In this article we are going to examine some of the most common misconceptions of the nutrition and diet industry.
Even health professionals, including doctors and dieticians, are to blame for spreading misinformation about nutrition to the public, adding to this confusion.
So lets start by busting the greatest myth of them all :
1. Eating healthy will help you lose weight
Healthy eating and loosing weight are two different things.
Diets rich in healthy foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other substances that are really important and beneficial for our body and mind.
But overeating healthy food will STILL lead to weight gain!
The only thing that matters for weight fluctuations is the total calories you take in versus the ones that you burn off.
It’s all about the first law of thermodynamics, energy in VS energy out.
So, sure you need to eat healthy foods, but for loosing weight you also need to attain a calorie deficit.
2. carbs at night make you fat
Calories are calories. It doesn’t really matter when you eat them, since, according to studies, your body doesn’t process food differently at different times of the day.
What does matter, however, are the total calories you take in versus the ones that you burn off.
Mindlessly snacking in front of the TV at night can and will increase your calorie intake without you even noticing.
So, people clamming to have lost weight by not eating at night, all they have actually done is limit their total calorie intake and end up staying in a calorie deficit.
Actually, according to studies, people that eat carbohydrates mostly at dinner end up feeling more satiety and lesser hunger, compared to those eating carbs throughout the day.
Intermittent Fasting is another proof that eating at night is not only safe but beneficial too.
3. Fat-free means calorie-free
“Low fat” or “fat-free” does NOT mean “calorie-free”.
A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed foods that are low-fat or fat-free could have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food – sometimes even MORE calories.
This is because the process that takes fat out of foods involves adding sugar, flour, starch thickeners, and other carbohydrates to keep the original taste.
When grocery shopping, make sure you read nutrition labels of the regular versus the low-fat versions of the product and compare both their caloric content and their fat content, based on per 100g serving size.
4. sugar is evil
Sugar in excess can be ‘bad’, but so can many other ‘good’ things too.
Instead of saying sugar is ‘bad’, rather ask what amount of sugar isn’t bad… Excess amounts of anything is the issue.
The dose is easy to over consume in a world where sugar resides in almost everything we eat.
Your overall diet and dietary habits matters more than food. We don’t eat foods in isolation, so ‘Healthy’ vs ‘bad’ foods is a false dichotomy.
The anti-sugar narrative has little support and stands NO solid scientific ground… Sugar’s been part of the human diet for years associated to NO health issues in moderate amounts.
Any food could be ‘bad’ in different scenarios. Whether or not depends on who eats it and how much.
5. breakfast is the most important meal of the day
In addition, another study conducted by Monash University researchers, indicates that there was no significant difference in metabolic rates between breakfast eaters and skippers.
So breakfast ISN’T the most important meal of the day, as many cereal companies want you to believe.
The problem is that most stereotypical breakfast skippers have unhealthy lifestyles and bad food choices.
If you make sure to eat healthy food for the rest of the day, then skipping breakfast, or any other meal, is perfectly healthy.
6. Gluten free diets are healthier
Unless you have a real reason to be avoiding gluten, such us coeliac disease, there is no benefit to removing gluten from your diet.
By swapping to gluten free foods you miss out on the benefits of fibre and wholegrains.
Gluten free products usually contain just as much sugar, fat and total calories as regular ones so they aren’t healthier for you.
7. SUPPLEMENTS are a waste of money
90% of people don’t get the recommended amount of important nutrients from food alone… Deficiency of Magnesium or Vitamin D are, among others, really common in developed countries.
Supplementation is intended to bridge this nutritional gap, so the proper balance of nutrients from food and supplementation is maintained.
Also, exercise increases nutrient needs.
It is vital to replenish essential nutrients, fuel your energy levels, and promote recovery after an intense Calisthenics workout.
Finally, healthcare providers are encouraging people to look for disease prevention instead of disease treatment.
So, taking daily supplements is important not only for enhancing the nutrient density of your diet, but also for preventing future health issues.
8. often meals are better for weight loss
Studies show that there are NO weight benefits to eating more often.
It DOESN’T increase the number of calories burned or help you lose weight. Eating more often also DOESN’T improve blood sugar control.
If anything, having fewer meals and adopting eating patterns like Intermittent Fasting is much healthier.
Skipping meals, like breakfast, every now and then, actually helps you lose weight and may improve your blood sugar, enhance the brain function and increase longevity.
It can also provide additional simplicity to life, as you need to plan for less meals and can control your calorie intake easier.
9. All fats are bad
There are many different types of fats. Some of them are an essential part of your diet, others are not.
According to studies, Unsaturated fats may protect our health by decreasing the LDL cholesterol in the blood. Saturated fats from meat and dairy products have been shown to raise total and LDL cholesterol levels. Trans fats, not only raise LDL cholesterol but also lower HDL cholesterol. Trans fats lurk in all kinds of processed foods.
Overall, some fats impact your health positively while others increase your risk for heart disease. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet.
Saturated fats found in fatty meat, cream, cakes, biscuits and pastries are the ones we need to limit as these are linked to cardiovascular disease.
Foods such as olive, safflower and canola oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish are relatively high in fat but contain unsaturated fats which are the ones our bodies need. They provide essential fatty acids and are lower in saturated fats.
Healthy fats allow the body to function normally and are a source of energy, but you should limit their intake to no more than 25-30% of daily calories.
10. vegan diets are healthier
A solely plant-based diet can be healthy but will depend on the foods you include.
Choosing minimally processed plant foods like fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes is the best as it can protect you against cancer, heart disease and weight gain.
Make sure you replace animal products with nutrient-rich alternatives. Include protein foods like legumes, nuts and seeds and use dairy alternatives that are not high in added sugar and contain added calcium and Vitamin B12.
Replacing the meat and dairy in your diet with refined carbohydrates and sweets will NOT make the switch to a plant-based diet a healthy one.