Have you always believed that eating later at night will cause weight gain? Following on from part one; we’ve put together some additional food beliefs that are clouding our judgment on what is healthy. To recap on part one, click here
Myth: Eating after 8pm leads to weight gain.
The reality: What matters is what you eat, how much you eat and how active you are. No matter what you eat, if you’re eating more kilojoules then your body needs it will be stored as body fat.
It can be easy to fall into the trap to snack while watching TV, a movie or surfing the internet in the evenings, and if you’re distracted and mindlessly snacking at the same time you may well be eating more than you need and this can lead to weight gain. However, it’s important to realise that this will mainly be because of the food choices that are being made, rather than the time of the day you’re eating.
Myth: I should only have fruit for breakfast.
The reality: Fruit is a good source of vitamins and dietary fibre, but as the name goes, breakfast is the meal that breaks our fast and provides good quality carbohydrates that are high in fibre and low GI (such as whole grain breads and cereals). These play an important role helping to re-fuel the body and prepare it for the day ahead. Breakfast is also a good opportunity to include some protein-rich foods like milk, yoghurt and eggs, which will help to keep you fuller for longer. Why not try introducing some good quality carbohydrate and protein foods along with your fruit in the morning – try porridge with banana and a dollop of fat free yoghurt, muesli with reduced fat milk and sliced apple, or fruit toast topped with berries.
Myth: I’ll put on weight if I drink while I eat.
The reality: Some believe that if you drink while you eat it will slow down your digestive system and lead to the body storing more fat. There is no evidence to back this up; in fact research actually suggests that having water with your meal can help digestion. Saying this, your body weight may increase in the short term, because you’re putting water weight into your body, but your weight should return to normal after a trip to the loo when the fluid leaves the body.
However, it is important to watch the type of fluids you’re having with your meal. Drinks like alcohol, soft drink and cordial provide a lot of kilojoules for very little nutrition and it can be quite easy to drink a lot of them. Be mindful and make smart choices, as drinking high kilojoule drinks at any time of the day can quickly push your kilojoule intake over the line!
Myth: You can only get enough protein by eating meat.
The reality: Meat is a great source of protein, however if you don’t eat meat, you can still easily meet your protein needs. Other good sources of protein include fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, cheese, nuts and legumes. Protein is digested more slowly than carbohydrates, which helps us to feel fuller for longer between meals, helping to keep those hunger pangs at bay. If you are a meat eater, remember to trim visible fat from meat and to choose lean meats and reduced fat products where possible.
Myth: I need to follow a special diet while trying to get pregnant.
The reality: There is no specific diet you need to follow when you’re trying to get pregnant, really you should just be eating the same foods recommended for any healthy diet. However some nutrients such as folate are needed in higher amounts. It’s also good to be within the healthy weight range several months before you become pregnant. However, fertility may improve with weight loss of just 5-10% of your body weight.^
If you’d like more specific information on pre-pregnancy nutrition, speak with your Doctor or Dietitian.
It’s important to separate fact from fiction whilst on your weight loss program – diet, exercise and keeping track of your calories are still the best ways to keep your energy up and weight down!
^ (Pandey Sh 2010)