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As much as we try to stay away from sugar because we know how bad too much is for our skin, sometimes we cave! Especially when our office is constantly filled with donuts and birthday cake. But the real problem isn’t the occasional overindulgence, it’s what we do after we indulge. Often we go on crazy strict diets or follow a diet rule that we heard from our colleagues or our mom’s best friend, without even researching if it’s actually good for our health.

The thing is, there are SOOO many diet and food myths – intermittent fasting works, snacking is good, eating fruit is bad, you know the ones – that it’s often impossible to find conclusive results as to what DOES actually work! So, to get a definitive answer on what really works, what’s healthy, and what’s just completely bullsh*t, we called in one of the world’s most highly respected nutritionists, Dr. Oz Garcia. Not only is Dr. Oz a food coach for celebs like Naomi Campbell and Gwyneth Paltrow, among his many books and TV shows, he was also voted ‘Best Nutritionist’ by New York Magazine, so we’re pretty sure he’s the guy to set us straight on the most common food myths, once and for all. Here’s what he had to say about some of the biggest and most popular food myths:

You have to eat breakfast to lose weight and you should avoid eating late at night

Verdict: MYTH
Dr. Garcia believes that “neither philosophy is true.” He tells us that many of his “clients are actually practicing intermittent fasting, which often has them skipping breakfast and not eating their first meal until the afternoon.” Dr. Garcia would, in fact, recommend Intermittent Fasting (when you limit your meal timings to a period of 6-8 hours) as it “helps to improve metabolism, assists in weight loss, improves longevity and an overall sense of well being.” When intermittent fasting, Dr. Garcia explains that his “clients may have breakfast, skip lunch, and then eat dinner a stretch of 10 to 12 hours between their next feeding (with the exception of juices or broths).” He also assures us that when intermittent fasting, “if you have a high-quality meal with mostly high fat and high protein, there does not have to be an 8 pm cut off (given that you’ve been fasting most of the day).”

You should always avoid snacking

Verdict: TRUTH
As much as we live for that 4 pm snack, here at HB HQ we’re going to have to break that habit asap, as Dr. Garcia insists that you should avoid snacking at all costs. He explained to us that snacking can actually increase your appetite and will often result in consuming too many calories throughout the course of the day. The bottom line is if you snack you’ll be more likely to “overeat or eat unnecessarily”. Dr. Garcia also told us that the popular “five meal a day” diet is a “complete myth.” Instead, he would advise that you eat “two or three meals and no snacking (especially when practicing intermittent fasting).” P.S. never fall into the trap of munching on “healthy snack bars” like Regina, as they’re often FULL of processed sugars and are usually super high in calories.

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If you’re dieting you should avoid dairy

Verdict: MYTH
Dr. Garcia says this is another myth, as “high-fat dairy can actually promote weight loss and low-fat dairy can contribute to weight gain. It’s the opposite of what you may think. When eating dairy, stick to products such as yogurts, cheeses, kefir, and ghee.” Although, Dr. Garcia does agree that you should avoid drinking milk as this is often problematic if you’re trying to lose weight.”

It’s healthier to be a vegetarian

Verdict: Debatable
Dr. Garcia explains that this myth is neither fact nor fictions as “it really depends on who you are.” Dr. Garcia was actually a vegetarian for 10 years, and he explained that he “had low energy, lower libido, and hair thinning” although some “people tend to do well.” Yet, he notes that “if you look at the longest-lived people living in Blue Zones [regions where people live longer than average], hardly any of them are vegetarians. In fact, they have a balanced diet with plenty of fish, dairy, eggs, and a variety of fruit and vegetables.” The key to a healthy regime is balance, as Dr. Garcia believes that “no extreme of any is good, being too carnivorous or following a strict vegan diet will not benefit your health.”

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If you want to lose weight you shouldn’t eat carbs

Verdict: MYTH
We can all breathe in a sigh of relief (we were never going to give up fries!). Dr. Garcia tells us that this diet myth is “ridiculous.” But he does say that “it depends on the quality of the foods that you eat.” He tells us that we should avoid “refined carbs like white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, pastries etc, which we know will contribute to weight gain”. However, he assures us that “a well-balanced meal of chicken, vegetables and a side of quinoa, rice, or sweet potato is very healthy.” (Looks like we’ll be sticking to sweet potato fries after all!). Finally, he told us that with all things, you need to cater your diet to your routine, for example, he explains a “high carbohydrate intake is not as necessary for those who live a sedentary life. Yet, you may feel better consuming more carbohydrates when exercising heavily.”

If you’re dieting you shouldn’t eat too much fruit

Verdict: MYTH
According to Dr. Garcia, “no one should ‘diet’” which is basically the best news we’ve heard since we found out Beyoncé was back on tour. Dr. Garcia cautions against dieting, mainly because “the causes of weight gain are from poor eating habits and overeating, not eating fruit.” In fact, he reassures us that “having a large serving of fresh fruit for breakfast is a perfectly healthy way to start the day.”

So, what can we take away from that?

  • Eat fruit for breakfast, it’s good for you.
  • Don’t go on a crazy diet, try to live a more balanced life.
  • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it turns out snacking isn’t the key to keeping your metabolism high, it’s actually intermittent fasting.
  • If you want to be a vegetarian, be a vegetarian, but it won’t necessarily make you feel better.
  • Yep, pasta, pastries, white bread and baked goods aren’t gonna take any pounds off – but if you’re exercising a lot, don’t feel guilty indulging now and again.
  • Dairy isn’t all bad, but try to avoid consuming too much milk.
  • Not all carbs are bad: Quinoa, rice, and sweet potato are your friends – in moderation!
  • If you’re looking to lose weight, try intermittent fasting.

Finally, everybody’s body is different and responds to different things, try to be healthy and see what works for you.