10,000 steps and 12 other health myths you should ignore

It’s not an exact science, clearly.  A 2017 study by McMaster University in Canada found that in terms of life expectancy, there is no extra benefit to be gained from increasing fruit and vegetable consumption from four to five a day.

The lead researcher on that study, Victoria Miller, commented: ‘‘Our findings suggest an approach that is likely to be more affordable in lower and middle-income countries – that three to four servings of fruit, vegetables and legumes per day show a similar benefit against reducing the risk of death to ‘five-a-day’ guidance.’”

2. You should remove sugar entirely from your diet 

If you’ve ever found yourself virtuously opting to put the sugar-free yoghurt in your shopping basket out of the belief all sugar is evil then busting this myth might bring some joy back into your life. 

“Not all sugar is bad sugar,” says Hussain Abdeh, Clinical Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct. “Cutting down on added sugar is the key to health, which can reduce belly fat and the risk of certain serious conditions, such as heart disease. 

“Sugar is naturally occurring in many healthy foods, including fruit, natural yoghurt, and milk. Natural sugar contains vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that can help to stave off the unhealthy effects of added sugar.”

Dr Vishal Shah, Medical Director at Thriva, adds: “Sugar is a form of carbohydrate which is the main fuel source for the brain. However, it’s generally a good idea to avoid processed and refined sugars.”

3. Gluten is bad for you

Gluten-free options might be offered on every menu now, but is gluten actually an enemy for all?

It’s clear that many people with food intolerances, and especially those with coeliac disease, benefit from following a gluten-free diet. However non-coeliac-related intolerances have surged in recent years. 

Sam-Yorke says the idea that gluten is inherently bad is a myth. “Unless you suffer from coeliac disease, or have been diagnosed as being sensitive to gluten by a doctor, then gluten is not bad for you. Gluten is a wheat-based protein, a key part of a healthy diet, and provides you with soluble fibre, protein and nutrients.”

Part of the perception around gluten is thought to be linked to industrially processed bread with additives. 

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