This Nutrition Month, we are breaking down the top five most common myths we hear about diet.
Myth #1 – Low carbohydrate diets are essential for weight loss and blood sugar control.
Facts: Although it’s possible to lose weight and control blood glucose levels with a low carb diet, it’s also possible to do the same including carbohydrates too! Many people don’t stick with their low carb diet because it is not sustainable. It’s important to choose a way of eating that you can continue indefinitely. In addition, some low carb diets are missing out on a lot of healthy foods full of fibre and nutrients such as fruits, heart healthy whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables. Make sure to include some balance so you are healthy but happy too!
Myth #2 – Honey and maple syrup are healthy and better than white sugar because they are natural.
Facts: All added sugars including maple syrup and honey should be limited as they can increase blood glucose levels. Choose fruit for sweetness more often, as there is fibre present to slow down the rise of blood glucose levels. It’s important to note the difference between juice and fruit however, as juice will not have any fibre and cause a sharp rise in the blood sugars.
Myth #3 – Supplements will help make me healthier.
Facts: Not all supplements are created equal! Currently Health Canada recommends that people over the age of 50 years take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 International Units (IU). Otherwise, there are no recommendations from Diabetes Canada in terms of supplement use to help lower blood glucose levels. We encourage you to review your supplement choices with a pharmacist as some may not be safe necessarily and could have interactions with medications you are taking. Some supplements contain vitamins or minerals that are easily obtained from a healthy diet as well.
Myth #4 – Fruits are not healthy because they are high in carbohydrates.
Facts: Although fruits do contain carbohydrate, they are definitely a part of a healthy diet. They contain many important nutrients as well as fibre. Low glycemic index fruits and vegetables include berries, apples, pears, mangoes, oranges, and peaches.
Myth #5 – Snacks must be eaten in between meals to maintain blood glucose levels.
Facts: If you are not hungry in between meals, then it may not actually be necessary to eat a snack. Ideal meal intervals are between 4 to 6 hours. If you are going longer than that without eating, a snack may be helpful. It’s best to choose a small source of carbohydrates (<15 grams) such as a piece of fruit or whole grain slice of bread and a source of protein such as nuts, seeds, greek yogurt or cheese. If you feel you need to eat a snack to prevent a low blood sugar when you are taking insulin, then your insulin doses may need to be lowered. Speak to your diabetes team about what’s best to do in terms of snacking and insulin doses.