food

8 seemingly "healthy" things this dietitian would like you to quit doing.

Some glam superfoods. (Image via iStock.)

We’re constantly bombarded by countless nutrition messages on staying healthy and lean; however many are so wacky that they drive dietitians like me up the flaming wall. Here are just a few you need to be wary of…

1. Going “free”.

For those people with a genuine food intolerance or an allergy, excluding gluten, dairy, wheat, etc, from your diet is a good thing.

Related: Sorry everyone, turns out the Paleo diet we’ve all been following is, well, flawed. 

For everyone else who claims they reap health benefits of going [insert food group here]-free, simply eat less junk food, eat a balanced diet, and I promise you’ll notice how well you feel pretty quickly. If you really want to free your diet from something harmful, free it from pseudo-science peddled by so-called experts.

2. Clean eating

I hate this term! Who knowingly eats food that is unclean or unsafe for human consumption? Do you? Didn’t think so. Even chocolate-coated donuts cannot be called “unclean food”. Want to reap the benefits of eating a balanced and minimally processed diet? Great. Just don’t coin it “clean” and imply that anything else is dirty.

3. Food Shaming.

Want to eat that slice of cheesecake at your local cafe? Go for it. Just make it a “sometimes food”. And if someone gives you flak for it, put them in their place.

Related: Diets don’t work: 3 reasons why and what to do instead.

Shaming someone for his or her food choices is appalling. Tell them to keep their questionable opinions to themselves.

4. Food is Toxic.

If you drank Chinese baby formula with melamine added to it in 2008 then yep, it was toxic. But it’s ludicrous to believe that eating bread or the humble spud will harm a child, cause autism, organ damage or goodness only know what else. Food is food. Some foods are more nutritious than others. And some foods should only be enjoyed occasionally. Let’s put this toxic debate to bed. (Post continues after gallery)

5. Superfoods

No single food is going to give you all the nutrients you need to sustain you.

RELATED: “The annoying thing that happened when my husband and I decided to be diet buddies.”

Not even kale or goji berries. Eating a wide variety of foods from all the different food groups will maximise your chance of meeting your daily nutritional requirements. It mightn’t be sexy advice, but it sure is super.

Some glam superfoods. (Image via iStock.)
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6. Nutrient blaming.

Not gluten, fat, or even sugar can be solely blamed for our collectively expanding waistlines. Sugar, fat and gluten-containing foods all have calories. Simply speaking, if you consume too many calories you will gain weight. It’s that simple.

Related: It’s time to stop pretending you’re gluten intolerant now.

7. Detox diets.

Our bodies are well equipped to deal with so-called toxins. Our liver, lungs and lymphatic system help to remove potentially harmful chemicals efficiently and successfully. Plus, our bowels are proficient at clearing waste. The notion that we can "detox", “cleanse” or “purify” our bodies with potions and herbal supplements is gobbledygook, and a waste of money too.

Green juice cleanse = gobbledygook

8. Celebrities dispensing nutrition advice.

Celebrities eat. However, that doesn't make them an authority on nutrition. Would you consult your mechanic for legal advice? Unlikely. Then why take nutrition advice from a movie star or other celebrity? The mind boggles.

RELATED: “I wasn’t honestly saying it’s my idea of diet, you morons”: Chrissy Teigen defends her Doritos comments.

As a dietitian, I long for the day when the only diet trend will be healthy eating. That means following a wholesome, balanced diet, that incorporates foods from all the five food groups and, yes, even the occasional chocolate-coated donut. Here’s hoping.

Joel Feren is a Consultant Dietitican at Hearty Nutrition in Victoria.

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