In the health industry, specially with the rise of the Instagram famous fitness personalities, there have been many diet fads that come and go out of fashion. While many of them don’t last long (unsurprisingly), some have sadly managed to remain strong despite of lack of evidence.
Here are the top four I hear about all the time and the truth.
YOU NEED TO GO GLUTEN FREE FOR WEIGHT LOSS
While gluten certainly causes some serious health issues for anyone who is gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or suffers from coeliac disease, but for everyone else gluten does not need to be completely eliminated from the diet (1). There is no hard evidence to prove otherwise. The amount of carbs in the gluten containing food is probably more worrying than gluten itself and people usually lose weight on gluten free diet because of the elimination of carbs, nothing to do with the gluten itself!
ALL FATS ARE BAD
Healthy fats from natural sources such as avocados, nuts, red meat, egg yolk, olive oil, coconut oil, and oily fish are beneficial for health, disease risk and many cellular and metabolic processes within the body. Although fats have gotten bad name, healthy fats may actually reduce heart disease, diabetes, improve weight loss, optimize your hormones, cellular health and much more (2). The research supporting the benefits of fat in reducing disease risk is really impressive. If you are currently scared of fats, I encourage you to start introducing moderate amounts of healthy fats into your diet.
CARBS ARE BAD
Many people out there truly believe carbs are their worst enemy. Well, I have good news for you. Opting for good quality carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies will help you feel satisfied helping you stick to your diet in a sustainable way. It is backed by quality researches that carbohydrates actually improve your health specially the portion-controlled, quality carbohydrates that are packed with fiber and nutrients. While low GI carbs are recommended, higher GI carbs can be optimized to get the most out of our training or recovery when done right. Like everything else, moderation is the key. Because bear in mind, when you consume excess calories you gain weight, regardless of the type of carbohydrate (3).
HIGH PROTEIN DIET IS BAD
Despite of hundreds of highly controlled studies demonstrating that a high protein diet can offer many health benefits including Increased weight loss, improved recovery, improved satiety, increased muscle mass, improved diet adherence, this myth still remains. There is no association of higher daily protein intake to date with health complains in healthy individuals that do not suffer liver/kidney disease or impaired kidney function (4).
- Coattrenec, Y., Harr, T., Pichard, C., & Nendaz, M. (2015). [Benefits of gluten-free diet: myth or reality?]. Revue medicale suisse, 11(490), 1878-1880.
- Vannice, G., & Rasmussen, H. (2014). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics: dietary fatty acids for healthy adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(1), 136-153.
- Spiegelman, B. M., & Flier, J. S. (2001). Obesity and the regulation of energy balance. Cell, 104(4), 531-543.
- Krebs, N. F., Gao, D., Gralla, J., Collins, J. S., & Johnson, S. L. (2010). Efficacy and safety of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet for weight loss in severely obese adolescents. The Journal of pediatrics, 157(2), 252-258.