Digest carefully: food myths debunked

The free events during Nourish Ireland Week should make people think about how they consume food

Veg training: babies and toddlers are cautious about new foods

Veg training: babies and toddlers are cautious about new foods


As part of Nourish Ireland Week, which starts today, free events aimed at improving our understanding of the food we eat are being held in Cork and Dublin. To get you started, here are seven nutritional myths debunked.

Children hate vegetables: Babies and toddlers are cautious about new foods. It takes up to 10-15 trials for most to feel comfortable, so always put something a child likes on their plate at meal time and introduce small bites of new food slowly.

Babies shouldn’t be given meat too early: Babies are born with a store of iron that lasts until they are about six months old. After that they need to top up their stores through diet to prevent them from becoming anaemic. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron and it can be pureed with vegetables to make it easier to eat. Other iron-rich foods are eggs, beans and dark green vegetables, and cereals with added iron.

Diabetes means no sugary foods: Diabetics can eat sweets in moderation like everyone else – they just need to be careful about the quality and quantity of carbohydrates, including sugar, that they eat.

You can self-diagnose coeliac disease: You can’t, so don’t start a gluten-free diet without getting checked. Knowing whether your problem is coeliac disease or wheat intolerance – or something else entirely – determines the treatment you need. A strict gluten-free diet is required for those with coeliac disease to prevent long-term health issues such as anaemia, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.

Muscle gain is all about protein: The most important factor for muscle gain is not excessive protein, but enough overall calories and protein throughout the day. Research shows that during strength training, having enough calories is more important than increased protein in obtaining gains in lean body mass. If you don’t eat enough calories, your body uses your protein for energy instead of muscle-building.

Someone with an eating disorder is always very underweight: You can’t tell just by looking at someone whether or not they have an eating disorder. A person with an eating disorder may be underweight, within a normal weight range or overweight.

Older people must maintain the eating habits of their younger selves: One of the biggest fallacies of good health is that nutritional needs don’t change with age. Just as children and teens have different dietary requirements to adults, so do the elderly differ in their needs from younger people. Vitamin and mineral requirements can differ due to age but also with any chronic diseases that develop with age. Older people also need more protein.

Nourish Ireland Week public events take place in the Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, today and in the Silver Springs Moran Hotel in Cork on Thursday. Tickets via eventbrite.com. You will need to bring a printed ticket

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