Dieting Myths


According to Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” We agree wholeheartedly, but too many people get caught up in the “newest, latest, greatest diet” myths. Take the Raw Food Diet for instance. When following this type of lifestyle, basically everything you eat will be raw. This means your daily food intake will be filled with raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts. According to WebMD, some people even consume raw eggs, meat, and fish. You’ll probably lose weight on this “diet,” but it’s difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and more. Plus, contrary to the claims of many raw food fans, cooking does not make food toxic. Instead cooking makes some foods digestible. Cooking also boosts some nutrients, like beta-carotene and lycopene, and kills bacteria, which helps you avoid food poisoning. There is no scientific evidence that raw foods prevent illness. It’s far better to eat a balanced diet and cut back on calories if weight loss is your goal!

Another diet fad with little “scientific fact” behind it is the Gluten Free diet. This trend has been quite popular among dieters, but unless you have an actual intolerance, you should be aware of what eliminating it does to your body. According to Scientific American, gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. Many processed foods that we consume daily, including pastas, breads, and cereals, contain gluten, which can make it tricky to follow this lifestyle in a healthy way. The gluten-free processed foods many end up consuming are often made with refined grains, which don’t have the same valuable vitamins and nutrients that whole grains do. This is one of the reasons health professionals don’t want to see people on gluten-free diets unless absolutely necessary. For the 98 percent of people that don’t have gluten issues, whole grains—including the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye—are health promoting, linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

Ever hear of the Alkaline Diet? Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham, and Gwyneth Paltrow all live by an alkaline diet, which caught the attention of health-conscious eaters. This diet looks at pH levels in your body. According to U.S. News & World Report, this is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Acidic foods fall between 0 and 7 on the scale and alkaline foods fall between 7 and 14. It’s hard to keep up with this lifestyle because, according to the “diet plan,” to keep your body neutral, you’ll have to eat mostly alkaline at each meal. This means no red or processed meats, whole dairy products, many types of bread, condiments, anything fried, or anything high in fat and sugar. The problem is it doesn’t make any sense. Medical professionals agree that your pH won’t change substantially, no matter what you eat. So eat a healthy, balanced diet, incorporating a variety of foods. You’ll be the better for it!