A Mom's Guide To Nutrition And Its Myths
I wanted to begin my article, by dispelling 3 common nutritional myths and establish the real facts. In all probability, you may have heard the fitness and health gurus telling you what is good for you.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit
Cut your salt
Reduce your sugar
Yet, we still find it difficult to make the right choices. Knowing how many calories there are in a pizza, doesn't necessarily make us change our eating habits instantly. We are constantly faced with a plethora of conflicting information.
Eat fat, don’t eat fat
Carbs are good for you, carbs are your enemy
High protein diets are better than low-fat diets
The list is endless.....and confusing. Let me explain 3 myths of nutrition to simplify the facts.
1. Does drinking hot water and lemon in the morning help with weight loss?
I wish it was that easy. If that’s all it took, some countries would not have such high rates of obesity. In South Africa, more than 60% of the population is overweight or obese, in the US, it is two-thirds of the adult population. Alarming indeed.
So what’s the deal?
While it is always beneficial to drink plenty of water (the recommended 8 glasses), it does not miraculously melt away your fat. What it does do, is fill you up, which helps you eat less. The important factor here is to eat a healthy, balanced diet as well.
2. Does eating carbohydrates in the evening make you gain weight?
Eating too much of anything can add calories, even if it is healthy. Eating excessively in the evening leaves one feeling full, making it harder to sleep. Personally, I would crumble if I couldn't eat bread and rice and all things nice!
So what's the deal?
You see, it’s more often the TYPE OF CARB that we need to consider. It is best to choose whole grains and carbs that are unrefined, and have a little alteration of blood sugar levels. While it is true that we are less active in the evenings and burn less energy, it’s the quantity that makes the difference. Keep an eye on your TOTAL calorie intake during the day, and you should be fine. Let our Prophet (SAW's) wisdom be your guide.
"One third for food, one-third for water, and one-third for air."
3. Does eating fats make you fat?
Not necessarily. The key factor in maintaining weight is the quantity of calories consumed over the course of the day. However, it is correct that fat provides more than twice as many calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein. You can consume high levels of calories very quickly by eating high-fat foods.
So what's the deal?
Don’t cut out fat totally! We should get 30% of our daily calorie intake from fat. It is critical that you get the RIGHT TYPE OF FATS. Your omega 3 fats! Increase your consumption of:
Olive oil (as unheated as possible)
Fatty fish (like sardines, pilchards, salmon, tuna)
You might find yourself losing some weight, and your heart will looooove you for it! In conclusion, I'd like to leave you with a few Quranic ayas and Prophetic wisdom on the bounties of Allah's (SWT) sustenance about:
“And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date palms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen...” (Quran 6:141)
“In cattle too you have a worthy lesson. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, between the undigested food and blood: pure milk, a pleasant beverage for those who drink it.” (Quran l6:66)
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) mentioned that milk wipes away heat from the heart just as the finger wipes away sweat from the brow. It strengthens the back, improved the brain, renews vision and drives away forgetfulness
Proteins and Carbohydrates
“It is He who subdued the seas, from which you eat fresh fish.” (Quran 16:l4)
“…and from it (the earth) we produced grain for their sustenance.” (Quran 36:33)
I hope my post helped a few mommies distinguish the myth from the fact in their nutrition. Ma-Assalaamah!
AUTHOR NAAZNEEN - South African, wife, and soon to be mom. My degree is in dietetics but I also include the Islamic benefit of foods mentioned in the Quran when I recommend diets to my patients. There are a number of words of advice and nutritional habits of the Prophet (SAW) that have substantial support in recent scientific literature. Even as I step into the corporate world, I still maintain my profession and beliefs that the Quran and the Sunnah would hold me true to my service towards others. It’s what helps me survive in the so-called rat race.