National Nutrition Week: Sifting fact from fiction

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1. Coconut oil is full of saturated fat and raises cholesterol.

Although the content of saturated fat is high in coconut oil, it isn’t full of it. Mother’s milk consists of saturated fat too but it is known to be the healthiest. We need to break free from the concept of saturated fat increasing cholesterol levels. It’s actually chronic inflammation that leads to a deranged lipid profile. South India has been living on coconut oil since years and if consumed the right way and in the right quantities with other lifestyle changes, coconut oil turns out to be a medicine.

2. A vegetarian diet is protein-deficient.

There are several vegetarian food items that are rich in protein. These include tofu, lentils, yoghurt, green peas, sattu, beans, quinoa, mushrooms, oats, seeds, nuts, and the list goes on. One needs to understand how to pair foods (cereals and pulses) for a complete amino acid (building blocks of protein) profile.

3. Plant-based diets are the healthiest.

Often, one comes across sick vegetarians and healthy non-vegetarians too, so there is no data that proves that vegetarian diet is the healthiest. Food matters, but what really matters, is lifestyle as a whole.

4. Carbs make a person gain weight.

Carbs alone cannot make you gain weight. Weight gain or obesity is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, overeating of carbs and at the wrong time, greed, gluttony, lack of self-discipline and more.

5. Food supplements are not effective.

This myth needs to take a backseat. They are extremely effective and especially beneficial for those who cannot maintain a balanced diet.

A food fad that troubles his celeb clients: Everyone thinks fats are bad as they are associated with weight gain and increased cholesterol. However, not all fats are bad. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats and must be included in the diet. Sources of these fats include avocados, nuts, eggs, seeds, fatty fish etc. Trans fats, found in baked sweets, fries, margarine and junk food, on the other hand, can cause harm to the body and must be avoided.

Sugar alone cannot make you fat: Dr Siddhant Bhargava

Dr Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder, Food Darzee, lists five popular sweet-related myths:

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