It seems like everywhere you go these days, everyone has their own explanation of how health conscious they are. Unfortunately, many of these people collect their information from erroneous sources on the Internet.
And of course, with so many different people using and sharing information over the World Wide Web, it’s hard to distinguish what is evidence-based, and what is a myth born of hearsay or assumption. We’ve tracked down 10 nutrition myths for you here and have provided the truth behind the misinformation.
Carbohydrates Are Bad
In recent years, the enemies of weight loss have been carbohydrates, or “carbs” for short. Many people attribute this to Insulin, the hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. It’s true that diabetics and people who overeat carbs will undoubtedly face health issues after ingesting too many of them, but that isn’t the whole truth.
The Truth About Carbs
Cutting processed carbs can be a viable way to lose weight as long as it helps, but if it makes you miserable and hungry, it isn’t the answer. This will only make you replace carbs with fat to fill the craving. There is nothing inherently harmful about carbohydrates. They fill your belly and can actually be good for you, so long as you eat them in moderation.
Fat Is Bad
It’s common to hear talk of “fat free” this and “fat free” that. Eating more fat causes you to gain fat, or that’s what most people believe anyway. Yet, sticking to a low-fat diet doesn’t always mean you’re going to lose the weight. In fact, getting rid of all the fat in your diet can be dangerous as there are some fats, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which your body needs to survive.
The Truth About Fat
Saturated fat isn’t even all that bad for your heart health either. Ultimately, it’s only trans-fats that you need to watch out for. A little bit can be ok, but a lot can clog your arteries. It all comes down to caloric intake, not fat intake. Therefore, if you eat a ton of calories daily, whether fatty or otherwise, you’ll have a harder time losing weight.
Red Meat Is Bad
These days, there are rumors that red meat causes cancer. First off, cancer isn’t a topic that can be discussed in absolutes. Many cancers are genetically linked or caused by other nutritional or environmental factors. Despite the myths, current evidence suggests that red meat can only pose a cancer risk to those with already poor diets.
The Truth About Red Meat
Like anything else, good health comes from making good lifestyle choices. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can do more to prevent cancer than almost anything else. Nevertheless, it never hurts to limit the amount of red meat you eat while also decreasing the amount of cured, smoked, or highly processed meats you ingest.
Egg Yolks Are Bad
First, it was said that eggs were good for you, then suddenly eggs were bad for you. After it was “revealed” that it was just the egg yolks that were bad for your health, people ate the egg whites only and chucked the nutritious, protein-rich yolks into the trash. And while it’s true that egg yolks are high in cholesterol, it’s also true that eating more cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have high cholesterol.
The Truth About Eggs
Indeed, a number of recent clinical trials have found no association between eggs and cardiovascular disease. This is with the exception of those people who already have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or hyperglycemia. By and large, eggs are great for you and are a fantastic source of protein, good fats, and other beneficial nutrients.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
The old adage is that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s something our parents and doctors have been telling us for years, and there is evidence that those who skip breakfast have a higher body mass index (BMI), on average, than those who indulge. This isn’t the meal’s fault, though. It’s more that those who don’t eat breakfast end up fulfilling their caloric craving with an unhealthy choice come lunchtime.
The Truth About Breakfast
The truth of the matter is that you don’t really need to eat breakfast to be healthy or even to lose weight. In fact, those with digestive motility issues may want to skip breakfast anyway, because it both helps keep high blood sugar levels in check and gives busy digestive systems a much-needed break.
Dietary Supplements Are Necessary
Many new age health gurus believe that the key to a lifetime of good health is daily intake of dietary supplements. The argument is that modern agriculture has led to the depletion of nutrients in our soil and left us with food that is less nutritious than it used to be. There are also many people who believe that daily multivitamins are the only way we can be healthy in a heavily processed world.
The Truth About Supplements
That’s not to say we can’t all benefit from additional vitamins or minerals now and again, especially those with a natural deficiency like Thalassemia. The thing is though, a lot of these vitamins can be found in certain foods we already eat. Milk is fortified with Vitamin-D, orange juice with Vitamin-C, and so on.
Bread And Gluten Are Bad For You
Bread and specifically its chief ingredient, Gluten, has been the real bogeyman for health nuts everywhere in recent years. The two arguments are that eating bread will make you fat and that gluten is bad for you. Both of these statements are patently untrue unless you’re Gluten sensitive or Gluten intolerant: in which case, don’t eat Gluten.
The Truth About Bread And Gluten
Also, like most carbs, bread is only going to make you fat if you eat too much of it. There’s also the fact that people believe whole-wheat bread is healthier than white bread, but they aren’t really all that different, with the exception of a higher fiber content in whole-wheat bread. For those with gluten or wheat allergies, avoid wheat-based bread entirely, whole or otherwise.
Salt Is Bad
Too much salt is never a good thing. It can cause high blood pressure, kidney damage, and has actually been associated with cognitive decline. Of course, all of this happens only if you consume a large amount of it, and thanks to the glut of available processed foods in the American market, you might.
The Truth About Salt
What most people don’t realize is that too little salt can have as many adverse effects upon your cardiovascular health as too much. That being said, salt reduction is very important for those with salt-sensitive hypertension. Also, laying off the processed and heavily preserved foods can do wonders in keeping your salt level at acceptable, healthy levels.
Don’t Eat Before Bed
We hear it all the time, “never eat after 8 pm.” The statement is usually followed by “you don’t burn any calories while you sleep.” This is absolutely true … for some people, but not all. In fact, some recent studies have shown that there are some people lose weight eating early and some by eating later — it all depends on the person.
The Truth About Eating Late
If we’re prone to staying up late, we tend to eat in a reflexive effort to ward off tiredness, but the only way that eating late will make you fat is if you end up reaching for the chips and cookies rather than some carrot sticks or a handful of almonds. The most important thing is to be mindful of your own metabolism.
Eat Small Meals To Boost Metabolism
While it’s true that digestion does raise metabolism, evidence has shown that if we take in an equal amount of calories overall, evenly spaced out, it makes no difference in fat loss. The real problem with this myth is that in practice, eating smaller meals makes it harder to feel satiated, which causes you to eat more in the long run.
The Truth About Eating More Often
The other problem with this methodology is that your metabolism can spike and fluctuate depending on the size of your meal. This means that even if it spikes a little over the course of a week, you probably won’t burn calories any differently than if you had three square meals. In the end, it’s the number of calories, not the frequency, which counts most.