With constant access to information, you would've thought we'd be top of our game in nutrient knowledge, but sadly, food companies and the media have left us baffled. I've seen how we've been fooled by clever marketing campaigns, so I've put together important points to help filter out the nonsense!
Here are the top mistakes we can make along the way to wellness:
1. Opting for Low- Fat
Low fat is what it says on the tin... there is a low amount of fat. The question is, does it make YOU low fat? No. Usually, sugar is the replacement, which converts to fatty acids and gets stored around your body, mainly the bum and tum!
2. Probiotic Yoghurts
This is marketing at its best. People heard about the wonders of good bacteria and decided to use it to their advantage. Unfortunately this was at the expense of our health. Beneficial bacteria can restore digestive problems, increase immunity, improve mood and encourage weight loss. However, by putting them in sugary yoghurts it's completely preventing benefits, as a) bad bacteria feed on sugar and b) most people with digestive complaints can't tolerate dairy!
3. Counting Calories
Oh boy, this bugs me majorly. A calorie is not a calorie, meaning that they don't work equally in the body. Here's an example... Coke Zero is zero calories... an apple is around 80... which one is better for you?! Coconut oil is another example, 1 tablespoon is over 100 calories, but this food is so incredible that it speeds up your metabolism, helping you lose weight. STOP COUNTING CALORIES, count nutrients instead.
Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty much vegan, and loads can be said about this diet. The problem comes when meat is eliminated and replaced with veggie crap, meaning Quorn (read the ingredients!), dairy-free milks (some sugar), vegan cakes (sugar), veggie sausages (processed chemical fillers) and vegan cheese (don't get me started). Veganism can be amazing when upping your plant game but don't be fooled... if it's processed you may be better off eating meat!
The words on everyone's lips. This is for good reasons, as gluten can cause a LOT of issues in the body... The problem arises in the supermarket 'free-from' aisle when gluten-free foods are filled with excess sugar and ingredients I can't pronounce! Opt for proper gluten-free grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat, or go to a health food shop and see what's available there.
Wow, what is with this new craze? Since when did Paleolithic people hunt cows and pigs? And why bacon an obsession? This diet can be done well with careful thought, an odd piece of LEAN meat and wild fish, even some daily eggs. I just can't be hearing about all this meat consumption; not only is it bad for the planet, but our intestines aren't designed for so much flesh! Where the movement does score points is the promotion of no sugar, low dairy, low grains, and a high plant intake, just don't use it as an excuse for consuming a farm daily!
7. Trusting Packaging
My biggest gripe with the food world is packaging. We trust companies, and when we see 'wholegrain' or 'high fibre', our brain goes 'oh yeah, I've heard good stuff, it must be healthy'. Bloody manipulative companies! They find buzz-words, utilise science and then deface it to make money. Oh yes, your bran flakes are enriched with vitamins ... but they're also full of sugar or glucose rubbish, which will ruin you from the inside.
I apologise that this one may make you cry. Rice, seaweed, fish and vegetables... sounds healthy, right? Wrong. Firstly, the rice is white, meaning it's stripped of nutrients, and secondly, it's cooked in sugar!! Why on EARTH is there sugar in sushi???? Make your own at home, it's so easy!! Just boil brown rice and when it's still a little warm, put it in the seaweed. That's all you need, shove the rest!
9. Protein Shakes & Bars
Yes, you big, bulky men, I'm talking to you. I don't care how sexy you look in that tight t-shirt... So many cheap protein powders are full of absolute chemical crap. Ok, you'll build muscle, but at the expense of your kidneys? Forget it! Read the ingredients and invest in your health. Of course nutritious brands will be more expensive, but that's because you're paying for real ingredients.
So there you have it, my top tips on how not to do nutrition! Stick to simple, clean eating, and for all food in a packet... READ THE INGREDIENT LIST!! Never be fooled by words on the front, and stay away from brightly coloured boxes with promises of a better life.