Not according to Dr Bruce Griffin at the UK’s University of Surrey. He put volunteers on a two-egg-a-day, low-kilojoule diet for 12 weeks and found no rise in their cholesterol levels – in fact, as people lost weight on the plan it even went down.

Description: Bigger is better for fruit and vegetables

9.    All saturated fat is bad for you

Increasingly scientists are questioning this belief, saying that perhaps there are shades of grey where fat is concerned. The classic example here is dairy products. In recent years a number of studies have found no link between dairy consumption and heart disease. In fact, milk and dairy consumption is associated with a small reduction in the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Christine Cronau, author of “The Fat Revolution” (Purple Lotus Publishing, $34.95), firmly believes that fat has been demonized. She told us, “Many of the studies designed to prove the diet-heart hypothesis have ended up proving the opposite. We need fat and cholesterol, they are the building blocks of our cells.” The real problem for health, according to Cronau is eating an excess of grains and sugar – foods that produce insulin in the body – as this can lead to weight gain and raise the risk of diabetes.

10. If you’re lactose intolerant you have to eliminate all dairy from your diet

Not necessarily. “Many dairy foods do not contain large amounts of lactose – for example, hard cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar and swish contain virtually no lactose as most of it is removed with the whey during the manufacturing process. Yoghurt is also generally well digested as it contains bacteria that ferment (or consume) the lactose,” says Glenys Zucco, a dietitian at Dairy Australia. She also points out some studies have shown that sufferers can even drink up to two cups of milk a day if they spread out consumption and have it with meals. Exactly how much lactose a person can tolerate does vary though, so try small servings of individual foods spread throughout the day and test your personal reaction.

Description: Cut 500 calories a day to lose 1lb a week

11. Fruit and vegetable are best kept in the fridge

Actually studies have shown that an uncut watermelon kept at room temperature will double its levels of the antioxidants beta-carotene and gain 20 per cent more of another antioxidant lycopene over two weeks than one kept in the fridge. Tomatoes, peaches and bananas also get more nutrition when stored at room temperature.

12. Cut 500 calories a day to lose 1lb a week

It’s been the established rule for dieters for years, but new research from the US’s National Institutes of Health has discovered the rate if far, far slower than that. “In the 1950s, it was calculated that 1lb [0.45kg] of fat contained 3500 calories [14700kJ],” says the study’s author Dr Kevin Hall. “However, the original idea made two assumptions we now know are not true; when people lose weight they don’t lose just fat, they lose lean tissue as well – and the calories stored in lean tissue are less than that in fat. And when people lose weight the number of calories they burn is not steady – it reduces over time.”

The new rule is therefore not to get hung up on numbers – simply count any loss as a step in the right direction.

Description: Approximately 35 per cent more of the milk was retained by the body

13. Water is the best hydrator

Water’s good and you certainly shouldn’t skip it, but when the weather is hot, milk has better results. That was the finding of studies by Dr Brian Timmons, from McMaster University in Canada. He compared children exercising in heat and found those given milk to drink afterwards retained more fluid during recovery than those given plain water. “Approximately 35 per cent more of the milk was retained by the body compared to water and only half of the amount of urine was produced with milk than water,” he says. Natural electrolytes like sodium in the milk were believed to be behind the boost.

Now, we know you’re not a child so Timmons points out that UK studies have found similar results in adults.


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