As you know, the world is more connected than ever. The media is constantly inundating us with nutrition information and news, but is any of it even true? Remember, the job of a reporter is to present a news story and cover that topic as it is continuing to unfold; it is not always an objective presentation of carefully researched facts. You can’t believe everything you hear or read.
Searching for information now is literally in the palm of your hand. The device you hold in your hand daily computes more information today than an average computer did 10 years ago! As a result, the information you search may not be accurate. Articles and headlines that are filling your timelines are designed to grab your attention with their clickbait topic headings. Just realize many of these items are fabricated to get a response from you, the audience, and nutritional information is often delivered in the same deceitful manner.
Media reports will say that the stance on particular foods or health topics has shifted. For example, food that was once viewed as unhealthy may now be the missing link your diet needs, or just the opposite! Or, that new research shows that specific foods or supplements contribute to better, faster, and more drastic weight loss. DON’T FALL VICTIM TO THESE FALSE CLAIMS! Nutrition lies are so common in the media, and are often created to persuade the reader to spend money.
Here are 10 common lies you need to pay attention to:
1. Eating fat makes you fat
2. Sugar is the enemy
3. Calorie control is the only effective way to control your weight
4. Whole wheat and whole grains are good for you and should make up a large portion of your diet
5. Too much protein can cause long term health problems
6. Milk does the body good
7. Artificial Sweeteners are safe sugar replacements
8. Eggs (yolks) are unhealthy and are high in cholesterol
9. Supplementation can make up for a poor diet
10. Coffee is bad for you
Let’s break these down!
Lie #1: Eating fat make you fat
People were concerned that eating fats, especially saturated fats, were creating dangerous conditions for the heart. Due to this notion, and falsified research (such as the sugar industry scandal) people were all over the low-fat craze that spread like a virus for the better part of 50 years. Since that time, new research has surfaced that shows fats are actually critical to your body’s function. Hence, fats (lipids) are also known as an essential macronutrient. Your body literally needs fats to survive and function properly.
• Not all fats are created equal. Fats such as Omega-6 fats can cause chronic inflammation if the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 is thrown off in the body. A poor ratio can lead to heart disease, autoimmune disease, and even cancer.
• High fat diets such as Keto and the Mediterranean diet have be shown to help reduce inflammation, and even lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
• High fat diets can aid in weight loss, and even reverse some disease symptoms when applied correctly.
• Incorporate healthy fats including saturated fats into your diet.
• Utilize oils and fats with higher smoke points when cooking. Cooking with high heat can damage the integrity of the fats. Some great cooking fats include: coconut, ghee, and avocado.
• Incorporate fats that have higher Omega-3 fatty acids when eating raw applications of food. Some high Omega-3 fats include: Fish, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Walnuts. Hemp Seeds, Egg Yolks (Free Range & Organic).
Lie #2: Sugar is the enemy
We need to consider the source of sugar. Refined sugar is the main enemy. Items with refined sugar typically have high calories and significantly affect the production of insulin. Data on refined sugar being linked to diseases has led to people to believe that all sugar is the enemy.
• Not all sugar is bad. Sugars from fruits and natural sources are items you should incorporate into your routine.
• Sources of sugar that are natural actually provide health benefits. The human body thrives off of a balance of nutrients, and sugar just so happens to be one of those that helps provide balance.
• People have been shaped to believe that artificial sweeteners are a better and safer alternative to refined sugar, when in all actuality we can argue that they cause more harm in the body than sugar (including refined sugar).
• Consume natural sugar from whole food sources.
• Use natural sweeteners, but do so in moderation.
• Consider using raw stevia, raw honey, organic maple syrup, or even monk fruit in place of refined sugar or sugar alternatives.
• Using some of the recommended natural alternatives can even provide health benefits and immune system functionality.
Lie #3: The only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories
Countless people believe the only way to lose weight is to simply go into a caloric deficit. While this may be effective in the short term, give someone a calorie total that is too low and most people will fall off track after a few days or even weeks reverting back to old habits.
• Food quality plays an important role in helping lose weight more than calories alone.
• Most high quality food items tend to be more satiating and as a result you are less likely binge on these less than optimal choices.
• A drastic deficit is unsustainable long term.
• Cake and donuts won’t make you fat, but eating them in excess will. You can bake your cake and eat it too, just in moderation. Don’t think that just because it is decadent and delicious that it can’t work into a routine that helps you lose weight.
• Eating ample protein is the best place to start in order to help see results.
• Focus on food quality first.
• Finding a way to focus on establishing a baseline intake is always recommended when starting a diet prescription. You can’t just make a significant change and expect it to work long term.
• Don’t try and become too restricted or confined to specific foods.
• Focusing on establishing a routine with your eating and documenting food items into some form of logging application or journal is essential. Understanding your eating habits allows you to make an educated decision to adjust your food intake.
Lie #4: Whole wheat and whole grains are good for you and should make up a large portion of your diet
If you were to look at the infamous USDA food pyramid you would find that grains are at the base of the pyramid. This indicates that one’s diet should consist of greater quantities of grains than meats, and even fruits and vegetables.
