Nutrition is a tricky subject and so many people just don’t know what to believe anymore. With so much conflicting information out there, it’s difficult to figure out what exactly constitutes good eating habits, and what is just an old tale.
The number of “diets” and theories is endless. There are so many myths that don’t have any nutritional value at all.
The purpose of this article is to educate you on the top 8 most harmful nutrition myths that are completely wrong.
Nutrition is more than eating healthy food.
Nutrition. It’s also about how you eat and what you eat, and about how your body uses the nutrients it gets from those meals. If you’re not getting enough nutrients, that can lead to serious health problems down the line, but if you’re getting too many nutrients, that can also cause issues.
It’s also about how we feel, how we think and act, and how we interact with the world around us.
Nutrition can help you manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and it can help you prevent diseases like cancer.
It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right nutrition for your body and lifestyle, but sometimes it’s hard to know what that means or where to start.
Fad diets hurt the credibility of nutrition science.
People often mistake nutrition for “eating right,” but that’s not exactly true. Your diet should be based on what your body needs, not just what you think is going to help you lose weight quickly.
Your body needs certain nutrients to function properly and stay healthy, and those nutrients will vary depending on your age, gender, activity level, and other factors. Some people may need more protein than others; some may need more fiber or less fat than others.
Fad diets always seem to pop up at least once a year, usually based on the latest scientific breakthroughs or some new research that’s making headlines. But most of these fads are just plain bad science or shady marketing.
- Your 7-day 1500-calorie diet meal plan for weight loss and an active healthy lifestyle
- Healthy 14 Days Meal Plan That Helps You Lose Weight
We are tricked by the media.
The media has a lot of power over how we see ourselves, our bodies, and our health. We might not realize it, but the media can make us believe things that aren’t true.
The media is a business and they want to make money, so they will do anything to get you to buy their products. They need to get people to keep buying their products, so they have to market them in a way that makes you think that you need them.
They also have a lot of influence over our society and culture, which makes it difficult for people who are trying to make healthy choices because it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t when we’re bombarded with advertisements every day from all different sources!
Nutrition is one of the most confusing topics in health. Here are 8 common and harmful myths about nutrition expounded and debunked.
The 8 nutrition myths are
- All fat is bad.
- Vitamin supplements are good for you.
- All Carbohydrates are bad.
- Skipping meals will help you lose weight faster
- Protein from meat is pretty much the only good source of protein.
- You should eat 6 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
- You need dairy products to get enough calcium to strengthen your bones.
- Organic food is healthier than conventional food.
NUTRITION MYTH 1 – Fat is bad, avoid it!
Wrong! There are good fats and bad fats.
GOOD FATS are unsaturated fats and include:
- Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil and canola oil
- Polyunsaturated fats, like sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and sesame oil
BAD FATS: include trans fat and saturated fat. Trans fat is found in processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, pastries, and other commercial baked goods. Saturated fat is found in animal products like meat and dairy products.
TRUTH: This one’s not a myth, per se, but it is still a misconception. They are essential for your body. We need fat to lubricate our joints, keep our skin supple, and help us absorb certain vitamins and minerals.
Fat also provides energy to our bodies, and some fats are even good for us! So don’t be afraid of those tasty avocados or creamy nut butter.
NUTRITION MYTH 2 – Vitamin supplements are good for you.
In recent years, the idea that vitamin supplements are good for you has gained traction. And while it’s true that vitamins and minerals are essential to your health, taking supplements is not the same as getting them from food.
TRUTH: The answer is NO! While vitamin supplements may seem like a healthy way to get in the vitamins you need, the truth is that they can cause more harm than good.
The reason? They contain synthetic versions of vitamins, which are not as effective as the natural versions found in foods.
While vitamins are essential to your health, they can’t replace the nutrients you get from whole foods. If you take too many vitamins or supplements, your body will just flush them out of your system and won’t absorb them.
You need to get your nutrients from food. The best way to do this is by eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources like chicken breast or fish, low-fat dairy products such as milk or yogurt, legumes like beans and lentils, nuts like almonds or walnuts and seeds such as chia seeds or flaxseeds (which are also great ways of adding fiber into your diet).
Vitamin supplements are only useful in cases of serious deficiency or malnourishment. If you’re still concerned about getting enough of these essential vitamins and minerals, talk to your doctor about whether or not taking a supplement is right for you.
NUTRITION MYTH 3 – All carbohydrates are bad.
They provide your body with energy, and they’re a necessary part of a healthy diet. There are good carbs and bad carbs, and you need to know which ones to eat.
Good carbs are those that come from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Bad carbs are those that come from refined grains (white pasta and bread) or added sugars (candy).
