Castle Personal Training

Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.

Blog: 12-12-12 Big food myths

Hi guys,

As a Personal Trainer who likes to do a lot of research into nutrition and exercise I read a lot of posts on various forums, articles in magazines and visit many websites to do with nutrition and exercise. I come across a lot of nonsense that seems to be an accepted truth and a LOT of claims are being made that can’t be substantiated. Most of it is told by people who have something to sell, quite a lot of it are myths perpetuated by people, including Personal Trainers, who really should know better.

I therefore thought it might not be a bad idea to dispel some of the crazier ideas that I’ve heard recently both about Exercise and Nutrition. This list is by no means exhaustive but I came across these recently. I’ll probably do something like this every few months as there seems to be food related nonsense popping up regularly enough.

Food Myths

1; Carbohydrates are bad for you and make you fat. This seems to be one of the biggest ones floating about at the moment. I think this myth really started to gain popularity when the Atkins Diet did and, for some reason, it’s stuck around. I understand why it’s a popular myth but it’s a myth nonetheless so let me clear this one up;  Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) by the body and this is an important energy source. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple Carbohydrates are called such because the body can break these down very easily. Just put a sweet in your mouth and you can feel it dissolve. The saliva is breaking down the carbohydrates into glucose.

Image Tasty and good for you, so go ahead!

Complex carbohydrates are called this because the molecular structure has more connections. This means the body needs to work longer to break these down into glucose and this in turn means it releases the glucose slower into your bloodstream. (Admittedly I simplified this a bit, if you would like a scientific breakdown just go here)

There are 2 kinds of complex carbohydrate; Refined (White rice, white pasta, pizza etc) and unrefined/natural (Brown rice, brown pasta, beans, bananas etc). The refined ones break down very quickly. We’ve all experienced this after having a big Chinese take-away only for us to be hungry again a few hours later. However; Unrefined, starchy, complex carbohydrates are the MacDaddy of energy supplies for the humanbody. These badboys will keep your energy supply constant for a good few hours and will allow you to function at peak capacity for a while. There isn’t an athlete in the world who does not get enough complex carbohydrate of this kind, so why should you cut them out?

The current advice is to base approx 50% of your food intake around starchy, complex, carbohydrates. If a doctor, let alone ALL DOCTORS in Britain, tell(s) you to do this why would you then cut carbohydrates out of your diet? Does this seem like a good idea? Here’s what to do; Cut out the simple carbohydrates from things like biscuits, jams etc. Even cut them out from simple, non-fibrous, fruits such as melon and mango, and replace them with apples and oranges instead. Please cut out potatoes, white rice, white pasta and white bread! Cut down on carbs by approx 5%, if you want to, but don’t cut out carbs all together, it’s a really bad idea. If you want to have enough energy to function throughout the day and exercise properly, carbs are your friend!

2; The Acai berry will help you lose weight! I really hate to say it but, No it doesn’t! The idea of a magic berry helping you lose weight is a myth. I would go so far as to say that ANY product that states that it’s based around Acai is a product you should not waste your money on. “But there are loads of blogs that say they do”, I hear you ask. Yes, and most of them are false blogs set up by the people who sell Acaiberry products.

ImageDon’t they look pretty?

The false blog is something you come across a lot. You can usually spot them though, if it’s a blog with only 1 post or only ever mentions 1 product (or magical ingredient) it’s usually false. Unfortunately these things are often picked up on by websites like “Yahoo” and various tabloids who then report it as news. There is NO study that proofs the Acai berry works, there is no reason to believe it does and therefore you should spend your money on something else. P.S. The same goes for Aloe Vera supplements. Though in the case of Aloe Vera, it does give you nice skin as it heals wounds etc. All other Aloe Vera claims are non-sense as well. In other words, don’t believe the “livingforever” salesman when he comes knocking in the gym.

3; What about Alkaline water, I’m told this is great for you? This is a doozy of a myth. I only bring this up because I heard about this for the first time this week. I am a member of a Health and Fitness Professionals group on Linkedin and someone was peddling the idea there that “alkaline water” is proven to benefit your health. Just to be clear; No it’s not. This is another case of very good marketing.

Image Look at how blue and healthy it is!

There is a company called “Enagic” that sells “Kangen water” and makes some outrageous claims. They claim that “The body is too acidic, toxins and acid wastes are caused by consuming the wrong food, drinks and pollution. By ingesting alkaline rich water, these harmful elements are flushed out, leading to a healthier body.”

I’ll let you into a little secret; these “harmful elements”, which are nothing but by-products of a normal life, are flushed out by normal water and normal, proper, hydration. Really, your body knows how to take care of itself. It has a very limited PH range that it sticks between, if you take in loads of Alkaline based foods or drinks it will produce more acid to ensure it stays in that range. If you take in loads of acidic foods and drinks it neutralises that. It’s an amazing system really.

They also claim to be “endorsed” by the Ministry of Health in Japan. Again, they are not.  They have a certificate on their website by the Japanese MoH. It states that Enagic is a licensed manufacturer of Medical products. In other words; They can make medical products if they want to. Nowhere does it state that Kangen water is a medical product in the same way that, say, Aspirin is.

Those are the 3 for this time. I will start on the exercise myths shortly as there are plenty to go through. Who believes, for instance, that the best way to burn fat is by using a cross trainer? Well, this Yahoo! “How to” Personal Trainer seems to think so. I will explain why you would be wasting your time and money by visiting this guy and many other Personal Trainers who really should know better.

Your friend,


Picture of the breadroll by Grant Cochrane, whose work can be found on The others came off fake blogs so won’t credit them.

2 comments on “Blog: 12-12-12 Big food myths

  1. Pingback: Blog 13-12-12: Big Exercise Myths « Castle Personal Training

  2. Pingback: Blog 29-01-13; Get it frozen and get it tinned! « Castle Personal Training

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