As with every other part of life, nutrition has its own set of myths that are widely believed but aren’t actually true. These myths harm people more than helping people to get healthy and stay that way.
Although the actual number of myths are more than one can count, we have made a list of the top 10 nutrition myths and will show you how they have been totally debunked by science:
Myth 1: You Must Eat As Much Vegetable And Omega-6 Oils As Possible
One of the largest myths of all times is the fact that oils and fats are a “reservoir” of all essential nutrients. The truth, however, is that while they are generally beneficial, not all oils and fats are the same or have the same effects. For instance, there is a lot of difference between both the Omega-6 and the Omega-3 fatty acid.
Not only should you make sure to consume a healthy ratio of both fatty acids, you should also consume Omega-3 in larger quantities, due to its ability to combat inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acid, on the other hand, has its source in vegetable oils and processed seeds, and is present in many vegetable oil alternatives like sunflower, corn, and soybean oils. Being unaccustomed to Omega-6, our bodies do not require a lot of it. Moreover, many studies have revealed that if taken in large quantities, it may increase the chance of heart disease.
All in all, you must consume a balanced ratio of Omega-3 as well as Omega-6, where is latter should be less in quantity.
Myth 2: Saturated Fats Are Not Good For You
In the year 2001, a big review of 21 prospective studies in epidemiology, containing over 347, 747 subjects, was carried out to find out whether there was any truth to the fact that saturated fat contributed to heart disease. Needless to say, the results proved that saturated fats aren’t that bad for you, and this belief was nothing but a myth.
As a matter of fact, saturated fats raise the level of the “good” HDL cholesterol in your blood and make the LDL in your blood benign. They give you stronger bones and add a thin layer of surfactant to your lungs, which is a layer that contains 100% saturated fatty acids and is great for them. Even the fatty acids that are present in the brain are in fact saturated!
A diet low on saturated fat does not allow your brain to get the vital component it needs to run smoothly.
All in all, according to the most reliable and newest research, there is no link between saturated fat and any kind of disease. Rather, foods containing natural saturated fats should be consumed since they are vital for good health.
Myth 3: Low-Fat Foods Are Beneficial For You
Believe it or not, there are very few nutrition myths more false than this one.
Conventional wisdom says that eating non-fat, or at least low-fat foods can prevent you from getting…well, fat. This thought process is incomplete and is wrong on so many levels.
Firstly, the reasoning is based upon the idea that all kinds of fat are bad for health, whereas your body requires some kinds of fats in order to function properly. Furthermore, fat-free foods are bland, have no taste, and are unappetizing.
To combat the lack of flavor, certain companies add artificial sweeteners, which is worse for your body than fats. Despite not having calories, they have been proved to have links with depression, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, among others.
All in all, non-fat and low-fat food products take away natural and healthy fats and replace them with artificial ingredients which are terrible for your health. It is therefore better that you eat normal, fat-containing foods in proper proportions.
Myth 4: Take Small Meals Several Times Throughout The Day
This is one rare myth which simply refuses to die, no matter what or how much evidence is placed against it. The main logic behind the idea is that by eating several small meals throughout the day, you can keep your metabolism high.
Research, however, has proved that this idea is nothing but a myth. According to scientific research, the number of times you eat in a day has no bearing on health whatsoever.
In fact, those who eat a higher number of meals are statistically likely to get hungrier faster and eat more than those who eat more food at fewer meals. By refraining from eating for the right amount of time, a process called autophagy gets triggered in our body, which helps clear out waste that is present in our cells.
Furthermore, those who take many small meals are 90% more vulnerable to developing diseases like colon cancer, as opposed to those who take only two. All in all, eating a small meal several times during the day is very illogical, and does more harm than good.
Myth 5: Eating Fatty Foods Will Make You Fat
One of the reasons this myth still exists is because it seems kind of logical. It is the fat present in food that ends up becoming the fat in the belly, right?
Not really. The truth is that while fats do have more calories in comparison to carbs and protein, they don't exactly “make you fat” on their own. In fact, diets that are rich in fat and low on carbohydrates can, andoften do, help you shed weight.
Confused? Here's how it works – When you consume fat, you teach your body to burn fat. Whereas if you eat only carbs, all your body learns is how to burn carbs.
Additionally, a lower fat intake reduces the level of the adiponectin hormone, which is responsible for increasing your metabolism, helping you burn fat faster, and curbing your appetite.
Furthermore, fat is far more satiating than carbohydrates and prevents you from being hungry at all times. In fact, the foods best known for satisfying hunger are very rich in fat. These include cheese, meats, avocados, nuts, and fatty fish, among others.
When you consume fat, the small intestine sends signals which release hormones that control your appetite. This helps curb unnecessary hunger, allowing you to curb your weight by eating less.
All in all, fats are NOT your enemy. Consuming too much carbs can put you more at risk of gaining weight, as opposed to a high-fat diet which is low on carbs.
Myth 6: Eggs Are Not Good For Health
According to “experts,” eggs contain cholesterol, which is a reservoir of diseases. Fortunately, we have actual scientists who are putting real effort into debunking such preposterous nutrition myths.
