10 Popular Nutrition Myths Debunked – Once and For All

Health benefits of fish

There’s no shortage of nutrition myths out there.

Avoid the hype and look at research from nutrition scientists.

Below are the 10 nutrition myths debunked by science.

Overview

Consume As Much Omega-6 and Vegetable Oils as Possible

Fats and oils have been a source of nutrition myths for decades.

One important fact: fats and oils aren’t all the same.

There’s a difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, states an Early Intervention in Psychiatry study.

Eat a healthy ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6.

You want more Omega-3 in your diet. Examples of Omega 3 foods as listed by WebMD include:

This fatty acid helps fight inflammation and it has many other health benefits as well, according to numerous studies (i.e. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Neuromolecular Medicine, Advances in Nutrition, Nursing Standard, Nutrition Journal).

While there’s no specific amount noted, the best Omega 3 contains between 250 and 500mg of DHA and EPA, according to Mercola.com.

Omega-6 fatty acid comes from processed seed and vegetable oils. The most common are soybean, corn and sunflower oils, writes SFGate.

The human body isn’t used to so much Omega-6. Our bodies didn’t grow that way. Eating too much of it is unnatural, studies from Molecular Neurobiology and Nutrients.

Studies in Current Atherosclerosis Reports, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, and Nutrients show it can increase the risk of obesity.

Eat foods with Omega-3 fatty acids. Stay away from processed seed and vegetable oils. It protects your heart, similar to the idea behind Heartgreens.

Final Thoughts: Balance the ratios of Omega-3 and Omega-6 . Too much Omega-6 isn’t healthy.

Saturated Fats

Saturated Fat is Evil

What nutrition myths are there about saturated fats?

In 2001, there was a huge review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition done of 21 prospective epidemiological studies. In total, this included 347, 747 subjects.

The problem is that it became the norm for so long and misled so many people.

The truth is saturated fat raises the level of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) in your blood, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It also helps change small and dense LDL cholesterol to benign large LDL, states a study in the International Journal of Cardiology.

Saturated fat gives you stronger bones. It’s necessary for calcium to be available for bone health, says a Journal of Nutrition study.

triglycerides diet

Saturated fat is also good for your lungs, according to studies in Experimental Lung Research and Critical Care. Your lungs’ air space is coated with a very thin layer of lung surfactant, which is made up of 100 percent saturated fatty acids.

You need to eat saturated fat to replace these important fats and prevent breathing difficulties.

Even your brain benefits from saturated fat. Most of the fatty acids in your brain are saturated. A diet lacking in saturated fat deprives your brain of a vital component needed to run smoothly.

You can stop avoiding your favorite foods containing saturated fat. Cheese, meat and butter are all free game.

As long as you eat reasonable amounts, there’s no reason you can’t eat these foods as part of a balanced diet.

Eat Low-Fat Foods

Few mainstream nutrition myths are more deceitful that this one.

According to conventional wisdom, you should eat low-fat or non-fat foods because eating fat makes you fat, an idea low-carb diets have fought for many years.

First off, this reasoning is based on the idea that all fat is the same and it’s all bad for you.

The truth is your body actually needs healthy portions of the right kinds of fats, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Clinics in Sports Medicine and Lipids.

But that isn’t the end of it. The consequences of eating low-fat foods get worse.

Low Fat food

You see, fat contributes to the taste of food, a Frontiers in Neuroscience book, Fat Detection says. Do you know how typical foods taste when you suck them dry of fat?

Well, they don’t taste like anything. They’re tasteless, bland and unappetizing.

To add flavor, some companies add sugar. As you can imagine, this isn’t good for your body. Too much sugar is bad for many reasons.

But even the artificial sweeteners are no better for you. They may not have calories, but multiple studies in the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, Gut Microbes, Indian Journal of Pharmacology, Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, and Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine show that they’re associated with obesity and other health conditions.

In short, low-fat and non-fat products replace healthy, natural fats with artificial ingredients that are bad for your health. Don’t fall for the trap!

Final Thoughts: Low-fat products are far from a healthy alternative to natural fat-containing foods. They’re highly processed and are often filled to the brim with unhealthy artificial sweeteners. It’s better to eat regular fat-containing foods in moderation.

Eat Several Small Meals During the Day

This is one of those myths that just won’t seem to die—no matter how much evidence piles up against it.

