From going on an unholy binge to crash-dieting, how naughty or nice have you been when it comes to your diet? Celebrity nutritionist Suman Agarwal helped us decode the most common dietary mistakes and decide just how bad these bad eating habits are.
Known offenders are usually also the ones who give in to late night munchies. Fun fact: 50% of all calories should be consumed by lunchtime, the absence of which leads to erratic eating patterns later in the day.
How much trouble am I in? A considerable bit. Simply put, breakfast is the MVP of all meals and starting the day without it is the equivalent of refusing to juice your phone and then expecting it to last beyond the front doorstep.
How do I fix this? Put Google to use and find the right mix of proteins, fats and carbs for breakfast-on-the-go.
Got an item number shoot coming up that needs you to flaunt an anatomically impossible waistline? No? Sorry, then you have no good excuse to throw your muscle mass, immunity and metabolism under the bus.
How much trouble am I in? A sizeable amount in the long run. Despite the short term benefits, crash dieting is subject to diminishing returns: with time, it won’t provide the same results leading to even more desperate slashes in your food intake.
How do I fix this? Find yourself a good personal trainer and take things slow. Crash dieting is usually associated with psychological motivation (maybe a wedding coming up where you absolutely have to make your ex eat his heart out?) Examine your reasons for drastically changing your appearance and then decide if your long term health is worth the sacrifice.
Know that fun little thing where you treat your own illnesses because Google said you could? The professionals frown upon that. A lot.
How much trouble am I in? Depending on how lucky or unlucky you are, your diagnosis could contain incompatible medicines and/or allergic reactions leading to longer hours and awkward explanations at the doctor’s. Do you really want to play it by ear when it comes to your health? Do you?
How do I fix this? Simple: don’t take medicine without prescriptions and definitely don’t trust anything you read on Google.
Eliminating entire food groups from your diet
Gluten-free, carb-free, protein-free: leave the fancy diets to the celebrities with an entire team of nutritionists on speed dial.
How much trouble am I in? Shouldn’t take a sirens-blaring, red light-flashing danger sign to figure that unnecessary deviations from the regulated mix of food groups in your daily diet won’t end well.
How do I fix this? If you absolutely must go off certain components of your diet, omit them from your dinner. A carb-free or low fat meal at night is still kinder to your metabolism than other alternatives.
Late night binge-eating
We get it; all-night House of Cards marathons and a never-ending supply of Pringles sound like a match made in heaven. We’ll give you till 12am to consume solid foods, post which you need to restrict yourself to light drinks and snacks.
How much trouble am I in? Not as much as they make it sound.
How do I fix this? Align your breakfast with your dinner; if you eat the first meal of the day at 9am in the morning, then make the last one at 9pm too. Most late night bingeing stems from insufficient dining, so eat a wholesome dinner to avoid having to raid the refrigerator at ungodly hours.
Eating food beyond the expiry date
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve nibbled on a chocolate eclair that was well past its ‘Best before’ date. But we aren’t proud of it. Just because it tastes fine doesn’t mean the bacteria it’s harbouring doesn’t have ulterior motives.
How much trouble am I in? The farther your food is from the expiry date, the more hot water your insides are in. Even one day past the deadline matters.
How do I fix this? Time, tide and bacterial ingrowth wait for no man, so take the time to check the expiry date before you eat.
Following the 3-second rule for food that’s fallen on the floor
This one’s a little bit of a hit and a miss. Depending on how filthy your surroundings are, contamination can occur even within three seconds. Also, do you believe everything you read on the internet, son?
How much trouble am I in? No point religiously sanitising your hands before and after each meal if you’re willing to welcome suspicious pathogens off the floor into your lunch plate.
How do I fix this? Can’t. Tempting as it may be to pick the last curly fry off the floor, dust it off and baptize it to perfectly clean again, resist. On the bright side, at least the ants will know where their next meal is coming from.