'I'm a nutritionist. Here are 5 diet "rules" I don't believe in.'

With so many diet fads, marketing gimmicks and information accessible with the click of a button, it can be hard to decipher what advice to follow. 

I am a qualified nutritionist with a science degree, and I believe in evidence-based nutrition. Here are five diet 'rules' I don’t believe in, backed by science.

1. A detox will remove toxins from the body.

No products will 'detox' or 'cleanse' the body. 

Our body is not holding or absorbing bad toxics otherwise we would be extremely ill. The human body has its own systems for 'detoxing'; our lungs, kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal tract do this for us. 

No foods can detox our body however a well-balanced diet can help support a healthy gut microbe for digestion, help improve sleep for recovery and support day-to-day energy balance. 

Products that claim to 'detox' the body or provide a 'cleanse' are marketing gimmicks.

2. Eating healthy has to be expensive.

You can eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a budget. 

My biggest tip for this is to plan for the week ahead. Create a meal plan for the week and build a shopping list. A well-planned list will stop you over buying and overspending. 

It is important to be aware of your product options and look at brand comparisons. Look at frozen options for some foods. Fresh and frozen fruit and veg have the same nutrition profile with frozen usually half the price. 

Always look for what is in season and chose home brand options for your basics, for example 1kg home brand oats is around 90c vs $5 for a branded pack.


Watch: Portion Control made simple. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

3. Cutting carbs are crucial for losing weight.

A low-carbohydrate diet is one of the oldest weight loss myths there is. It's not maintainable long-term and can have serious health effects.

Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred source of energy. They hold water in the body, so when we cut carbohydrates our overall 'weight' on the scales can reduce, however, this is more so due to a loss of water. 

When we reduce our carbohydrate intake, we see a drop in energy, mood, libido, concentration, and sleep causing irritability and fatigue. Every meal should contain some form of complex carbohydrate to help prevent this. 

The carbohydrates we want to consume in large amounts are our fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and seeds while keeping our simple carbohydrates to a minimum; these include pastries, confectionary, white breads and rice.

4. Low fat or fat-free is the healthier option.

Fats play an important role in the body acting as an energy source, support both brain and hormone function, the transport of vitamins and minerals and heart health. 


Like anything, we want to consume fats in moderation and prioritise unsaturated fats over saturated or transaturated fat. Our unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) can be found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

5. Eat healthy in the week to allow for a cheat meal on the weekend.

We should not be waiting for the weekend to have a 'cheat meal'. Straight away this mindset that can cause guilt and restriction.

All food should be balanced and consumed in moderation for a healthy diet. It’s ok to indulge cravings when they occur (within reason). I often see people frown on the idea of having pizza or a burger in the week, however it is acceptable on the weekend. The day of the week should not matter.

If we spend a week 'waiting' to eat our favourite meal, we are more likely to overeat, or eat it even if we don’t feel like it at the time. 

The advice I give clients is to prep and plan your weeks, including a weekend but also to listen to your body and think about the 80/20 approach for a healthier balanced relationship to both food and your body. 

If you are ever unsure what advice to follow that is right for you, speak to a qualified professional. For nutritionist approved recipes and more tips check out fitness on the Optus Sport app.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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