When it comes to nutrition and health, there are about as many myths and rumours surrounding food as there are stars in the sky. Much of this is due to media misrepresentation, marketing tactics, as well as a lack of understanding and research on the part of the consumer. Here are 5 myths about nutrition that you probably thought was true:
Myth 1: Eating more fibre results in weight loss
While this is something that has been frequently parroted, the truth is that eating more fibre alone does not significantly reduce calorie intake or lead to fat loss. Fibre that reduces food intake and aids in fat-loss tends to be in “whole” forms and naturally occurring in the food itself. Examples of such food are vegetables, some types of whole grains with kernels, beans and more. Needless to say, food that has added and processed fibre are exempt from this category.
Myth 2. Low-carb ketogenic diets are dangerous
Such diets originally developed a bad reputation as they were often confused with ketoacidosis, a dangerous metabolic reaction which can occur in uncontrolled Type I diabetics. However, this is not the same as ketosis or low-carb eating. As with all diets, consumers should do ample research before starting on your diet. A ketogenic diet is perfectly safe as long as you ensure that you replace the calories you get from carbohydrates with that of fat.
Myth 3. Eating in moderation makes everything acceptable
You often hear friends and family telling you that any kind of food is fine as long as you have it on moderation. Health campaigns and marketing slogans are fond of repeating this too. However, does eating in moderation work all the time?
Eliminating a food that causes you to lose control, overeat, or feel physically horrible is arguably better than eating the food in moderation. Abstaining from a certain food should not be viewed as a form of deprivation. Many think that abstaining from a food entirely will backfire and result in overeating. However, not everything in the supermarket is worth putting in your belly. Case in point: potato chips and sodas that are chock full of additives and empty calories.
Myth 4. Whole eggs are bad for you
On the contrary, eggs have scored the highest on four scientific scales of protein quality. On top of that, it is also abundant in vitamins as well as easily digested amino acids. Choline, an essential ingredient for brain function, is also present in the egg yolk. It also helps the liver to detoxify and avoid fat accumulation to function optimally.
You may have been warned by friends that eating eggs can increase your cholesterol drastically. However, there is no scientific evidence between eating whole eggs (and dietary cholesterol in general) and elevated levels of blood cholesterol. Consuming three eggs a day on a carbohydrate-restricted diet can result in reduced levels of inflammation and improvements in cholesterol markers as well. Not only are they healthy, but they are also affordable and easy to cook!
Myth 5. Only low-fat dairy is healthy and can aid in fat-loss
Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health argues that is little data to support the argument that low-fat and skim milk is healthier than whole milk. In fact, it is argued that reduced-fat dairy does not have the benefits of full cream dairy. It increases circulating triglycerides, does not lower calorie intake in general and often has added sugar to begin with. In contrast, full-fat dairy carries the healthy fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K. It even has cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid and can also contain beneficial probiotic bacteria.
As such, opt for whole fat dairy from local or pasture-raised cows/goats during your next grocery trip! Organic diary offers a superior nutrition profile as opposed to conventional ones and are also free of harmful growth hormones and antibiotics.
Being an informed and discerning consumer is increasingly important given the persistence of misleading marketing spiels as well as misinformation. Don’t take everything you read (including this) at face value; step out there and do your own research!