Reality: There’s no scientific evidence that gluten (a type of protein found in some, but not all, grains) is fattening. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that people eating 3-5 serves of grain foods, mainly wholegrain (e.g. 1 slice wholegrain bread or ½ cup brown rice) are actually more likely to have a smaller waistline and less likely to be overweight than people who eat less.
While coeliac disease is a serious auto-immune disease, which requires an individual to completely eliminate gluten from their diet, self-diagnosis, on the other hand, can be dangerous since it means making unnecessary changes to the diet.
SOME SUGARS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS
Most “sugar-free” diets advocate eliminating sucrose (the most common form of ‘added’ sugar to processed food and drinks), however many of us are being fooled into thinking we are “quitting sugar” when in fact we are eating products laced with other sweet alternatives (e.g. rice malt syrup), which technically is only free of fructose, yet is still a refined sugar that provides more calories, contributes to tooth decay and causes a much higher spike in blood-glucose levels.
Reality: Some sugars (e.g. honey, coconut sugar) may be “less bad” than regular sugar, but definitely not something you should eat in large amounts.
HEALTHY EATING IS EXPENSIVE
It’s easy to blame poor diets on the cost of healthy food, however new research shows Australian households spend the majority (58%) of their food budget on discretionary or ‘junk’ foods and drinks, including takeaways (14%) and sugar-sweetened beverages (4%).
According to Professor Amanda Lee, who led the research for the Sax Institute, healthy diets are more affordable than current (unhealthy) diets — costing households 15 per cent less. “Less than four per cent of Australians eat adequate quantities of healthy foods, yet more than 35 per cent of energy (kilojoule) intake comes from discretionary foods and drinks, which provide little nutrition — and this is hurting our health and our hip pocket,” she says.
Reality: Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Rather than resort to a “two-for-one” meal deals or discounted soft drinks and biscuits, plan ahead and meal prep carefully and your weekly shop will stretch further, while your overall food bills (and waistline) won’t.
To really help save costs, swap legumes for meat products; buy less-expensive produce such as apples, oranges, carrots, and spinach; and purchase healthy whole grains like rolled oats, rather than expensive muesli.