Banishing the diet Myths

In the course of daily life we are probably bombarded with more advice about diet and nutrition than any other subject. However, much of this information is selective and does not necessarily apply to everyone. You can be confident that our experts have in-depth knowledge of nutrition and will provide focused advice on such topics as whether fruit juices really are good for you, or if vegetable fats are always better for you than animal fats.

A slight additional requirement is often explained by the fact that "only" 20 per cent of muscle is comprised of protein. With a muscle gain of five kilograms per year, the actual body substance only therefore increases by one kilogram. Apparently this additional requirement can easily be covered through food. However, in this calculation one important aspect is unfortunately overlooked, which is that athletes generally train intensively three times a week to build up muscle. However, an ideal conversion of the training into muscle can only be achieved if the body is then provided with high-quality nutrients. A clear link between protein uptake and muscle growth is also confirmed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In addition consuming high quality protein stimulates the release of beneficial hormones, stimulates muscle protein synthesis, raises the 'thermic effect' of the meal (the amount of calories used to digest and utilise it) as well as increasing satiety – helping to reduce snacking on junk foods.

This generalisation cannot be made across the board. Fats with a higher proportion of omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids, as contained in oily fish, flaxseed oils and olive oil are recommended. However, oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as safflower oil, sunflower oil and corn oil should be avoided.

Damaged fats like trans fats found in processed foods should also be avoided as these are fats the body has trouble processing and that can interfere with the metabolic processes in the body helping to cause a number of health issues.

The German Nutrition Association (DGE) has classed a protein intake of 2.0 g/kg body weight per day as safe for healthy people. A moderately higher protein level can even be recommended for diabetics without kidney problems. When combined with an increase in high-quality fats along with a reduction of carbohydrates, the metabolic situation often improves.

Protein-rich products have different levels of purines which, when broken down, produce uric acid in the body. This in turn promotes gout. Milk is a low-purine food and protein shakes are actually entirely purine-free. They are therefore excellent for ensuring the protein requirement with a minimal amount of purines.

An adequate protein supply becomes increasingly important as you get older. Protein is largely responsible for vitality, cell structure and maintenance of bones, ligaments and joints as well as fortifying the immune system. Any deprivation is detrimental to general physical and mental fitness.

As you get older, there is a decrease in the uptake of all nutrients by the body, particularly protein. This is due to reduced enzyme and gastric acid production.

On the contrary, protein shakes are low in fat and calories, so that they reduce the risk of excessive calorie consumption. In terms of the ratio of calories to high-quality protein, shakes come out top!

False. Overloading with animal products can disturb the acid-base balance in the body. If vegetable protein from nuts and pulses as well as vegetables and fruit are on the menu daily, the acid-base balance also remains stable. Due to their high mineral content, protein shakes can be classed as neutral and may even strengthen the bones.

Not always! Unfortunately fat free sweets such as jelly sweets, for example, contain about 70 per cent pure sugar. A 300 gram bag therefore contains a whopping 840 calories in the form of 210 grams of sugar. This energy can either be burnt within 90 minutes of exercise or the body will convert it into fat. Unfortunately the adage "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips" is all too apt when it comes to most nibbles. High-quality protein bars are better and can be enjoyed without guilt.

Half true. Eggs contain cholesterol and some forms of cholesterol are associated with cardiovascular disease. However dietary cholesterol intake, the cholesterol you eat, has very little impact upon the cholesterol profile in the body — most cholesterol in your body is made by the body as it plays a vital role for example protecting cell membranes and nerves, and for assisting the immune system and hormone production. The balance of the different types of cholesterol the body produces is the real issue. 'Good cholesterol' vs 'bad cholesterol' levels are positively effected by good diet (cutting down on sugar intake for example), exercise and healthy lifestyles (reduced alcohol intake, stopping smoking). In fact according to more recent studies, chicken eggs even have a positive effect on the cholesterol level. 

False. One glass of orange juice at breakfast and after exercise are an easy way to increase fruit intake. They must, however, be enjoyed in moderation and, with anyone overweight, these high-calorie drinks often cause a balanced diet to get out of hand. The recommendation is "Don't drink calories".

False. Fresh fruit is of course ideal for providing the body with essential vitamins. If it's not fresh, however, it doesn't automatically mean that it's not good. Frozen fruit and vegetables are picked at their optimal ripening time when the vitamin content is highest. Shortly after harvesting, they are shock-frozen and packed in light-proof airtight packs. In this way, vitamins are largely retained. With canned food, the loss is higher but these vegetables and fruit also help to make the diet healthier.

False. Women have lower testosterone levels in their bodies than men. Training using machines and having a protein-rich diet instead tend to tone the body and connective tissue by strengthening the muscles.

False. Nuts contain lots of essential fatty acids that the body needs to build cells. Valuable fats also have a positive effect on lipid levels, thus protecting blood vessels from calcification. Nuts also provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, for example vitamin E and iron. One small handful daily, for example sprinkled over salad, will benefit health.

False. Unfortunately water hardly contains any minerals. Sports drinks are ideal for returning to the body what it loses through sweat in training; they contain calcium, potassium and magnesium and thus prevent headaches or cramp as a result of dehydration.

False. In our stressful everyday lives, it is often difficult to keep to a balanced diet. Here, sports supplements can be a useful addition to meals. Of course they is no substitute for food, but they can help in optimising your diet.