JUST CHEW IT: There's no scientific evidence to back claims that eating celery uses more kilojoules than it holds.
JUST CHEW IT: There's no scientific evidence to back claims that eating celery uses more kilojoules than it holds. michaeljung

Dieting fads: Fact and fiction

YOUNG people could be putting their health at risk by following dieting fads such as going dairy-free, experts have warned.

A survey by the National Osteoporosis Society in the UK found a fifth of under 25-year-olds were cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet, which can be dangerous if they do not get enough calcium from other sources.

The charity said that many young people take their dietary advice from bloggers and while some of it is sound, it is not always based on science and may not be right for everyone.

Here, nutritionist Amanda Ursell sorts fact from fiction and answers some of the most common questions about our diets.

Does grapefruit help with weight loss?

The grapefruit diet was created in the 1920s and has been praised by celebrities such as Kylie Minogue.

But scientists at Oxford University found no difference in weight between groups taking grapefruit or a placebo.

Is chocolate a health food?

Chocolate is low on the glycaemic index, which measures how quickly carbohydrates are digested and how quickly they raise the level of blood sugar.

Chocolate squeaks into the low-GI bracket because digestion of the 24g of sugar in a 50g bar is slowed down by the 15g of fat it also provides.

But it will never be the same as a bowl of strawberries, so keep it as a treat.

Which milk has the most calcium?

Full-cream, light and skim milk all contain roughly the same amount of calcium, as the bone-building mineral is found in the watery part of milk, not the fatty part.

So when fat is removed for light and skim milk, none of this vital mineral is lost.

Does eating celery use more kilojoules than it holds?

There is little scientific evidence either way for this claim. But given that a stick of celery provides just eight kilojoules, the numbers aren't worth worrying about.

If you enjoy it, eat it. If you don't, choose another vegetable you like.

Are all processed foods bad for you?

Not always. Wholemeal bread and pasta, natural yogurt, oats and frozen vegetables all undergo processing - and these foods are not considered bad for us.

In fact, some processed foods, such as red kidney beans, are better for you than before they are treated.

On the other hand, overly refined processed foods should be limited.

How much oily fish should I eat?

We should have at least two portions of fish a week, including one serving (about 140g) of oily types such as salmon and mackerel.

Oily fish is full of omega-3 essential fats, which are good for our hearts and the nervous systems of babies and children. But some oily fish contain low levels of pollutants that build up, so pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to stick to a maximum of two servings a week.

What is the best source of calcium?

Dried fruits, beans and seeds do contain calcium but milk, yogurt, almond milk and fortified oat, rice and soy milk are much better sources.

This article originally appeared in The Sun

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