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5 nutrition myths that need to be broken

When it comes to nutrition and fitness, conflicting information abounds. We decode 5 of these myths

Balance is key to good health  (Unsplash)

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Let's be honest, when it comes to nutrition and fitness, conflicting information abounds, whether it is the villainisation of food like eggs and grains or the constantly-growing list of superfoods. Our expert, Dr Gaurangi Shah, Consultant, General Medicine, PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, decodes five myths that need to be put at rest, once and for all.

Cutting down carbohydrates and eating more protein is better for you

All macronutrients are important
All macronutrients are important (Unsplash)

As any nutritionist worth their salt will tell you, balance is key to good health; all macronutrients are equally important. Carbohydrates give instant energy, whereas protein takes time to digest. Excess protein intake increases Uric Acid, which in turn invites other diseases. On average, an individual needs 1gm / kg/day of protein.

Regular intake of vitamin tablets causes weight gain

Vitamins, like Vitamin C, are responsible for the healthy functioning of your body
Vitamins, like Vitamin C, are responsible for the healthy functioning of your body (Unsplash)

Vitamin tablets are supplements, not food. If taken along with a healthy, nutritious, balanced diet, they are great for you. Vitamins don’t contain any calories, so they won’t cause weight gain. In fact, the deficiency of vitamins can cause many illnesses; regular vitamin supplements protect you in the long run.

Regular intake of calcium supplements causes kidney stones

Milk is also a source of calcium
Milk is also a source of calcium (Unsplash)

Calcium is a very important mineral, essential for healthy bones and teeth and for muscle regulation. Low calcium in the body will make you chronically exhausted and more prone to injury, among other things. While you can get calcium from your diet, taking a calcium supplement with adequate quantities of water isn't a bad thing. Stone formation occurs due to inadequate water intake. 

Also read: Are continuous glucose monitors a new fitness fad?

Our body produces something called PTH ( parathyroid hormone ) that regulates blood calcium levels. If there is PTH abnormality, then one can have recurrent kidney stones.

Eating more sweets can lead to diabetes

Sweets don't directly cause diabetes
Sweets don't directly cause diabetes (Unsplash)

Too much sugar isn't great for you ever. However, diabetes isn't caused by eating more sweets, though certainly diet plays a role in diabetes control and regulation. Diabetes develops due to insulin resistance (Type 2) or insulin deficiency (Type 1) . Before an individual develops diabetes, he/she remains in an insulin-resistant state (Fasting Insulin level above 8 micrograms/ml) or pre-diabetes ( HbA1C between 5.7-6.4%). Early detection and timely treatment can help manage the condition.

Cholesterol is bad for the body

Nuts are great for you
Nuts are great for you (Unsplash)

Not all cholesterol is bad for you; in fact, some cholesterol is really important for good mental health, certain hormone production and other essential functions of the body. Three things are important for normal functioning of the brain - oxygen, glucose & cholesterol. Low levels of any of these can lead to irreversible damage to brain cells. Maintain your total cholesterol level between 150-180 mg / DL to keep your brain function normal. Choose healthy unsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil or avocados instead of butter and red meat for optimum health.

Also read: Do fitness and nutrition trackers hurt or help?


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