Food myths busted

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes


Diabetes is related to high blood glucose levels, so the more sugar you eat the more likely you are to get diabetes, right? Wrong. Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar. In fact it's not clear what causes some types of diabetes.


What we do know is type 2 diabetes tends to be more related to lifestyle choices like food and exercise, but even type 2 diabetes is not directly related to eating too much sugar. "Where the problem really lies is when people are carrying too much weight, especially around their waist," says dietitian Michelle Tong.


So if you are working to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, focus on reducing your weight by eating less high-fat, high-kilojoule foods, and more vegetables, fruit, dairy, whole grains and lean meat. 


Bananas are high in fat


It's unclear where this popular myth came from, but it needs to be busted. Banana cake or deep fried banana fritters may be high in fat, but the plain old banana is not. In fact, a large banana has only 0.1g of fat and is packed full of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C among others. So don't shy away from the delicious banana, be confident to include it as one of your two serves of fruit each day.


You shouldn't eat after 7pm


If this common myth was true, we would have a lot of hungry Queenslanders! It takes a very organised person to ensure that dinner is done and dusted before 7pm.


Dietitian Michelle Tong says "The time of day that you eat isn't the most important thing. It's the amount and type of food you have eaten over the whole day that is important."  If you find yourself reaching for the biscuits late at night, or making midnight trips to the fridge, then this is a habit you will want to break. If you find yourself hungry late at night perhaps you are restricting yourself too much during the day. Michelle suggests adding a piece of fruit or a glass of low fat milk to your dinner and you may be less tempted to indulge in sweet snacks later on.


Carbohydrates will make you fat.


This little gem has been around for a long time, so it's high time we set this one straight. The bottom line is no single food or type of food can make you fat. Eating more kilojoules than you are burning off in your day-to-day activities is what will make you stack on the kilos. 


In fact, carbohydrates have the lowest number of kilojoules per gram compared to fat and protein. Very low carbohydrate diets have seen their share of fame and they can certainly result in short-term weight loss. However, the results are rarely sustained and a continual diet high in fat and protein can have serious long-term health implications.


Michelle says there is no secret to keeping the weight off. A healthy diet is one where you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meat and low fat dairy. Balancing this with regular physical activity will ensure your body is happy and healthy.