The idea behind this lie is that you eat many small meals through the day so that your metabolism stays high.

Research has proven this lie wrong time and time again. Studies in the British Journal of Nutrition comparing subjects who eat many meals and those who eat few meals show there’s no difference.

On the contrary, Obesity and PLoS One studies have shown that eating more meals leads to more hunger and less fullness than eating fewer, larger meals.

Weight Loss Tips

Eating too often goes against how our bodies developed in nature.

Our ancestors weren’t always fed. More often than not, they fasted for long periods of time.

Going without eating for a while allows for a process known as autophagy.

Waste is cleared out of our cells. Thus, fasting every now and then is beneficial, studies in Canadian Medical Association Journal and Obesity conclude.

Final Thoughts: The idea that it’s better to eat a bunch of small meals during the day simply doesn’t hold up. It’s good to fast once in a while.

Fatty Foods

Fatty Foods Make You Fat

Perhaps the reason this myth persists is because it sounds logical at first. The fat in food becomes belly fat, right?

Leaving the nutrition myths aside – the truth is more subtle. Although fat has more calories than protein and carbs, high-fat foods by themselves don’t make you fat.

It might be surprising to learn, but it’s easier to lose weight with high-fat, low-carb diets than with diets that are low in fat, according to Fat Detection.

When you eat fat, you enhance your body’s ability to burn fat. If you only eat carbs, what you’re doing is training your body to become efficient at burning carbs.

Reducing fat intake also deprives you of the hormone adiponectin. This hormone increases your metabolism, helping your burn fat at a faster rate.

Junk food

According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it also curbs your appetite. But you need a moderate amount of fat in your diet to get adiponectin, says a study in Diabetes.

Also, keep in mind that fat is simply more filling than carbs. Fat is satiating; it keeps you from feeling hungry all the time, Fat Detection states.

If you think about it, the foods that must satisfy hunger are rich in healthy fat: meats, cheese, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish.

When you eat fat, your small intestine sends out signals that release appetite-controlling hormones.

In this way, fatty foods stop hunger dead in its tracks. You eat less and are better able to manage your weight.

Final Thoughts: Fats aren’t your enemy. Eating excessive carbs is more likely to make you gain weight than a high-fat diet that’s low in carbs.

Don’t Eat Eggs

Why do these supposed “experts” keep vilifying healthy foods? One of the biggest examples of their penchant for dietary slander is with eggs.

Nutrition myths tell you eggs are bad because of cholesterol.

Thankfully, we have real scientists doing real research and fighting nutrition myths.

Egg Nutrition

Findings from studies in the British Medical Journal tell us that cholesterol in the food you eat doesn’t raise your blood cholesterol.

Besides this, eggs are among the most nutritional foods you can eat. They’re loaded with high levels of many nutrients, says The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For instance, eggs contain many antioxidants that help your eyes. “In a raw egg, you get more omega-3 fatty acids, lecithin, vitamin D, lutein, zinc, and B vitamins.” states Dr Salerno, from The Salerno Center.

Moreover, eggs are filling and delicious. Some research in the International Journal of Obesity and the Journal of the American College of Nutrition have shown that eating eggs in the morning can help you lose weight.

Final Thoughts: It’s one of the more common nutrition myths that eggs are linked to heart issues. Eggs give you the good type of cholesterol and are even helpful for losing weight.

Too Much Protein Harms Your Kidneys and Bones

While eating protein increases short-term calcium excretion from your bones, the long-term effect is just the opposite.

When it comes to the long-term, protein is associated with bone health and low risk of fractures, according to studies in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and Current Opinion in Lipidology.

The research shows no correlation between high protein and kidney issues.

Protein Foods

And remember: protein has many benefits you can’t do without.

Protein helps you build greater muscle mass and lean tissue.

It cuts down your hunger, gives you greater bone density, improves your brain functions, and even helps you sleep better, according to studies in Obesity, International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, Journal of Nutrition, and Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Also, your nails, hair, and skin are mostly made of protein, so you need to consume plenty of protein to keep those parts of your body in order.

This is one reason protein powders like those from Isagenix are so popular.

Final Thoughts: Eating the right amount of protein improves your bone health and reduces the possibility of fracture.

Low-Carb Diets Are Risky

A lot of people out there have a negative idea about low-carb diets. But the fact is a low-carb diet has many advantages over a low-fat diet.

