Sally's Myth Busters

Your neighbor said this, your colleague said that, the TV presenter advised the opposite of what you know... These days, everybody is bombarded with information about nutrition and diet! In this section, we provide some common myths and misconceptions and give you the latest scientific evidence that relates to it. We are sure that you're going to enjoy every topic!

I love to eat sweets and that's why I can't go on a diet!
layer1-background Even if you are on a diet, you can treat yourself to your favorite dessert as long as it's a small portion and you account for it in your meal plan.

Remember that ignoring your craving for desserts may lead to feelings of deprivation which will make you want more sweets and over-eat them whenever you get the chance, which means you'll be consuming more calories, fats and sugars!

Your best bet? Eat your sweets in moderation! Yes, you can have that small piece of chocolate once in a while. A good option will be for you to prepare low fat desserts at home, such as a light sponge cake or a low fat pudding... ENJOY!
Gym-goers should take a protein shake to build their muscles!
If you exercise moderately 4-5 times a week, then you don't need to supplement your diet with a protein shake! You can easily meet your requirements from food. An adult's protein requirement is 0.8 grams/kg Body weight, which means if you weigh 80 kg, you need about 64 grams of proteins daily. Let's translate that to food: 1 chicken breast contains 30-40 grams proteins, 1 egg contains 7 grams, and a glass of milk or 2-3 slices of cheese have 8 grams. So protein-rich foods are abundant in your diet.

On the other hand, too much protein can put a load on your kidneys, and in excess can contribute to extra calories in your diet which can be stores as fat in your body. Over and above that, too much proteins doesn't make your muscles stronger, it's the type and intensity of your exercise. So you may need to lift weights 5-6 times a week to build bigger muscles.

Only athletes who do 2-3 hours of heavy sports a day need more calories and proteins (1.4-2grams/kg) and can benefit from a protein shake to help them meet their requirement and repair their muscles.
Skipping dinner is a good way to lose weight!
layer1-background Skipping dinner is a bad idea! It can slow down your metabolism which can reduce the rate of your body burning calories. Not to mention how hungry you'll feel at night!

That said, it's also not advisable to have a big dinner just before you sleep! So make sure to eat 2-3 hours before bedtime, and consume a LIGHT dinner. Options are numerous: You can start out with a green salad or vegetable soup then have a whole-grain sandwich made with light labneh, low fat white cheese, turkey, tuna or crab and filled with vegetables... Sahtein!
There has to be a special diet that removes belly fat!
Eating fruits after a meal is not healthy!
layer1-background A very famous misconception! If you like to have a fruit after lunch, by all means GO AHEAD! Physiologically, you CAN digest it as part of a meal, and the good news is that it can actually be beneficial for you:
  • It can replace the sweets that many people like to have after lunch, so it saves you the extra calories.
  • If the fruit is hard and fibrous, such as an apple, it helps clean our teeth.
  • When the fruit is rich in Vitamin C, such as orange, kiwi, strawberries or mango, it can help absorb iron from your dish!
However, if you are full after your meal, skip the fruits and keep them for snack time... It's all up to you!
Drinking milk with coffee will result in loss of all its calcium!
layer1-background Not all, just a little bit! A glass of milk contains about 300mg of calcium, adding 1 teaspoon of soluble coffee to your glass makes you absorb 297mg, which means you lose a very small amount. So if you drink coffee in moderation and have an adequate calcium intake, caffeine will not be harmful to your bone health.

You can think of it this way: Drinking milk with coffee is the only way some people will drink their healthy glass of milk, so it's actually helpful!
Cellulite creams and massages can get rid of my "orange peel" skin!
layer1-background These remedies can improve the feel of your skin, but can't get rid of your cellulite on their own! Cellulite is fat trapped under your skin and can be reduced by eating healthy and exercising regularly which can increase blood circulation to your problem area and tighten your muscles.

Remember that you can prevent cellulite in the first place by eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods, in addition to drinking plenty of water.
It's ok if my child is overweight now, he'll grow out of it!
layer1-background All the recent research has shown that when children are overweight or obese in kindergarten, they are most likely to be overweight or obese in the future!So it is highly recommended to take care of your child's diet early on by teaching him good eating habits. Encourage salads and home-cooked dishes at lunch, whole grain cereals and bread, fresh fruits as snacks, and limit their sweets and junk intake to an occasional treat. Eat healthy in front of him and that's what he'll do.

Last but not least, limit screen time to no more than 2 hours/day and encourage him to be active every day, as well as perform his favourite sports 2-3 times/week.
Eating nuts is not permitted if I have high blood cholesterol!
layer1-background Actually a handful of unsalted raw nuts can help improve your blood cholesterol levels!What drives your cholesterol levels high are fatty foods from animal origin, such as butter, ghee, fatty meats and full-fat milk and dairy, in addition to fried foods and trans fats (found in margarine and processed foods- known as hydrogenated vegetable fats).

What you can do is replace animal fat with a moderate quantity of vegetable fat, i.e. vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and avocadoes. Remember also to choose lean meat, especially fish and skinless chicken, low/skimmed fat dairy, and most importantly, to enrich your diet with fiber-rich vegetables, fruits and legumes (lentils, beans).
Eating breakfast makes me feel hungry all day long!
layer1-background It's the quality of your morning meal... If your breakfast is healthy and includes whole-grains and a source of proteins, then it can sustain you for 3 to 4 hours until snack time! On the other hand, if you have a high sugar-refined carb breakfast, such as plain kaak, some biscuits, plain cake or white bread sandwich, then you'll digest it quickly and feel hungry after a short time.

Now, when you skip breakfast entirely, your body will feel hungry from within, and when your hunger pangs start, you'll reach out for anything near (normally an unhealthy snack) or if you make it till lunch, you'll have an over-sized meal! So the best scenario here is to have a mix of whole grains such as whole-grain cereals, oats, or whole-grain bread, which are rich in fiber, combined with a source of protein such as a glass of low fat milk, low fat cheese, labneh, eggs or turkey.
Carrying a baby means you can eat for 2 throughout your pregnancy.
layer1-background Following this saying can make you gain a lot of weight without necessarily benefiting your baby's health and weight! Remember that in the first trimester, your calorie needs don't change; only in the second trimester you can consume 300 more calories and 600 more in the last trimester, as this is when the baby increases in weight. So it's not only how much you eat, but WHAT you eat that makes your pregnancy and baby healthy!

What to eat? A variety of food rich in nutrients distributed over 3 meals and 2 snacks. Remember, portion control to ensure a weight gain averaging 12-15 kg.
Diabetics cannot eat bread, pasta, potatoes or rice
layer1-background Of course they can have carbohydrates, but it should be in moderate amounts and distributed evenly throughout the day. The key is also consuming the "healthy" fiber-rich carbohydrates as fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the blood. Some examples include: whole-grain bread, brown rice, oats, whole-grain pasta and borghul. And for optimal blood sugar control, diabetics have to work closely with their doctor and dietitian.