1. Coconut oil – not all coconuts are equalThere is a mounting revival for this oil which was once shelved away because of its high content of saturated fat. Now back on supermarket shelves as drinks, cooking oil and even beauty products - there have been loud claims about its benefits such as supporting weight loss, preventing Alzheimer’s disease and reversing ageing.
The latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology do not favour this tropical oil as it has the potential to clog arteries. Though its claims seem to be promising, Kirstin Kirkpatrick, manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, believes that more research must be done before it can be called a superfood.
“Just because we think there are some health benefits doesn’t mean you can use a whole jar of coconut oil to cook,” she says.
“Coconut oil is not a ‘superfood’,” says Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist and director at the National Jewish Health in Colorado. “Coconut meat by itself is probably not a bad thing to eat, but it’s when you start extracting the oil out of a plant — that’s when you get into trouble. I’m not entirely sure why it’s caught on the way it has.”
2. Bone broth – the medicinal soul food?Remember when you had a cold and grandma spent the entire day simmering meaty bones to concoct that healing broth? Today, it is promoted as the tonic for health and good skin.
However, scientists see this magical ability to heal or restore collagen as overblown. William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota, is doubtful that the collagen in the bones and joints that go into bone broth will heal your system.
A 2013 study suggested that meat bones may contain heavy metals and a bone broth may carry a risk of lead contamination.
Though bone broths seem to be trending as an immunity booster, digestive aid and a wound healer or even as an aid to detox the liver, ”it is just a cross between a stock or broth” with no substantive research evidence, according to Linda Antinoro, a dietitian at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
3. Setting express weight-loss goals – skip itWhen it comes to losing weight, we are often gullible to believe what our coach says – that you can shed 20 kilos quickly in a few months.
“Setting a goal of losing like 30 or 50 pounds isn’t recommended,” says Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University.
People get discouraged when they do not see results. Weight loss is a long, steady process, she says, and it may help if we start with smaller and more reachable goals like taking a daily 15-minute walk and being mindful of our food intake.
According to Politi, TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” which have a large team of trainers, nutritionists and chefs working behind the scenes, can mislead the ordinary person into thinking that losing weight within a short time is easily attainable.
“It really doesn’t really help regular people who have jobs and can’t dedicate themselves completely to weight control,” she says. MIMS
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