20 Apr 2012

Food rules to break

Myths, or even half-truths, get in the way of a fitter, healthier you; because misinformation on nutrition fools men into becoming confused and frustrated, even if they're achieving results. Let science enlighten you, so you know about these food fallacies.
Red meat causes cancer
The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed 'heterocyclic amines', compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. Since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.

What science really shows: There's no direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer. As for the population studies, they're far from conclusive, because they rely on broad surveys of people's eating habits and afflictions, and those numbers are crunched to find trends, not causes.

The bottom line: Meat lovers worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don't need to avoid it; rather, they should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.
Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes
The origin: Most of us eat the highly processed version of the white potato. So consumption of this root vegetable has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycaemic index.

What science really shows: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn't necessarily better than the other. Sweet potatoes have more fibre and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals.

The bottom line: The form in which you consume a potato-for instance, a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that's used to make chips-is more important than the type of potato.
High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys
The origin: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your 'glomerular filtration rate' (GFR). Think of it as the amount of blood your kidneys filter per minute. From this, scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places kidneys under greater stress.

What science really shows: Nearly two decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. "Though when you exceed protein intake kidneys have to do more work. But there's no damage," says New Delhi-based nutritionist Dr Sonia Kakar. There's no published research showing that downing large amounts of protein damages healthy kidneys.

The bottom line: Eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you're 60kg and want to be 80kg, then have 180gm of protein a day.


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