Diet myths debunked

Specialists consider that people often misunderstand some basic concepts of a healthy diet

Diet myths debunked
"You’re not supposed to stop eating just because you’re on a diet. By definition, diets include everything we eat on a 24 hour period" - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/06/2018 17:39 Berenice González Durand Mexico City Actualizada 17:40
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There are over 600 million adults in the world who are obese. Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that can be detrimental to health. There are many factors that may cause a person to exceed their ideal weight and most people try to avoid it in any way they can. However, specialists consider that one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to reduce fat is to misunderstand some of the basic concepts of a healthy diet.

Héctor Infanzón, nutrition specialist from the “Salvador Zubirán” National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition, and member of the groupHablemos Claro” (Let’s Be Clear), which seeks to make valuable scientific information about food technology, nutrition, health, and food safety, claims that people tend to misunderstand basic concepts in default of proper nutritional education.

You’re not supposed to stop eating just because you’re on a diet. By definition, diets include everything we eat within a 24 hour period, be it healthy or not. So technically, we’re all on diets, all the time,” he claimed. However, he added that the word “diet” has been filled with unfounded connotations, resulting in ridiculous health plans based on a single type of food, lunar cycles, blood types, and such.

Health advice is passed around without any sort of scientific criteria, and these made up diets only contribute to an unbalance in the digestive system, at best. “I could tell you about many sorts of diets that have become popular, but basically, people tend to stop eating and focus on one food or two, such as vegetables and chicken, for example.” When the body isn’t fed with the necessary nutrients, it tends to dehydrate and lose muscle mass.

The specialist claims that, nowadays, detox diets are also very popular. They mostly consist of eating nothing at all and drinking fruit and vegetable juices only, however, the concept of detoxing is also often misunderstood and used out of context. The liver and kidneys are in charge of purifying substances entering the body. When these organs work properly, one shouldn’t really worry about “detoxing.” The term has become extremely popular, although it offers no real health benefits. “In consuming fruit juice only, we’re only increasing the amount of sugar in the body. We really don’t need to undergo any so-called detox diets, what we really need is to know which health groups are necessary for our bodies,” Infanzón stressed.

Many people take it upon themselves to share their experiences with dietary programs, with nothing but their own physique and fame as their calling card. False diet-gurus are lurking everywhere. 45-year-old actress Gwyneth Paltrow is an example of Hollywood’s beauty standards: Thin, blond, toned, and with perfect skin, despite her age. This is why she has managed to create a health and lifestyle business and gained so many followers as well as naysayers. A couple of years ago, the Canadian scientist and disseminator Timothy Caulfield published a book called: “Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything?”, where he concluded that most of her claims about nutrition and exercise were not only baseless but potentially dangerous. On her books and internet posts, the actress constantly rants against gluten, one of her sworn enemies.

Far from being an evil entity, gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. A gluten-free diet is not meant to help with weight loss and can develop into an authentic intolerance to gluten, creating a problem where there used to be none. Doctors usually prescribe a gluten-free dietary plan when treating people with celiac disease or gluten allergies.

Experts agree that the true secret behind a weight loss diet is to eat in a balanced manner, but in smaller quantities, avoiding fats and exercising on a regular basis.

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