Top 7 Instagram Nutritional Myths
Being active on social media will inevitably expose you to content about health and nutrition. Sadly, most of this content is unreliable. Even your favorite social media influencers can unknowingly spread false information about nutrition, causing more confusion on a larger scale.
Here are the top 7 nutrition myths you may encounter on Instagram that I'm here to debunk.
1. Skipping breakfast is detrimental to your health.
Fad: It's believed that eating breakfast prevents you from overeating at the end of the day, which helps you sustain your required daily caloric intake.
Fact: Eating breakfast is crucial to load your day with essential nutrients. While this is true, not everyone has the habit of having breakfast and we should focus on the overall nutritional intake throughout the day rather than place emphasis on just one meal of the day.
2. Small but frequent feeding is beneficial for optimal health.
Fad: Consuming a small portions of food frequently throughout the day is the best way for weight management
Fact: Though having small frequent meals can help sustain energy and satiety levels, which may prevent overeating in subsequent meals, everyone’s dietary pattern is different. You can still gain or lose weight successfully by monitoring your total daily caloric intake and energy used via physical activity.
3. The optimal calorie intake is similar for everyone.
Fad: Strictly follow the required daily calorie count when you want to lose weight. On average, women are required to limit their calorie intake to 1,500 while 1,800 for men.
Fact: Burning calories more than you consume will help you lose weight. However, certain health conditions, medications may affect our weight, even when you follow a strict diet. Each individual's calorie intake is different and should be determined based on their goal, age, height, weight, and activity level.
4. Fatty foods are unhealthy.
Fad: Some people believe that eating low-fat foods will reduce their risk for heart diseases and obesity.
Fact: Whilst having foods low in trans fat and saturated are beneficial to our heart health, some high fat foods are considered as healthy and are good for our heart. These include nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil. They are high in unsaturated fat thus moderate consumption of these foods within a balanced diet is beneficial for reducing risk of heart disease and obesity.
5. White potatoes induce weight gain.
Fad: This starchy root vegetable is often marked as "unhealthy" because it contains a high amount of carbohydrates, which can promote weight gain.
Fact: White potatoes are rich in various nutrients such as fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and protein. Just make sure to cook them in low-fat methods, such as boiling, baking or roasting instead of fried, and best eaten with the skin on.
6. When it comes to losing weight, the lower the calories, the better.
Fad: When it comes to the most effective diet that speeds up weight loss, reducing calorie intake drastically is one of the best choices.
Fact: Successful weight loss does not merely end after you lose the weight. Success is when you are able to maintain your new weight. Lowering your caloric intake drastically is not sustainable in the long run and may lead to starvation, malnutrition and metabolic changes. Slow and steady wins the race.
7. Being thin is ideal.
Fad: It’s a blessing to have the skinny genes to stay thin, despite eating poorly and not exercising. “I don't really gain weight so I don’t need to worry about what I eat”.
Fact: Health is not measured by how thin a person is. Some individuals may look slim on the outside but have excessive visceral fat - fat stored between our vital organs, which is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.
Social media greatly affects the world of nutrition. It may promote false knowledge that is misleading to the general public and cause confusion. When it comes to nutrition or other health-related concerns, it is always safest and for your own benefit to trust the trained experts of each respective field.