear enticing, reports are surfacing about weight-loss companies air-brushing their photos and carefully styling them to make people look slimmer than real life.

It’s evident that there are many misconceptions about diets. Consider consulting an accredited practicing dietitian for information about how to get the best from your food to help look after your health.

Bupa Health Insurance

Need help with your diet? A dietitian can help you take the first step. Depending on your cover, some visits may even be covered under your private health insurance.

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