Here are the top errors that women make.
Washing tablets down with the wrong drink
Why it’s bad: Taking tablets with grapefruit juice can increase the potency of some medicines, causing unpredictable side effects. Alcohol can heighten the effects of sleeping tablets and cause stomach bleeding in people who take anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin.
Simple solution: Consultant pharmacist Nargis Ara says: “Read the instructions and take medication at the right time, with or without food. “Unless instructed otherwise, take medication with water.”
Assuming salad is always best
Why it’s bad: “That ‘healthy’ menu choice is often anything but,” says Laila Lewis, nutritional therapist. “Add-ons like sour cream, cheese, bacon and dressings like Caesar, can send calorie and fat content rocketing.” One study found only six out of 270 salads bought from the high street at cafes and fast-food chains contained less salt than a packet of crisps.
Simple solution: Ask for the dressing on the side then dip your fork in it before eating the salad. “You’ll get the taste with fewer calories. Always try and check out the best options online before you go to fast-food outlets and restaurants.”
Skipping your breakfast
Why it’s bad: One in eight adults skips breakfast, despite studies showing they won’t get the vitamins and minerals they’ve missed later. Skipping breakfast may also make you fatter, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Obesity.
Simple solution: “Keep a stock of foods such as fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, healthy cereal bars, cartons of fruit juice and slices of fruit bread to hand,” advises Laila Lewis. “These foods are quick to grab and healthy to boot.”
Always choosing low-fat or ‘lighter’ options
Why it’s bad: Many ‘low-fat’ foods contain added sugar to improve the taste, explains nutritionist Zoe Harcombe, author of Why Do You Overeat? The sugar triggers an insulin release that makes your blood sugar drop so you feel hungry.
Simple solution: You’re better off eating full-fat foods in smaller quantities as these take longer to digest, therefore helping you feel fuller for longer.
Saying no to dairy
Why it’s bad: “It’s important for women to get enough calcium in their diet in their 20s and 30s while they can lay down new calcium deposits,” says nutritionist Fiona Hunter. “After this time, if you don’t get enough calcium from your diet, the body will take it from bone deposits. This can lead to serious health problems like osteoporosis in later life.”
Simple solution: It’s crucial to eat more vegetables and canned fish with bones such as sardines — as well as dairy foods.