Millions of people are overweight or obese in Europe. They are joined by those who prefer to take care of their diet because they realize that they feel better. In both cases they sometimes make the same mistakes by continuing to feed some false beliefs about nutrition. So we asked five nutrition experts to tell us the ten questions they wouldn't want to hear again. Here's what they answered, reminding us that it's always a good idea to consult a professional when you want to change your diet.
1. Is pasta at night fattening?
Roberto Mele, coordinator of the Nutrition Biology area at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, answers: "Not necessarily, it depends on the doses, the quality of the product, the weekly habits and the presence of other nutrients. There are no foods that fatten or lose weight as such, there are foods with greater or lesser energy concentration. However, it is important to remember that the daily caloric intake should not exceed the needs; The diet must be sufficiently fractionated and complete with all macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids), the pasta must be of low glycemic index and, therefore, integral, since fiber modulates the absorption of nutrients. " In addition, he assures that "it is useful that it is al dente, because cooking also influences the speed of absorption of carbohydrates."
2. Is it normal to have lost or gained weight between yesterday and today?
"Yes, in fact the weight is statistically reliable at least 30 days, unless the patient is underweight. The weight variation in 24 hours is usually due to changes in the water compartment: an opera singer, at the end of a concert, may find himself up to 3 kg lighter due to profuse sweating. The physiological mechanisms make the body regulate the amount of water inside it in a way that guarantees the proper functioning of all its systems and devices, and this also happens regardless of what we eat. Fluctuations of up to 3 kg or so in a day are normal. Only if you evaluate body composition with an examination by a nutritionist, before and after following a diet for a month, can you realize what happens to the body, "says Mele.
3. Don't I lose weight because of my thyroid?
Stefano Erzegovesi, a nutritionist and psychiatrist, expert in preventive nutrition and eating disorders, answers: "The myth 'I have a slow thyroid, that's why I can't lose weight' stems from the fact – real – that people with hypothyroidism, that is, with low levels of thyroid hormone, often complain of weight gain and, conversely, People with hyperthyroidism, that is, with high thyroid hormone levels, often complain of weight loss," he notes.
According to him, these two facts are common in people who suffer from thyroid disease, but the reality is that many people without thyroid problems also have problems losing or gaining weight. "There is no need to 'kick' a healthy thyroid with more or less exotic products (often iodine-based) or, worse, with extracts or thyroid hormones if you want to lose weight. The best thing that can happen to you is that nothing happens, the worst thing that can happen to you is to get sick with a healthy thyroid, "he says.
4. I didn't lose weight today because I went to the bathroom a little?
Erzegovesi assures that the human organism "does not lose valuable energy material through feces." No proteins, carbohydrates or fats. That is why its composition is basically water, fiber, waste material and intestinal bacteria. "Taking a laxative and seeing, after going to the bathroom, that the scale goes down is a dehydration effect and not a slimming effect. People who suffer from bulimia nervosa with laxative abuse know this: they enter an obsessive spiral of laxative abuse and dehydration that poses serious health risks. One study quantified the average stool weight of a healthy human being: 128 g per day. So, bowel regularity has nothing to do with weight loss, "says this specialist.
5. I want to lose weight now, how can I do it?
Laura Rossi, nutritionist and researcher at the Council for Research and Analysis of Agricultural Economics, answers: "There are some methods that allow you to lose a lot of weight in a short time, even 5-6 kilos per week, but the weight that is lost in this way is recovered almost as quickly as it took to lose it," she says.
So, remember that the way to lose weight in a healthy way is to lose one or two kilos per month and change your lifestyle. "Not just a non-punitive caloric reduction, but regular physical activity. We recommend 150-300 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity."
6. Why can't I drink alcoholic beverages?
Rossi reveals that, in general, society does not usually associate liquid substances with hypercaloric products but this is not the case: "Each gram of fat provides 9 kcal, each gram of alcohol, 7. However, often, in order to lose weight, carbohydrates are immediately suppressed: each gram, however, provides four kcal, the same value as proteins."
Alcoholic beverages are not necessary to meet nutritional needs and provide empty calories. A glass of wine has about 140 kcal, a glass of beer about 90, a small glass of liquor at 30 degrees 120. "In addition, alcohol is a substance harmful to health," he says.
7. What are spinach good for?
Andrea Ghiselli, nutritionist and former president of the Italian Society of Food Sciences, answers: "It is true that iron is present (2.9 mg per 100 g raw), but it is absorbed in less quantity than in meat. That is precisely why spinach is, in theory, a less preferable source, but the big difference lies in the quantities and frequency of consumption. If you eat two servings of spinach a day, 400 g in total, there are usually no health risks, while it is not recommended to consume the same amount of meat. Red meat, which has the highest amount of iron, is recommended once a week. The diet, in addition to always being contextualized, must be considered in its complexity".
8. What are the foods richest in vitamin C?
Andrea Ghiselli, nutritionist and former president of the Italian Society of Food Sciences, says that one of the foods that contains more vitamin C is parsley. "Regardless of the type of food, the question 'What are the richest foods in...?' indicates the failure of all food education efforts, because we have come to 'molecularize' all foods. One worries not to give up zucchini because they are diuretics; to drink water and lemon in the morning because it purifies, something that, by the way, has no scientific confirmation, "he reflects.
In that sense, remember that vitamin C deteriorates easily because it is sensitive to exposure to oxygen, heat and light. "We have overturned the true lifestyle, which consists of eating in a varied and balanced way, choosing unprocessed and plant-based foods," he says.
9. Why do we have to give up everything good?
Anna Villarini, biologist nutritionist and professor at the Department of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Perugia, answers: "Often, those who consult a nutritionist are used to eating very tasty. But in everyday life we should rediscover those natural-tasting foods that stimulate the taste buds to work better. Soups, vegetables, whole foods, legumes, fish, fruit have a wonderful taste that we can only perceive if we do not saturate ourselves with cookies, snacks, chips, sugary drinks, sweet and savory snacks. "
A study has shown, according to this expert, that those who follow a lifestyle low in sodium, for example, prefer less salty foods after a few weeks. "It is not about giving up what tastes especially good, but about being aware that for our well-being certain foods should be a gift that we give ourselves on certain occasions," he emphasizes.
10. Why is it not possible to lose weight without making sacrifices?
Villarini believes that you often do not want to give up foods and drinks that contain a lot of fats, sugars and salts and that are consumed in abundance because they satisfy and are addictive. "Drinking a sugary drink can contain between 27 and 40 g of sugar," he says.
It is not a small amount considering that the World Health Organization recommends not exceeding 25 g of simple sugars per day added to food. A healthy diet is not monotonous, it can change at each meal and follows seasonality, which allows us to save money, eat food at its maximum nutritional potential and at its maximum flavor. The difficulty is not in giving up, but in not wanting to break with those foods that are addictive, "he concludes.
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