The Top 20 Biggest Nutrition MythsPosted: May 14, 2020
Scrolling through social media, reading your favorite magazine, or visiting popular websites exposes you to endless information about nutrition and health — most of which is incorrect. Even qualified health professionals, including doctors and dietitians, are to blame for spreading misinformation about nutrition to the public, adding to the confusion.
Here are 20 of the biggest myths related to nutrition, and why these antiquated beliefs need to be put to rest.
Though creating a calorie deficit by burning more energy than you take in is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss, it’s not the only thing that matters. Relying solely on calorie intake doesn’t account for the large number of variables that may prevent someone from losing weight, even when on a very low calorie diet. This concept also fails to emphasize the importance of sustainability and diet quality for weight loss.This can lead to choosing low calorie, nutrient-poor foods like rice cakes and egg whites over higher calorie, nutrient-dense foods like avocados and whole eggs, which isn’t the best for overall health.
Millie- Meeting your calorie needs (1800 to 2000 calories a day) from healthy foods that truly meet your nutrient needs is the ONLY way to lose weight. Exercise or caloric restriction does not work
Though this antiquated and incorrect theory is slowly being put to rest, many people still fear high fat foods and follow low fat diets in the hopes that cutting their fat intake will benefit their overall health.
Dietary fat is essential for optimal health. Plus, low fat diets have been linked to a greater risk of health issues, including metabolic syndrome, and may lead to an increase in insulin resistance and triglyceride levels, which are known risk factors for heart disease.
What’s more, diets that are higher in fat have been proven just as effective — or even more so — than low fat diets when it comes to encouraging weight loss.
Of course, extremes in either direction, whether it be a very low fat or very high fat diet, may harm your health, especially when diet quality is poor.
Millie- I completely disagree with what they say about this. It takes 3 balanced meals a day to meet your nutrient needs.
Eating frequent meals throughout the day is not the best way to promote weight loss. Research shows that a regular meal pattern may be best for health.
The rising interest in low calorie, low carb, sugar-free foods has led to an increase in products that contain non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). While it’s clear that a diet high in added sugar significantly increases disease risk, intake of NNS can also lead to negative health outcomes.
For example, NNS intake may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by leading to negative shifts in gut bacteria and promoting blood sugar dysregulation. What’s more, regular NNS intake is associated with overall unhealthy lifestyle patterns (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Although macro coaches may lead you to believe that the ratio of macronutrients in your diet is all that matters when it comes to weight loss and overall health, this narrow-minded take on nutrition is missing the bigger picture.
While tweaking macro ratios can benefit health in many ways, the most important factor in any diet is the quality of the foods you eat.
Though it may be possible to lose weight by eating nothing but highly processed foods and protein shakes, focusing solely on macronutrients discounts how eating certain foods can either increase or decrease metabolic health, disease risk, lifespan, and vitality.
Millie- Your diet needs to be totally made of of real food, not products. If it needs a label or comes in a box, don’t eat it. Only real food, healthy fats, high quality animal proteins and lots of vegetables and salads should be included every day.
Often labeled as “unhealthy” by those in the nutrition world, white potatoes are restricted by many people wanting to lose weight or improve their overall health. While eating too much of any food — including white potatoes — can lead to weight gain, these starchy tubers are highly nutritious and can be included as part of a healthy diet. White potatoes are an excellent source of many nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.
Plus, they’re more filling than other carb sources like rice and pasta (which are empty calories and contain almost no nutrition and are very hard to digest), and can help you feel more satisfied after meals. Just remember to enjoy potatoes baked or roasted, not fried ( not true- potatoes fried in vegetable oils are horrible for you, because heated vegetable oils are highly toxic and inflammatory) . Fry occasionally in duck or beef fat, they taste amazing!!
Take a trip to your local grocery store and you’ll find a variety of products labeled “diet,” “light,” “low fat,” and “fat-free.” While these products are tempting to those wanting to shed excess body fat, they’re typically an unhealthy choice.
Research has shown that many low fat and diet items contain much more added sugar and salt than their regular-fat counterparts. It’s best to forgo these products and instead enjoy ghee daily, and nut butters. Low fat and diet foods are typically high in sugar and salt. Unaltered higher fat alternatives are often a healthier choice.
While focusing on consuming a nutrient-dense, well-rounded diet is the most essential component of health, supplements — when used correctly and in the right form — can be beneficial in many ways.
For many, especially those with health conditions like type 2 diabetes, as well as those who take common medications like statins, proton pump inhibitors, birth control, and antidiabetic medications, taking specific supplements can significantly affect their health. For example, supplementing with magnesium and B vitamins has been shown to benefit those with type 2 diabetes by enhancing blood sugar and reducing heart disease risk factors and diabetes-related complications.
