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Mattea’s 10 Nutrition Myths BUSTED

Hey there and welcome back :-)

I’m currently in the Sunshine Coast, actually enjoying the sun post Adelaide winter blues. I’m currently sipping some wine in my apartment room. I love writing and its one thing I didn't want to stop while I was away.

So lets go, today I’ve got 10 Nutrition Myths that I'm BUSTING!!

1. Potatoes are unhealthy - BUSTED

Potatoes are actually healthy. The provide us with energy along with potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. They have received a bad wrap because when someone says potato, people think of fries or crisps.

I’m talking about potatoes cooked at home in the oven with some beautiful olive oil or steamed or mashed with some milk/marg/butter/salt/pepper. Potatoes cooked like this as part of a healthy balanced dinner are actually great to include.

2. I need to quit all sugar - BUSTED

Natural sugar found in foods like fruit and yoghurt are essential as they contain added benefits like protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and probiotics. This sugar is ok to include daily. For example we need two serves of fruit daily and yoghurt is an amazing snack to have throughout the day, at breakfast or even after dinner.

Refined sugar in things like soft drink and lollies is different. Refined sugar doesn’t really provide us with much nutrition other than energy (glucose and calories). It is however yummy and important for enjoyment in small amounts. I love a good choccie biscuit, chocolate and lollies in my life. Its definitely something ill never give up. This sugar is ok to include in moderation.

3. Fasting is good for me - BUSTED

Evidence for intermittent fasting is mixed. One trial found a high dropout rate of people following the diet. There is a risk of indulging in unhealthy eating habits on non fasting days. There is also a risk of overeating following fasting which is what ive witnessed in clients who have tried the diet. Fasting is simply just another fad weight loss diet that promotes calorie restriction. What I’ve seen in my clinics is that people who fast tend to binge later in the day if they have skipped breakfast. When you are deprived of food, your appetite hormones and hunger centre goes crazy so at 4pm they are searching for the snack drawer.

4. Eating at night is bad for me - BUSTED

Controversial and mixed evidence here. In my opinion though, it all depends on what you’re eating, what you have eaten during the day and whether what you’re eating at night forms part of your daily requirements of food groups. Some emerging research suggests that eating certain foods before bed may actually be beneficial. A snack at night containing protein, carbohydrate, magnesium and melatonin has been shown to improve sleep. Examples include banana, protein smoothie, oats, fruit, nuts and seeds or yoghurt.

5. Low calorie diets are the best option for weight loss- BUSTED

Low calorie diets will result in quick but short term weight loss. They are not sustainable as you will feel very hungry and they also lead to metabolic adaptations (slowed metabolism over time) and alterations to hunger hormones.

Studies show that long term low calorie dieters rarely succeed in keeping weight off (reach out to me if you need some help with alternatives to low calorie diets).

6. I need to eat lots of protein- BUSTED!

Protein is important but we don’t need excessive amounts. 99% of Australians eat enough protein. The recommended amount of protein required per day for the average Australian female is 46g per day. For men it’s 64g per day. This amount varies depending on the individual circumstance. Eg more for an athlete.

If we focus too much on protein we can miss out on other essential macro and micronutrients. Supplements such as protein bars are often very high in saturated fat and highly processed. This is often not made clear on the packaging.

It is best to stick to natural sources of protein such as tofu, legumes, nuts, eggs, sustainable fish, lean sustainable chicken, meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese.

Eating too much red meat and processed meat to obtain your protein can lead to increased bowel cancer risk.

7. Low fat is better - BUSTED

Some low fat products can have added sugar and salt. The quality of fat in your diet is what matters. Saturated fats found in meats, cream, cakes, biscuits are the ones to eat in moderation. Un saturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish are the ones our bodies need.

It all depends on the product and what the rest of your diet includes. The safest road to take is making sure your diet contains unsatuared fats and minimal saturated fats. A Dietitian can help with assessing this for you.

8. I should avoid breakfast- BUSTED

I’ve been working as a dietitian for eight years now. What I’ve seen is that 99% of clients coming to see me skip breakfast. What I’ve noticed is that it’s causing them to binge eat later in the day. They reach for the sweets at around 3pm. My theory is that their body knows they have missed a meal and is craving the energy it has been denied. This causes us to feel hungry and get cravings so we reach for easy convenient foods/snacks to replace that meal we have missed. Does this sound familiar? There is evidence suggesting that eating breakfast and consuming more calories earlier in the day benefits health by reducing inflammation. Eating breakfast has also been shown to help with making better food choices throughout the day. It helps reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.

9. You have to be skinny to be healthy - BUSTED

Reducing your disease risk does not mean you have to be skinny. You can reduce your risk of disease at the weight you are now. Take your focus off the number and focus on the habits. What’s most important is consuming a nutritious diet, maintaining an active lifestyle, working on your mindset and learning to be kind to yourself and love yourself more.

10. Carbs make you gain weight - BUSTED

Quality of the carbohydrates you eat is most important. Wholegrain carbohydrates like wholegrain bread, pasta and brown rice are high in fibre and full of other essential vitamins and minerals. Eating high-fibre foods will help to keep you feeling full, which means you are less likely to overeat. (Have a read of my last blog about carbohydrates if you haven’t already)

I hope this has been helpful for you. Reach out to me if you have any further questions or are interested in taking a closer look at your own diet to make some changes.

Have an amazing Wednesday!


Mattea Palombo (APD, MPH)


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