Drink hot lemon and pepper to boost your metabolism. Do a juice cleanse for better skin. Cut calories to lose weight.
No matter your diet goal, chances are you’ve received conflicting advice, and no matter how hard you’ve tried, not all of it has worked.
This is because many of the diet tips and tricks you may know to be true are, in fact, doing more harm than good.
In order to sift through what can be an overwhelming amount of diet advice, we asked clinical nutritionist and dietitian Filip Koidis of W1 Nutritionist which common diet “truths” and myths we should be ignoring.
From detoxing to packing your diet with superfoods, these are the biggest myths in the world of food and nutrition, alongside the advice you should be listening to instead.
According to Koidis, even the word 'detox' is incorrect in this instance. 'If you have any kind of toxicity from a substance, that's a medical emergency,' he said. 'Detoxing with pepper or a pineapple extract wouldn't really help.'
He added that most detox products don't specify which toxins they help you eliminate from your body. 'The only reason you feel better is you're eating fruit and vegetables and you're more organised,' he said. 'The weight loss is just down to extreme calorific deficit.'
Instead, he said the best way to 'detox' is to keep your organs -- such as your liver, kidney, and lungs -- healthy. He added that if you want to try something different, many studies show that fasting can help re-calibrate your liver and blood levels. 'If you can incorporate that into your routine, that would be great.'
'When it comes to juicing, one of the issues is that you get lazy gut,' Koidis said. 'You get used to being fed the mush consistency of food, so when you start eating normal food, you get bloating, indigestion, etc.'
He added that you also have less control of what you're eating with a juice or a smoothie.
'In a smoothie you can chuck in five or six different pieces of fruit, but if you were to eat them, you wouldn't even go through half the portion,' he said. 'When it comes to weight management and trying to control your gut hormones, you're tripping them up if you start juicing too much.'
This isn't necessarily the case, according to Koidis.
'Dealing with calories is very old school nutrition,' he said. 'The whole ethos and philosophy of what a calorie means and how that translates into energy has been disproven.'
Instead, he said people should be focus on the macronutrients -- the protein, fat, and carbohydrate content -- of their food. 'When you're trying to do any weight loss intervention, this is more important than calories,' he said.
Tailor your nutrition around your exercise routine and improve your sleep patterns instead. 'Many studies have shown that 95% of people that just count calories in order to lose weight always fail,' Koidis said.
Again, this isn't necessarily true.
'With most multivitamins, although the general consensus was that you might as well take one because it's doing more good than harm, now it's been proven that if you're taking multivitamins without needing to do so, it's increasing your risk of diseases,' Koidis said. 'It also might be blocking your absorption routes of actual foods.'
There's no such thing as a superfood, according to Koidis.
'There isn't one specific food that's the best one to eat,' he said. 'The key to a healthy diet is variety -- we all have different likes and dislikes, backgrounds, and genetics. 'Superfoods' also tend to cause an imbalance in the world of agriculture.'
'There is no one diet that everybody should be following,' Koidis said. 'Celebrity diets, famous doctors -- the issue is they're not designed specifically for one type of person.'
While fruits, vegetables and lean proteins can add up, this doesn't have to be the case, according to Koidis.
'The consensus is that it's better if you go seasonal and local, although it's always a bit of a challenge when you want it quick and easy,' he said. 'Go for ingredients that are in season. For example, maybe don't go for strawberries in the winter.'
He added that being organised with your shopping and buying large quantities of staple foods like bread, grains, pulses, and legumes which you can cook and store can help you save.
'Most carbohydrates you can reuse quite a few times -- you can eat lentils every day, there are a thousand recipes, and you can create five different meals with a bag of sweet potatoes.'
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