Common Nutrition Myths You Should Abandon

Nutrition is constantly evolving and with new studies coming out all the time, foods we previously thought were good for us may turn out to be taking a toll on our bodies.

We’re constantly inundated with new health information, making it increasingly difficult to keep up with what’s fact and what’s fiction. Here are some common nutrition myths that you can stop believing

Eating fat will make you fat: It makes sense for people to think that eating fat will make them fat. After all, you are what you eat, right? Although it seems slightly counter-intuitive, your body actually needs fat to burn. Increasing fat intake helps to train the body to utilize fat more efficiently as an energy source and to burn fat over carbohydrates. A diet high in carbohydrates does the opposite, impeding fat burning. Foods advertised as low-fat, non-fat, or reduced fat generally have a higher carbohydrate content or added sugar. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars in the blood, and the pancreas is stimulated to release the hormone insulin, which converts blood sugar into fatty acids(fat) that is generally stored in the abdominal region.

Carbohydrates are the devil: Carbohydrates are actually not evil and eating the right kinds of carbs—complex carbs (beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) instead of simple carbs (candy, baked goods) in moderation is extremely important for a balanced diet. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide fiber, iron, folic acids and vitamin B. They can even help control your weight.

Artificial sweetener are safe sugar replacement: Not only are artificial sweeteners synthetic chemicals, but they have also been shown to cause more weight gain than actual sugar. The sweet taste of artificial sweeteners increases hunger regardless of its caloric content, they also perpetuate cravings for sweets. People who ingest artificial sweeteners regularly have been shown to have altered activation patterns in the brain’s pleasure centers in response to sweet taste, signalling that artificial sweeteners may not satisfy these sweet cravings and, therefore, cravings for sweet foods will persist. Since artificial sweeteners are foreign chemicals, they confuse your body and disrupt its natural ability to count calories and signal to your brain that you are full.

Diet soda aids in weight loss: If you think drinking a diet soda will help maintain your weight? Think again. Several large studies have linked artificial sweeteners to weight gain, artificial sweeteners seem to actually increase appetite and contribute to sweet cravings by training taste buds to favour sweeter flavours. It may also confuse the body’s natural mechanisms for regulating caloric intake. Decreasing intake of diet sodas as well as other artificial sweetener sources, like sugar-free gum and other sugar-free product.

Potatoes (e.g Irish potatoes) are bad for you: Irish potatoes have gotten a bad reputation over recent years for being essentially empty in carbohydrates. Not true! White potatoes are packed with fiber, which helps keep you regular and aids in feeling full. They also have more potassium than sweet potatoes.

Drink milk for strong bones: Recent studies have shown that despite milk’s high calcium content, it actually promotes calcium loss in the bones. When milk is ingested, it has an acidifying effect on the body. Since calcium is an acid neutralizer, the body takes calcium from the bones (since the bones contain the highest concentration of calcium in the body) to neutralize the acidic effects of the milk, thus promoting bone loss. This calcium then ends up in the urine. The best way to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis is to exercise regularly. eat a varied diet with adequate bone-building vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies, and supplement with vitamin D (a crucial nutrient for bone health) if you are deficient in it.

It’s healthier to eat egg whites rather than whole eggs: Most people do not know that the egg yolk is where a lot of the nutrition is, the yolk contains over 40 percent of the protein in a whole egg and more than 90 percent of the calcium, iron, and B vitamins. It also contains all of the egg’s fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) plus, that extra fat will help to keep you full and satisfied for longer than you would be with just the whites. But what about cholesterol? Research is showing that cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than we thought. In fact, moderate egg consumption (defined as one per day) has not been found to increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals.

Drink orange juice if you are sick: While it is true that orange juice contains vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms, orange juice contains loads of sugar. A single 12 oz. glass of orange juice contains a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar and little to no fiber to slow down the absorption of that sugar into your bloodstream. High blood sugar impairs vitamin C absorption, so all of that vitamin C in your orange juice isn’t doing your body much good. Sugar also slows down the immune system delaying the process of getting over cold.

Frozen vegetables have fewer nutrients than fresh vegetables: When vegetables and produce are chosen for freezing, they tend to be picked at their peak ripeness (when they are most densely packed with nutrients). They are processed immediately, leaving little time for nutrient loss. The freezing process entails picking and washing the vegetables, then blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and food-degrading enzymes.

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