Those on restrictive diets, people with genetic mutations like methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), people over the age of 50, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are other examples of populations that may benefit from taking specific supplements.
While reducing calorie intake can indeed boost weight loss, cutting calories too low can lead to metabolic adaptations and long-term health consequences. Going on a very low calorie diet leads to a reduction in metabolic rate, increased feelings of hunger, and alterations in fullness hormones. This makes long-term weight maintenance difficult. This is why studies have shown that low calorie dieters rarely succeed in keeping excess weight off in the long term.
Obesity is associated with many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, certain cancers, and even early death. Still, reducing your disease risk does not mean you have to be skinny. What’s most important is consuming a nutritious diet and maintaining an active lifestyle, as these behaviors often improve your body weight and body fat percentage.
Many people are told to pop calcium supplements to keep their skeletal system healthy. However, current research has shown that supplementing with calcium may do more harm than good. For example, some studies have linked calcium supplements to an increased risk of heart disease. Additionally, research shows that they don’t reduce the risk of fracture or osteoporosis.
If you’re concerned about your calcium intake, it’s best to focus on dietary sources of calcium like full fat salmon, sardines, green leafy vegetables, and seeds..especially sesame seeds.
Millie – Although medical professionals commonly prescribe calcium supplements, current research shows that these supplements may do more harm than good. Taking more calcium causes you to leach it from the bones.
Many people struggle with getting adequate dietary fiber, which is why fiber supplements are so popular. But dry fiber can harm the colon. High fiber whole foods like vegetables and fruit contain nutrients and plant compounds that work synergistically to promote your health, and they can’t be replaced by fiber supplements.
Certain juices and smoothies are highly nutritious. For example, a nutrient-dense smoothie or freshly made juice composed primarily of non-starchy vegetables can be a great way to increase your vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intake.
Yet, it’s important to know that most juices and smoothies sold at stores are loaded with sugar and calories. When consumed in excess, they can promote weight gain and other health issues like tooth decay and blood sugar dysregulation
Probiotics are amongst the most popular dietary supplements on the market. However, practitioners generally overprescribed them, and research has demonstrated that some people may not benefit from probiotics like others do.
Not only are some people’s digestive systems resistant to probiotic colonization, but introducing probiotics through supplements may lead to negative changes in their gut bacteria.
Plus, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine related to probiotic use can lead to bloating, gas, and other adverse side effects.
Additionally, some studies show that probiotic treatment following a course of antibiotics may delay the natural reconstitution of normal gut bacteria.
Millie- eating healthy foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, help your gut grow and maintain health gut flora.
There’s no need to obsess over your calorie intake and track every morsel of food that passes your lips to lose weight.
Although food tracking can be a useful tool when trying to lose excess body fat, it’s not right for everyone.
What’s more, being overly preoccupied with food by tracking calories has been associated with an increased risk of disordered eating tendencies. Although tracking calories may help some people lose weight, it’s not necessary for everyone and may lead to disordered eating tendencies.
Cholesterol-rich foods have gotten a bad rap thanks to misconceptions about how dietary cholesterol affects heart health.
While some people are more sensitive to dietary cholesterol than others, overall, nutrient-dense, cholesterol-rich foods can be included in a healthy diet. In fact, including cholesterol-rich, nutritious foods like eggs in your diet boosts health by enhancing feelings of fullness and providing important nutrients that other foods lack.
Just as fat has been blamed for promoting weight gain and heart disease, carbs have been shunned by many people over fears that consuming this macronutrient will cause obesity, diabetes, and other adverse health effects. In reality, eating a moderate amount of nutritious carbs that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals like starchy root vegetables, ancient grains, and legumes will likely benefit your health — not harm it.
For example, dietary patterns that contain a balanced mix of high fiber carbs mainly from produce, healthy fats, and proteins, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Millie- Fruits and vegetables are calorically 95% carbs. BUT, they are not empty carbs. It’s the processed carbs that are bad for you, cookies, pasta, cakes, sugars.
The bottom line – The nutrition world is rife with misinformation, leading to public confusion, mistrust of health professionals, and poor dietary choices.
This, coupled with the fact that nutrition science is constantly changing, makes it no wonder that most people have a warped view of what constitutes a healthy diet.
Although these nutrition myths are likely here to stay, educating yourself by separating fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition can help you feel more empowered to develop a nutritious and sustainable dietary pattern that works for your individual needs.