TRUTH: I’m not saying that all carbs are good for you but I’m saying this myth needs to go away because it’s just not true!
If you know how to choose the right kind of carbs, you’ll be able to fuel your body with essential energy that keeps you going all day long! These kinds of carbs will fill you up without packing on pounds because they’re digested slowly by your body.
The problem is that many people eat too many carbohydrates, especially sugary foods that don’t have much or no nutritional value. That can lead to weight gain, which often leads to other health problems down the line.
NUTRITION MYTH 4 – Skipping meals will help you lose weight faster.
TRUTH: Skipping meals is a bad idea that can make your metabolism work slower, not faster. When you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode and starts to store more fat than it burns. This makes it harder to lose weight in the long run.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s better to eat smaller meals throughout the day (instead of three large ones) so that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode and start storing more fat than it burns.
Skipping meals can cause you to gain weight and put you at risk of developing health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
NUTRITION MYTH 5 – Protein from meat is pretty much the only good source of protein.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in your diet, and it’s something you should be focusing on getting enough of every day. But where do you get your protein?
Many people believe that the only way to get enough protein is by eating meat and other animal products.
TRUTH: Protein doesn’t just come from meat. You can get a lot of your daily protein from plant-based foods, even if you’re a vegetarian!
When you’re eating a diet that’s rich in whole grains, legumes (such as beans, lentils, and quinoa), nuts and seeds, and leafy greens, you’ll be getting plenty of protein without having to eat much meat at all.
Of course, if you want to include more animal products in your diet because they taste good or because they make you feel satisfied after a meal, that’s fine too.
Just be sure to balance them out with plenty of plant-based foods so that you’re getting all the nutrients needed to live a healthy lifestyle.
NUTRITION MYTH 6 – You should eat 6 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
It’s a common misconception that you need to eat 6 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
TRUTH: You should eat however many servings of fruits and veggies you need to feel satisfied.
The “6 servings” rule is a guideline, not a law. That being said, most people would benefit from eating more fruits and veggies than they do now, so it’s worth trying to get in the habit of eating more than one serving per day if you can!
You need to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to get the right vitamins and minerals your body needs (like vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, magnesium, and iron). Your body also works best when you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, rather than just one or two meals.
The best way to get the nutrients from fruits and vegetables is to eat them raw or minimally cooked, so try making salads with lots of different ingredients and chopping up your favorite veggies for snacking.
NUTRITION MYTH 7 – You need dairy products to get enough calcium to strengthen your bones.
The myth that you need dairy to get enough calcium is so pervasive that it’s become a fact in the minds of many people. But if you take a closer look at the research on bone health, it’s clear that this isn’t true.
Many other foods contain more calcium than milk and cheese, and they don’t come with the negative side effects of dairy products, like weight gain and inflammation.
TRUTH: You DON’T! You can get the calcium you need from plant-based sources like leafy greens (like kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and bok choy), oranges, almonds, beans, and even tofu. Plus, with so many dairy alternatives available these days, it’s easier than ever!
NUTRITION MYTH 8 – Organic food is healthier than conventional food.
Organic food is healthier than conventional food. This is also a myth. In reality, organic food is not always healthier than conventional food.
The reason for this is that the term “organic” has a lot of different meanings and can be used to refer to anything from the way a farm is run, which could include pesticides and GMOs in their practices, to whether or not the product was grown in soil that was amended with composted materials.
Because there are so many different ways to define what it means to be “organic,” it’s hard to say that one type of food is inherently better than another when they’re all labeled as “organic.”
A recent study found that people who ate organic foods had higher levels of phthalate exposure (a chemical banned from children’s toys) than those who ate conventionally-produced foods. This suggests that eating conventionally-produced foods may be healthier!
Research shows that people who eat organic foods tend to rate them as tasting better than non-organic foods, but this has nothing to do with their nutritional value and everything to do with the way they’re processed by your brain.
When you eat something that’s been processed in a certain way, whether it’s organic or not, your brain releases dopamine and other neurotransmitters, which make you feel good about what you’ve just eaten (and encourage you to keep eating).
This doesn’t mean that organic foods taste better than non-organic ones; it just means that they make you feel good when you eat them!
If you are concerned about your nutrition (and you should be: it’s been linked to nearly every disease out there), building a healthy diet is the most important thing you can do. But before doing that, you need to know what information is true and what isn’t.
So bust out that pen and paper, because this list of 8 nutrition myths is not something to take lightly. Remember: while it’s crucial to nourish your body with real food, it’s also important to learn to separate fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition.
The health of your body (and mind) depends on it.
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