According to scientific studies, cholesterol that is present in eggs is of the good variety, and does not raise what is present in your blood at all. Rather, they help increase this “good” cholesterol, which is essential for your body's well-being.
Furthermore, eggs are some of the most nutritious foods you can ever eat. They contain loads of nutrients which have great benefits for your body and health.
A very delicious and filling food, eggs when eaten for breakfast can help control weight.
All in all, the myth that eggs are bad for your health and cause heart disease has no truth in it. Eggs have the good variety of cholesterol and help control body weight, in addition to a plethora of other benefits.
Myth 7: Excess Protein Harms Your Bones And Kidneys
Yet another big nutrition myth says that too much protein consumption is bad and causes diseases like osteoporosis and kidney problems. The truth, however couldn't be farther than that. Protein is one of the most vital requirements of the body and is linked with good bone health, as well as lower risk of sustaining fractures.
Not only has scientific research not shown any relation between high consumption of protein and kidney diseases, it has proved that protein-rich diet allows consumers to fight against high blood pressure and diabetes, which are two massive causes of kidney disease.
Moreover, protein has several benefits, many of them exclusive benefits that you simply cannot do without. No wonder Isagenix and other companies' protein powder boxes are that popular.
All in all, protein when consumed in adequate amounts lessens the risk of sustaining a fracture, improves bone health, and helps control blood pressure and diabetes. There's no such thing as “too much” protein.
Myth 8: Diets Which Are Low On Carbohydrates Are Not Good For Health
Contrary to the popular belief that low-carb diets are bad for health, the truth is that they in fact have several advantages over a diet that is low-fat. The latter, despite sounding like a great idea, actually is rather ineffective in fighting obesity and disease.
While many “experts” have slammed low-carb diets, research has revealed that they are in fact far more effective. Not only do they help reduce the extra fat in the body, they also help control diabetes, blood sugar, and blood pressure – all while allowing the dieter to eat as much as they want!
Low-carb diets help increase the amount of “good” (i.e. HDL) cholesterol in your body, and helps lower the “bad” (i.e. LDL) cholesterol. They also help reduce your triglycerides.
The best thing about low-carb diets, however, is the fact that they are easier to follow, given the lack of restriction on calorie intake. All in all, low-carb diets are indeed a far better alternative to low-fat diets if you want to lose weight.
Not only do they help reduce bad cholesterol and fight metabolic disease, they also help you curb hunger, and are very beneficial for people who have diabetes.
Myth 9: The Benefits Of Grains Are Universal
Assuming that everybody's diet should be based on grains is in essence a silly idea at best.
In context of human history, the agricultural revolution only happened very recently; human genes are pretty much used to following the diet they did during pre-agricultural times.
In comparison to vegetables and fruits, the number of nutrients in grains is much less. Furthermore, they contain phytic acid, which is a substance which binds intestinal minerals and prevents them from being properly absorbed.
Take wheat, for example, which is the root cause for a number of health problems. Wheat which is consumed nowadays contains a large amount of gluten, a kind of protein, which many people are very sensitive to.
Gluten has several adverse effects, such as damaging intestinal lining, causing immense pain, bloating, inconsistency of stool, and fatigue. In fact, it has been linked to several grave brain disorders such as cerebellar ataxia and schizophrenia.
Under such circumstances, it is better to follow low-carb diets, which have proven their effectiveness in managing weight.
Not only do grains have a lower level of nutritional value in comparison to vegetable and fruits, some of them (like wheat) contain gluten, which can cause severe health problems.
Myth 10: Keep Carbohydrates As Your Biggest Calorie Source
We all remember how the food pyramid we were taught in school showed us how grains were the “basic” food. What if I told you that this is actually another big nutrition myth?
Believe it or not, the infallible food pyramid, which creatively visualized the ideal diet, was actually incorrect on several counts. One of the largest flaws of the pyramid was the importance that it had placed on carbohydrates, which it regarded as the base of an ideal, balanced diet. Above the grains were fruits and vegetables, followed by dairy products and meat. The fats, that were supposed to be taken sparingly, were on the top.
Although such a diet might work in a few isolated cases, they turn out to be harmful for most people, especially for those who are suffering from diseases such as metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
According to scientific research, while low-carb and high-fat diets do beat high-carb-only diets, both are equally adept at keeping people healthy and slim.
All in all, High-carb diets don’t really help you lose weight. Additionally, they can prove to be dangerous for those who have conditions such as diabetes.
Top 10 Nutrition Myths Final Words
Needless to say, there is no shortage of nutrition myths. Originating from mistaken “conventional wisdom” or bad science, these end up getting perpetuated by “experts” who end up parroting them.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to avoid eating fatty foods, meat, or eggs. And following a diet that is high on carbs and low on fat isn’t really the most efficient way to keep your weight in control (it can actually turn out to be your worst enemy).
That said, now that you are well-informed about the various myths about nutrition, you can make choices that are educated and smarter, and can get and/or maintain a body that is healthier and slimmer!