Common Nutrition Myths
May 23, 2022
Myth: Fat Makes You Fat
High fat foods are typically very Calorie dense (having a lot of Calories for its size). Many high fat foods should be limited in our diets but no macronutrient should be completely eliminated from a well-rounded diet. Dietary fats are vital for vitamin/mineral absorption, nerve function, and energy needs. Fat alone does not cause weight storage, however, excess Calories will. In addition, low fat and “diet” foods are typically loaded with extra added sugar to make them palatable and making them a bad food choice for weight control.
Myth: Cutting Carbs Causes Weight Loss
Carbohydrates are an important part of any healthy diet. They provide us with energy to fuel our daily activity and even our brain. While replacing high Calorie refined carbohydrate options (pizza, confectioneries, soda etc.) for lower Calorie options (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) can aid in weight loss, it is important to note that carbohydrates on their own are not a bad thing. Added sugar, however, is an unnecessary type of carbohydrate that could be limited or completely removed with great positive impact on nutrition.
Myth: White Potatoes Are Bad Sweet Potatoes Are Good
White potatoes can be a nutritious carbohydrate option. They are half as Calorie dense as some carb counterparts like white rice or bread, they have more potassium per serving than a banana, and one study found that, of over 40 tested foods, potatoes are the single most filling food you can eat. Sweet potatoes are awesome too!
Myth: Smoothies and Juices Are Great for Weight Loss
Smoothies and juices are packed with very healthy micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, they remove/break down the fiber you would get from eating their whole fruit/vegetable components. Fiber is important both for aiding in fullness and for slowing the release of the natural sugars within food, thereby sustaining healthy blood sugar levels. Without fiber, smoothies and juices turn into a high Calorie treat that can spike blood sugar almost as much as soda.
Myth: High Repetition Exercises Tone Muscle
Muscle tone is the result of revealing muscle through subcutaneous fat loss. Building more muscle size and reducing fat are the two ways to increase muscle tone. The only way to lose fat to reveal the muscle underneath is to eat in a Caloric deficit.
Myth: Gluten and/or Dairy are Bad for You
Gluten is just a protein found in grains. It can cause GI problems in individuals with a gluten intolerance, but there is no need for everyone else to avoid it. Similar to gluten, dairy only becomes a problem for those who are lactose intolerant.
Myth: “Detox” and “Cleanse” Diets Remove Toxins From the Body
Foods don’t have the ability to detoxify or cleanse the body. That ability lies with our powerful detoxification organs: the liver and kidneys. Having a well-rounded and varied diet, drinking plenty of clean water, and minimizing the ingestion of toxins like alcohol or heavy metals is the best way to assist these organs in keeping your body detoxified.
Myth: Eggs Are Bad for You
People often worry about eating eggs because of the fat and cholesterol in the yolk. However, studies show that neither of these warrant concerns. The yolks of eggs are packed with a variety of micronutrients and the whites are full of protein, making them an awesome food choice.
Myth: Foods High in Cholesterol Raise Your Cholesterol
While having high amounts of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood can be a bad thing, New research shows that LDL levels are mostly affected by saturated fat intake and not dietary cholesterol intake. Consuming foods high in good cholesterol (HDL) and healthy fats can even aid in combating bad cholesterol.
Myth: Some Foods Are “Fat Burner” Foods
There are a handful of supposed “fat burning” foods from apple cider vinegar, to cayenne pepper, to grapefruit. No food has measured fat burning properties strong enough to make a significant difference in weight change. The only consistent way to lose weight is to be in a Calorie deficit.
Myth: You Shouldn’t Eat Before Bed
There's no special reason why we can’t eat before bed. While metabolism does slow down while we sleep, this is irrelevant to weight gain or weight loss. Eating before bed only becomes a problem when we snack or binge on high calorie foods that put us into a calorie surplus for the day. People also tend to make more unhealthy food choices in the evening.
Myth: Salt is Bad For You
Excess sodium can become a problem for people who are prehypertensive or hypertensive (high blood pressure). However, salt is a potent neurotransmitter, plays an important role in fluid balance, and is vital to overall health and performance. In healthy individuals, excess salt will be excreted naturally.
Myth: Eating Often Boosts Metabolism
You can be successful eating 5 meals a day or 1 meal a day. Eating more frequently will not boost your metabolism. Similarly, eating breakfast will not kickstart your metabolism for the day. That being said, eating frequently helps to steady blood sugar levels, control hunger, and prevent binge-eating.
Myth: White Bread is Bad, Whole Wheat Bread is Good
While whole wheat bread does have marginally more nutrients and fiber than white bread, it is still made with refined flour and, oftentimes, added sugar. As such, it has a similar level of calories and a similar adverse effect on blood sugar. If you’re going to eat bread, a high fiber whole wheat bread is your best option. However, there are much healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Myth: Fasted Cardio Burns More Fat
Studies show that performing cardio while fasted results in the same long term weight loss as without fasting. What ultimately matters when doing cardio for fat loss is that you challenge yourself and expend some energy to help you reach a calorie deficit. Remember, your body needs fuel to perform safely at a high level so make sure you have a healthy meal 1-2 hours before exercise!