Banana Is Fattening, Gluten Is Bad: Myths About Foods And Weight Loss Quashed

When it comes to food and weight loss, there is a ton of information out there. To clear some confusion, an expert here quashes some myths around it

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Aug 25, 2021 14:23 IST
Banana Is Fattening, Gluten Is Bad: Myths About Foods And Weight Loss Quashed

Food is a big deal when it comes to losing weight. But there is so much information out there regarding this that it is natural for us to feel confused and lost. Sadly there is as much misinformation out there as information. Not just online, whoever we meet would have something new to add on ‘how to lose weight’. Some say to have several small meals spread throughout the day, while others condone the benefits of intermittent fasting. Some say bananas can be fattening, while as per others it is wholesome food. Some say to replace the regular salt with pink Himalayan salt, others say to cut back on gluten altogether. When faced with so much confusion, it’s better to consult experts.

To clear some air around this, Onlymyhealth spoke to Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical Dietitian & Wellness nutritionist and founder of ‘Mithaahara - Eat to live’. According to her, you shouldn’t crash diet or follow any fad diets as what suits others might not suit your body. Instead, listen to your body and decide what works for you. 

You shouldn’t focus on any one nutrient. “Life is a BALANCE and your diet should also be a balance of macro and micronutrients,” Sreemathy Venkatraman said. Do remember there is “no one size fits all and all sizes are beautiful.” Do not lose weight to emulate a celebrity or out of peer pressure. Do it for your health. Also, your day-to-day habits -- physical and mental, determine your metabolism, your body’s ability to burn calories. So try to have a healthy lifestyle. And it’s always better to consult a nutritionist before hopping on the dieting bandwagon.

Now that we’ve gone through the basics, here Sreemathy Venkatraman clears some confusion around certain foods and their impact on weight loss:

Have Warm Water With Lemon And/Or Honey First Thing In The Morning

It's a myth that lemon and honey water makes you lose fat

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“It is a myth that it reduces fat,” says Sreemathy Venkatraman. Also, Ayurveda doesn’t recommend having lemon and honey with hot water as it will have implications on your digestive health in the long run. If you replace the morning tea or coffee, it will lead to some amount of weight loss, as you’re cutting back on calories. But always have lukewarm water and not hot water.

Don't Consume Milk With Bananas. It Is Fattening

Bananas are wholesome food. It is energy-dense, rich in potassium and a great prebiotic, which is good for digestive health. Having bananas with milk is common as we combine fruits with ready-to-eat cereals with milk. Sreemathy Venkatraman recommends having banana as a healthy snack instead of reaching out for namkeen. It’s a great go-to snack and it fills you up. “Try adding berries, apples, nuts in your cereal in the morning,” the nutritionist says. 

Also Read: Is It Good To Eat A Banana Before You Go To Sleep?

Potato And White Rice Are Fattening

Many believe that rice is fattening

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Both potato and rice are rich in starch. However, rice is a staple in several states in India. Have unpolished rice. If you have white rice, balance it out with vegetables. Remember the 1:3 ratio, i.e. for every cup of rice, have 3 cups of non-starchy vegetables. Regarding potato, you can switch it with sweet potato as the latter is more nutritious. 

Replace Regular Salt With Pink Himalayan Salt

Regular salt is fine as long as you do not exceed the daily consumption of 5gm/day or a level teaspoon, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Kala namak or pink Himalayan salt is rich in minerals such as potassium that might not be suitable for certain medical conditions. Bottom line: any salt above the 5 grams/day limit is bad for health.

Gluten Is Bad

It is the latest fad among (to-be) fitness enthusiasts. However, gluten is bad only if you have gluten sensitivity, intolerance or have been diagnosed with celiac, which is a disease triggered by gluten that can damage your small intestines. If you don’t have these conditions, it’s OK to consume gluten.

Also read: Buddha's Diet: Follow This Ancient Way To Lose Weight

Cut Back On Fats And Carbs To Lose Weight

Cut back on saturated fats. Also, avoid trans fat found in fried packaged foods as they are loaded with calories. Also, cut back on simple carbohydrates such as refined flour (maida), white bread and polished rice. The right approach to lose weight is to have a balanced diet and burn more calories than you consume.

Have Egg White, Avoid The Yolk

Egg is a very healthy food. It is not just a rich source of proteins, it also contains vitamins and minerals. You can have it every day. It can be consumed every day by children, teenagers, young, healthy and active adults. 

Artificial Sweeteners Are Better Than Regular Sugar

Refined sugar is bad for health

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We all know the negative impact refined sugar has on our bodies. Artificial sweetener such as aspartame has proven to have an impact on the beneficial gut bacteria that can impact digestive health in the long run. It is better to have jaggery or palm sugar in moderation. 

Have Smaller Meals Between Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner

In a healthy eating plan, there is no one size fits all, says Sreemathy Venkatraman. You can have healthy snacks like fruits or nuts and beverages like green tea or buttermilk in between meals. Do not have smaller meals between your larger meals. 

You Cannot Be Overweight And Healthy And Being Healthy Always Means Being Thin

To lose weight, have a balanced diet

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No, being healthy doesn’t mean being thin. Being overweight is also not recommended as it can increase your risk of getting diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. At the same time, there is no ideal weight as it depends on the body composition. So, what is the right way? To lose weight, have a balanced diet, consume fewer calories than you burn and increase your physical activity.

Also read: Can Very Low Calorie Diet Aid Weight Loss? Expert Answers

So now, since many food-related confusions that we face have been addressed, you’ll be able to make better choices. And if confusion still remains, it’s better to consult a nutritionist.

(With inputs from Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical Dietitian & Wellness nutritionist and founder of ‘Mithaahara - Eat to live’)

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