Common Diet Misconceptions
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Good diet is essential for good health and maintaining wellness. It also help in increasing daily activities optimally and also help in the reduction of diseases and morbidity. It is therefore very important to know what is accurate with respect to certain diet and its supplementation and not to be influenced by popular misconceptions. A scientific review of some of these is discussed.
Calcium and Bone Health
Calcium is encouraged to be consumed as it promotes bone health and reduces osteoporosis. Calcium is available both in naturally occurring food stuff as well as medications as tablets and injections for therapeutic use. Unfortunately, there is very little robust evidence present which support the concept that calcium intake can improve health of bones significantly and reduce osteoporosis.
- A Cochrane review found that trials of calcium supplementation in children had minimal effect on bone mineral density.
- A review of post-menopausal women and older men found that calcium supplements, even with concomitant vitamin D supplementation, had only small effects on fracture prevention.
- S. Preventive Services Task Force concludes that the evidence is insufficient to recommend vitamin D supplementation, with or without calcium, to prevent fractures in non-institutionalized women or men.
In addition, there is an increased risk of adverse effects like kidney stones and cardiovascular events, even in calcium dosages as low as 500 mg daily.
Calcium is also found in whole foods and dairy products. This is the best way to enrich ourselves without risks associated with supplementation.
Fat Consumption and Obesity
Fat has the highest number of calories per gram, and hence there are concerns that its consumption will lead to higher calorie intake and obesity. Guidelines on diet have therefore advised reduction in fat intake and incorporated special low fat foods.
There is evidence to suggest that high fat food consumption may bring about early satiety and consequently reduce overall food consumption. Also, the role of saturated versus unsaturated fats in vascular health and vessel blockages is not very clear. Saturated fat may not be the main culprit for mortality of cardio-metabolic diseases.
Our diet should comprise whole foods which comprise of all elements like carbohydrates and proteins including fat, rather than isolated fatty foods which are artificially processed. These fats may cause the bad effects on health associated with fat rather than all fats available naturally. It is recommended presently to consume whole foods which may contain fats (dairy products), to offset this problem.
Fibre in Diet is Good
Fibre is a non-digestible food element and is generally associated with good health. There are recommendations on daily fibre intake to maintain health.
Fibre is available naturally as part of a variety of plant foods like fruits and vegetables. These fibre diets are good for health and maintain our Gastro-intestinal systems, prevent cardiac problems and may help in prevention of some cancers and Diabetes.
Fibre is also synthesised artificially as part of processed food to be added in food to increase their fibre content. Some of these are poly dextrose, inulin, dextrins, etc.
All fibre is not the same and some of these processed fibres may cause a variety of ill health like GI disturbances and absorption issues.
It is therefore important that whole foods which have natural fibre are the best form of diet for overall good health.
Whole foods with all food constituents are the best form of foods for a healthy living. Supplements and additives to make up for a particular form of food may not be what is ideal: there are a whole set of problems which they create and will become counter-productive in the greater scheme of the ambit of good health and wellness.