Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is no mean feat. With all the cheese, wine and burgers Brisbane has to offer it can be easy to buy into a whole lot of health info that’s kind of BS in the search for a health nirvana. Fear not though, we’ve teamed up with Queensland Health to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to your pilgrimage to health. Here’s 10 seemingly healthy things your doc wishes you would stop believing. So cut the BS already, and get started on your new healthy life.
Drinking water is great for you, and such a huge contributor to a healthy, balanced diet. Your body needs water for a whole lotta reasons like maintaining a healthy temperature, digestion and most importantly, absorption and transportation of nutrients. While it may seem like you’ve chugged enough water for the day, it’s essential for a healthy and happy bod to be getting at least 8 glasses of water into you a day. Bonus points for extra!
It totally makes sense that fat would be bad for you, so we can see where this myth got its legs. But the fact is that some fat is essential for your health. It’s a common myth to cut all fats from diet; this can be detrimental to your diet as you may start replacing fats with refined sugars and you will also miss out on essential nutrients. Yikes! Around 20-35% of your total energy/ kilojoule intake should come from fats. The healthier kind, that is. Enter: unsaturated fats, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find them in things like fish, seeds, nuts and avocado (yum) and they’re an epic way to add a boost of health to your day.
Carbs have long had a rep as the enemy of good health, and un-rightly so we say! Complex carbs such as those found in vegetables and wholegrain foods are broken down by your body into glucose, which is converted by your cells into energy. While this may sound like a no-no when you’re trying to be a bit more #fitspo, it’s actually a great thing! The process of converting complex carbs into energy takes a while to happen. It means that you’ll feel fuller have more energy, for longer, and therefore less likely to hit the snack cupboard. Winning!
A gluten free diet has taken of as a bit of a health trend. But is it really so healthy? In a nutshell, nope. Gluten free diets for those who don’t actually have an intolerance actually mean you could be getting less vitamins, fibre and minerals that your body needs. So, unless you’re gluten intolerant, stick to wholegrain breads and flours for a healthier take.
There’s a nasty little rumour flying around that microwaves kill food and zap all the nutrients out. Which is obviously not ideal, if it were true, which it’s not. CSIRO research has actually found that cooking in a microwave is at least as nutritious as other cooking methods, mainly through vitamin retention. Because you’re heating food much quicker, it enhances the retention of nutrients like vitamin B and C, which are water soluble and can be tossed out with the water when you boil them. As if that wasn’t enough, microwaves also retain food’s protein quality. Nice!
This myth needs some serious busting. It’s a long held belief that your weight is the only indicator of your health, which is fictitious. When you burn more kilojoules than your body uses, you lose weight – it’s a simple equation. But more often than not, peeps setting out on their journey to better health give up when they don’t see their hard work showing on the scales. Here’s the thing though, the scales don’t actually reflect your health – it reflects your weight. Things like muscle mass can increase along your journey, so the scales will go up. There’s loads of other ways to measure your success, like fitting into jeans that used to be too tight or not being out of breath after climbing the stairs at work.
I’m sure we’ve googled BMI calculator in the past and been shocked by the results. You’re fit and healthy but the BMI calculator is telling you you’re overweight? Why? Because your BMI calculation ignores some pretty useful stats: where your body fat is located (around your waist is the most dangerous place) and how much you have. However, BMI does have its uses - and if the BMI calculator says you're in the healthy weight range you still need to be eating well and getting your excercise.
There’s a nasty little rumour flying around that walking is an ineffective form of exercise. If you want to get active, but don’t want to go all out and actually run anywhere, then walking is a perfect alternative. It’s all about getting your heart rate up and increasing your activity levels, which walking is perfect for!
While it is true that you lose weight from burning more kilojoules than you consume, this doesn’t mean that starving yourself is the best option, or even an option. If you’re skipping meals you can wind up malnourished and slow your metabolism or just feel unwell. You're also more likely to grab a snack or reach for food that isn't the best option for you. So what should you be doing? Eat a wide range of nutritious foods from different food groups, including vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, lean meats and reduced-fat dairy products to deliver you a meal packed full of nutrients.
Kilojoules and calories are both measures of the energy content of food and drinks. In Australia, kilojoules are used as the measure of energy, whilst in other countries, like in the United States, they use calories. One calorie is 4.2KJ and 1KJ is 0.2 calories, so 200 calories is the same as 840 kilojoules. If you’re looking to switch to a healthier lifestyle you’re going to need to know what you are looking for when reading food lables, so pay attention! Most labels will only list the kilojoules. On average you need 8,700 kilojoules a day, so try to steer clear of foods and drinks that will blow this in one sitting!
Want to bust even more myths? Sort fact from fiction here.
Editors note: This article is sponsored by Queensland Health and proudly endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie.