10 diet mistakes to avoid in 2022

Following a healthy diet is no easy feat. Making sustainable changes can be incredibly challenging. It can often feel like you’re trying everything yet still not achieving the results you want. And at that point, it can be easy to fall into the trap of fad diet culture.

But before you embark on the latest crash diet regimen which promises total body transformation in the space of a week, see if our in-house dietitians Anna and Alex can convince you otherwise.

In this article, The Biting Truth duo share 10 mistakes they commonly see when it comes to diet and healthy eating and why you should avoid them.

1. Focusing on weight only

The emphasis placed on weight, by the media and society at large, can lead many people to believe it’s the only figure that matters when it comes to health. Whilst weight is one indicator of health, it’s not the only indicator. Rather than getting too fixated with the number on the scale, consider these 9 other ways to measure your health:

2. Having unrealistic expectations

Setting the goal to lose 5kg in a week or to remove all processed foods from your diet may be setting yourself up for failure. When it comes to your health, patience is key and setting realistic goals is vital to success.

For dietary changes to be sustainable, they need to fit in with your lifestyle. If you’re not sure what a realistic goal is, speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

3. Banning your favourite foods

You might be surprised to hear it from dietitians, but unhealthy foods can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. That’s right: all foods can fit. Nothing good ever comes from restriction, so there’s no point in telling yourself you can’t eat chocolate or pizza if you absolutely love it. Don’t take this as a green light to eat an entire block of chocolate everyday – it’s important to strike a balance. If the rest of your diet is made up of plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains and lean protein, then enjoying a couple of squares of chocolate a few times a week is perfectly healthy.

4. Cutting carbohydrates

While reducing processed carbohydrates in your diet might help you meet your health goals, this doesn’t mean you should get rid of carbs altogether. Instead, focus on the quality of carbohydrates you’re eating. Choose wholegrain carbohydrates such as oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and quinoa which are rich in antioxidants as well as fibre, a nutrient which not only helps to keep you feeling full but also contributes to more stable blood sugars and can help manage cravings throughout the day. 

5. Grazing all day long

Snacking is a healthy habit; however, you want to avoid grazing on food all day long. Although it might not seem like much – a mouthful here and there – when you tally all the little things eaten across the day it can equate to a whole lot more than you might realise. Over time, grazing can result in excessive daily energy intake and weight gain. It’s also good to give your body a break from digesting food all the time.

To avoid the habit of grazing all day long, it’s important to establish a regular mealtime routine. For most people, this will usually involve 3 main meals and 1-3 snacks per day. 

6. Emotional eating 

Do you eat when you feel bored, stressed, sad or angry? You’re not alone. There’s no denying food can make you feel good, whether it’s indulging in your favourite pasta dish or sharing a stack of fluffy pancakes with your friends over brunch. But if you frequently find yourself eating to cope with emotions you might be falling into the trap of emotional eating. It could be beneficial to check in with an Accredited Practising Dietitian who will be able to support you and help to improve your relationship with food.

7. Sipping on too many calories

When it comes to calorie counting, many of us tend to overlook what’s in our drinks. Just because you’re not chewing, doesn’t mean the calories don’t count. Sugary fruit juices, soft drinks, sweet smoothies and alcohol can contribute a decent number of calories to one’s diet. So, if you are looking to lose weight it’s something to be aware of.

8. Ditching dairy

Despite the latest research showing dairy foods play an important role in a balanced diet for our overall health, they receive a lot of negative attention in the media. It’s common for people to shy away from them because of misguided beliefs they’re harmful for our health and waistlines.

Nutritionally speaking, dairy is a healthy food we recommend including in your diet. Dairy foods provide a package of essential nutrients. Their unique composition of dairy minerals (like calcium and potassium), proteins and vitamins help support a healthy body and reduce several health risks.

Before removing dairy foods from your diet, you should seek the advice of an Accredited Practising Dietitian to ensure your diet remains nutritionally adequate.

9. Drinking too little water

This is one of the simplest diet mistakes to fix. Water is imperative for your health and staying hydrated can help to manage your appetite. Failing to drink enough water can really sabotage your healthy eating plans, so it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough. Tips for increasing water intake include:

10. Cooking with coconut oil

For a long time, coconut oil was touted as the holy grail of oils. Bloggers and celebrities raved about its health benefits. Yet, it consists almost entirely of saturated fat – the type of fat that increases levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to heart disease.

You’re far better off opting for unsaturated fats and oils, particularly extra virgin olive oil, which is also a rich source of antioxidants. Unsaturated fats have the opposite effect to saturated fat on your cholesterol levels – they actually lower bad cholesterol. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. So, say ‘goodbye’ to coconut oil and ‘hello’ to extra virgin olive oil!

Bottom line

Despite what the internet may have you believe, there are no quick fixes when it comes to your health and weight. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but in the end improving your health requires patience, dedication and perseverance. It’s about setting realistic goals which don’t revolve entirely around weight and will be sustainable in the long run.

Ready to make a change but not sure where to start? Speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian to receive tailored advice and support.

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