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Functional nutrition is all about picking the right foods, having a good nutrition plan, sleep pattern, and exercise schedule and this can have a hugely positive impact on your health. Everyone is different, and there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all answer. However, sometimes the amount of nutritional information out there can seem overwhelming – it can be hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction! Express.co.uk chatted to professional footballer and owner of The Turmeric Co., Hal Robson-Kanu, to find out the five major myths around functional nutrition, so you can cut through the nonsense and stick to the facts.
Five common beliefs about nutrition that are FALSE
Carbohydrates are bad for you
Carbohydrates have been given a bad name in recent years – many people believe that they’re responsible for insulin spikes that cause obesity and heart disease, but that’s not necessarily true.
Hal said: “In reality, it’s all about moderation, and picking the right carbohydrates in your diet.
“Nutritious carbohydrates like root vegetables and legumes often contain fibre, vitamins and minerals that can all contribute positively to a healthy diet.
“Other carb-rich foods like cakes and white bread are far less nutritious and should be restricted to avoid unwanted weight gain. It’s all about the quality of the food – carbohydrates aren’t the enemy!”
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is something that many of us have probably been told numerous times – however, it might not always be the case for everyone.
Hal said: “There’s certainly nothing wrong with breakfast if it works for your routine.
“However, research indicates that skipping breakfast can result in a reduced daily calorie intake – and for those sticking to an intermittent fasting schedule (usually involving fasting for 14-16 hours) it’s common to skip the first meal of the day.
“If you enjoy breakfast, go for it! However, if it doesn’t fit into your routine, or you just don’t fancy it, then fear not – it’s definitely not a nutritional disaster.
“Just ensure that your diet remains balanced, and you don’t overcompensate in calories during lunchtime or dinner.”
Supplementary nutrients aren’t as beneficial as ‘natural’ nutrients
It’s important to maximise the number of nutrients and vitamins you receive through your daily diet, and picking the right foods is a big part of this.
However, supplements can also be a great way of ensuring that you’re getting enough nutrition on top of your regular diet.
Hal said: “There are some myths around supplements that should be dispelled.
“Many people believe that ‘natural’ nutrients (i.e. those delivered through food) are superior – but this definitely isn’t the case.
“If you’re struggling to get all of the nutrients and vitamins you need through your regular diet, supplements can be a sensible option to boost your intake.
“The nutrients they provide are just as beneficial as those found in food, and although they should never replace meals, they can be an excellent additional source of nutrition.
“Turmeric shots, for example, are a fantastic and all-natural solution to boosting your curcumin intake – a powerful way to reduce bodily inflammation and muscle soreness.”
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You shouldn’t eat late in the day if you want to burn fat
There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating late in the day and it won’t stop you from losing weight.
Hal explained: “If you’re looking to lose weight, then it’s all about sticking to your overall calorie targets – the quality of your food is the real key, rather than when you decide to eat it.
“Eating later in the day might also suit your personal schedule, which is really what matters. This myth probably originates from our tendency to indulge in snacks later at night, to satisfy cravings or fight sleepiness.
“If you’re sticking to a healthy and balanced diet, then you have nothing to worry about – figure out a routine that works for you, and don’t stress too much about the time of day.”
Since fruits are high in sugar, you should avoid them
It’s true that fruits contain natural sugars, and like anything, should be consumed in moderation.
However, it’s certainly not necessary (or advised) to avoid fruit altogether!
Hal said: “Fruits are bursting with healthy nutrients and fibre that can form an important part of a well-rounded diet.
“Although they do contain natural sugars, they also come with a wide range of additional benefits.
“Naturally occurring sugar is also less concentrated than sugar found in other sweet foods. For instance, a cup of strawberries contains about seven grams of sugar, compared to 39g in a can of cola.
“Fruits can also replace unhealthy snacks (e.g. sweets and chocolate) which don’t provide anywhere near the same level of nutrition, but remain packed with sugar.”
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