While low-fat diets sound like a good idea, it just doesn’t work well against obesity.

Although the fake experts slander low-carb diets, empirical evidence shows they’re more effective.Low Carb Foods

Research shows that low-carb diets offer a number of benefits. They reduce body fat even while the dieter eats as much as he wants.

With a low-carb diet, you do better at increasing “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol. You even lower your triglycerides.

Plus, low-carb diets are easier to stick to since you’re not constantly limiting your calorie intake. It’s hard to keep a diet when you feel hungry all the time.

Final Thoughts: Low-carb diets are a much better way to lose weight than low-fat diets. Low-carb diets curb your hunger, and help with cholesterol.

Low-Carb Diets

Grains Are for Everyone

It’s a silly idea that everyone should base their diets on grain.

Keep in mind that the agricultural revolution happened rather recently.

Our genes are still used to the kind of eating with did pre-agriculture.

Compared to fruits and vegetables, grains are pretty low in nutrients. And they come with a lot of phytic acid, a substance that binds minerals in the intestine—preventing them from getting absorbed properly.

Wheat, the most popular grain in the western world, causes a long list of health problems.

Whole Grains

The kind of wheat we eat nowadays contains large amounts of the protein gluten. Unfortunately, many people are sensitive to gluten.

Gluten can damage intestinal lining, causing pain, stool inconsistency, bloating, and fatigue.

It’s for these reasons low-carb diets are often much more effective for managing weight.

Final Thoughts: Grains have low nutritional value compared to foods like vegetables. Grains that contain gluten—such as wheat—can lead to health problems.

Make Carbohydrates your Largest Source of Calories

Remember the food pyramid they used to teach us in school? What if it was a source of the major nutrition myths?

That creative visualization of the ideal diet was wrong in so many ways. Chief among the problems with the food pyramid was the fact that it placed so much emphasis on carbs.

If you remember, it made carbohydrates the foundation of the ideal diet.

Veggies and fruits went above the grains, followed by meats and dairy. At the very top were the fats, which were needed only sparingly.

Studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association and Nutrition & Metabolism consistently show that low-carb, high-fat diets beat high-carb diets, but they both keep people slim and healthy.

Final Thoughts: High carb diets don’t work. They don’t help you lose weight.

Conclusion

What Users Are Saying

“Kidneys are used to remove the nitrogen group from amino acids which are eventually excreted as urine. The more protein you eat, the more work the kidney does, which is why an excessive amount can be harmful. It’s not typically harmful, but those with kidney problems are at a higher risk.”

“Saturated fat has been shown to be harmful, depending on its fatty acid content and your diet in general. Specifically, palmitic acid and myristic acid have been shown to have significant negative health effects, while stearic acid is fairly neutral. This is complicated by the fact that certain mono- and poly- unsaturated fats seem to largely mitigate the negative effect when consumed in sufficient quantities.”

“This has been my BATTLE for the last few months. It’s really hard to find a fast food joint or restaurant that isn’t using seed-oils. So it’s either 100% cooking on your own or going to a really small business restaurant and working with the owners. There are no other good options. Breaded foods like fried chicken and dare I say it chicken tendies are terrible because the batter soaks up all the oxidized oils in the deep fryer.”

Conclusion about Nutrition Myths

There’s an abundance of nutrition myths out there. They start with bad science or mistaken “conventional wisdom,” which then gets perpetuated by parroting “experts.”

You don’t have to avoid eggs, meat or natural fatty foods. Contrary to what many mainstream gurus tell you, the high-carb, low-fat diet isn’t always the best way to control your weight. In fact, it can be the worst way.

Now that you’re informed about nutrition myths, you can make smarter choices, like choosing a weight-loss program that can help teach you about these myths, your own eating behaviors, and more.

Noom is one of the best weight-loss apps we have ever seen. We like that the program is backed by clinical research and offers tons of interactive tools for users to access in one place, making weight-loss journeys easier.

Right now, you can get a free trial offer of Noom. 

Q:
What are controversial issues in nutrition?

A:

Controversial issues in nutrition include:–The health benefits and risks of organic versus conventional farming–The effects of processed food on human health–Nutritional value of various diets, such as vegan and paleo–Use of supplements, vitamins and minerals to improve health–Debate between low-fat and low-carbohydrate dieting–Controversy over the safety of genetically modified foods.

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