Careful nutrition choices are key to improving your client’s health and fitness – but uninformed decisions might stop them getting the results they want. Nutritional advice is given so readily these days that it can be quite difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
But by not knowing the truth, your clients could be depriving their bodies of vital nutrients needed for muscle recovery and growth. We’ve uncovered the five biggest food myths within the world of health and fitness.
Eggs are bad for your heart
The egg is a staple part of any balanced diet. It is packed with lean protein and a whole host of other essential nutrients. However, due to their cholesterol content, there is a common misconception that eggs, in particular yolks, are bad for the heart.
In actual fact, an egg yolk contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and many of the B vitamins which are proven to prevent heart disease and enhance muscle contraction. It is also one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D and L-arginine, an amino acid which helps with the release of growth hormones.
So although egg yolks contain high levels of cholesterol, eggs provide tangible health benefits when consumed in moderation, and to say they are bad for the heart is clearly wide of the mark.
Carbohydrates make you fat
The C word. We know. Carbohydrates seem to be one of the hottest weight-loss topics around, with more people turning to low-carb diets in a bid to improve their general health. But cutting carbs almost completely for their diet could be detrimental to your clients’ day-to-day health on a number of levels.
Firstly, there are plenty of ‘good-carb’ foods out there like wholegrain bread, pasta, beans, fruits and skin-on vegetables. These contain calcium, iron and dietary fibre, the latter of which is linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
Secondly, in the absence of carbohydrates as a primary source of energy, the body ‘fuels up’ using protein and fat, leaving itself low on glucose. This raises the amount of cholesterol in the blood, therefore increasing the risk of heart disease.
Calories eaten at night are worse than those eaten in the day
We’ve all heard this one bandied about – ‘bigger meals during the day, lighter meals at night’. Nutrition pioneer Adele Davis even once said ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.’
This perception has waned over the years, though. Take our good friend carbohydrates for example – these trigger the release of the chemical serotonin, which makes us feel content and encourages sleep. It makes more sense to consume these in large quantities at night, rather than during the day when your body is in an adrenaline-fuelled, energy producing state.
As Dr John Foreyt of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston puts it: ‘Calories are calories are calories, and it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters are the total calories you take in.’ The bottom line seems to be that weight loss or gain is down to how many calories you consume versus how many you burn off and the type of nutrients your body is getting – not the time of day you consume them.
Coconut oil is bad for you
The subject of coconut oil’s health benefits is a fiercely debated one. Due to its high saturated fat content, and because of the alleged links between saturated fat and heart disease, coconut oil has been unfairly demonised over the years. However, recent research has shown that saturated fat intake is not directly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
What’s more, coconut oil contains a unique composition of fatty acids which can be turned into ketone bodies when they reach the liver. These ketone bodies are then used to provide instant energy to brain cells, which comes in handy when you can’t get enough energy from carbohydrate sources.
If that wasn’t enough to dispel the myth, coconut oil is also rich in Lauric Acid, which can kill microbes like bacteria, fungi and viruses. In this respect, it is ideal for fighting various infections.
Juice cleanse diets are good for you
When it comes to removing potentially harmful toxins from the body, juice cleanse diets are often the first point of call for many. But what a lot of people may not realise is that the liver is perfectly capable of detoxing the body itself, without depriving the body of vital nutrients.
Because juice cleanse diets normally only consist of around 1,000 calories a day, the body begins using glycogen as an energy source. Eventually, once the glycogen runs out, the body uses energy sources such as triglycerides from fat cells and proteins in muscles. So although your clients may lose fat, by sticking to this diet they also stand to lose muscle, which is likely not their aim.
It’s not only energy depletion to worry about when it comes to juice cleanse diets. They are also linked to depression, dry skin and slower metabolism.
Giving your clients the facts about nutrition should help them on their way to getting fit and trim. However, you are always at risk of someone making a claim against you for illnesses, allergies or other sensitivities. Provided you have a certified nutrition qualification as part of your personal training course, you’re covered by our range of insurance policies if a client suffers illness or discomfort following your nutritional advice.
Insure4Sport offers Professional Indemnity Insurance policies to protect you from legal action and you can create a tailored policy to only pay for the cover you need. Choose from a range of options such as: Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, Personal Accident, Loss of Earnings, and plenty more.
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