• Wheat has gone through so many genetic changes over the last 50-70 years that the healthy qualities it may have possessed in the past is no longer a reality today.
• Grains as a whole do not contain as rich of a nutrient profile as fruits and vegetables.
• Certain grains such as wheat have been linked to health problems and increasing blood sugar more than table sugar.
• Compose your diet primarily of fruits, veggies, high quality meats, and some grains.
• Consider removing grains for a period of time and reintroducing them one by one to see which ones your body is actually intolerant to.
• Opt for organic or sprouted variations of grains as these have the highest bioavailability.
Lie #5: Too much protein can cause long term health problems
Overconsumption of protein is a result of high protein fad diets popularized years ago. Claims that high levels of protein contribute to health issues have been shown to be not true, or that there is no evidence to support the claims.
• Protein is an essential nutrient for the body, but the amount required varies greatly by the individual.
• Proteins are critical in hormone, bone and cell health.
• Protein is vital in preventing fatty build up and damage to the liver, and essential in repairing the body.
• Add a variety of proteins into your daily routine.
• Opt for grass-fed, or wild variations if consuming animal proteins.
• Stay away from conventionally raised meats.
• Enjoy some of the following to help change your intake:
○ Free range organic eggs
○ Sprouted seeds
○ Sprouted nuts
○ Nut butters
○ Wild-caught fish
○ Grass-fed organic beef
○ Free range organic chicken
Lie #6: Milk does the body good
Advertisements and propaganda aside, milk has the makings of a quality post-workout item, but the negatives of milk as a whole far outweigh the benefits. Drinking milk does not build stronger bones. According to research, 60% of people are lactose intolerant, and there are no magical qualities that help promote weight loss.
• Dairy causes bloating for those who are either allergic or have sensitivities.
• Excessive consumption can increase mucus production and worsen asthma.
• Removing dairy can help improve digestion.
• Clearer skin is associated with people removing dairy products from their routines.
• Reduce overall amounts of dairy products in your daily routine.
• Try using alternatives like goats’ milk, coconut milk, or almond milk.
• When consuming dairy products try A2 milk or milk in its raw form.
• Utilize items such as kefir, amasai, or ghee. These items are commonly found using milk with A2 casein or goat’s milk which is less reactive in individuals.
Lie #7: Artificial Sweeteners are safe sugar replacements
The intent of artificial sweeteners were to help avoid sugar, lose weight and curb cravings, but the irony is that people using products with artificial sweeteners actually show an increase in weight compared to those who consume normal caloric sweeteners.
• Artificial sweeteners create sweet cravings and lead to increased sugar consumption.
• The body’s ability to naturally count calories is disrupted when consuming artificial sweeteners and lead to consuming more high-calorie foods.
• Use natural sweeteners in place of artificial ones.
• Drink naturally flavored items that do not use sweeteners.
• Infuse water with natural items like:
○ Essential oils
Lie #8: Eggs (yolks) are unhealthy and are high in cholesterol
For years it has been speculated that there is a correlation between eggs (more specifically their saturated fat and cholesterol content) and heart disease. Just because eggs contain saturated fats does not mean they impact health markers in a negative manner.
• Egg yolks contain increase lutein (an antioxidant that protects eyes and skin) and zeaxantin (a carotenoid that protects the eye’s tissue, lens and macula), both of which contribute to eye health.
• Egg consumption does not influence cardiovascular disease.
• Eggs contain cholesterol, but cholesterol is actually important to vital processes in the body.
• Eat free range organic eggs
• Use a ratio of HDL to LDL when gauging cholesterol levels. A good ratio is 1:2.5 or lower, meaning your LDL number should be within 2.5 times the amount HDL.
Lie #9: Supplementation can make up for a poor diet
No amount of supplementation can make up for a poor diet. If there are no nutrient dense foods in one’s diet, then nutrient levels cannot be supplemented to adequate levels, no matter how many different supplements you take. No pill or supplement can recreate the necessary nutrients that come from WHOLE FOOD sources. Supplements are meant to fill voids, not to be used in place of food.
• Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are what should be supplemented.
• Supplements are meant to help achieve a result or create a slight excess of nutrients one may need, but cannot get with diet alone.
• Food based supplements work better than artificially created supplements due to increased bioavailability.
• Eat your fruits and vegetables.
• Focus on foods high in vitamin C, D and K, as well as ones rich in folate, magnesium, and potassium.
• Supplement when you may show signs of a deficiency or are using a diet protocol that doesn’t allow you to have optimal amounts of nutrient dense foods.
Lie #10: Coffee is bad for you
Coffee is primarily used for its stimulating effects. Caffeine elevates blood pressure levels short term, but is the short term spike a problem that would lead you to believe coffee is bad for your health? Truth be told the long term studies indicate more positives with coffee than negatives.
• Coffee can reduce the risk of serious disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
• You are 2/3’s less likely to have risk of Type II diabetes if you consume coffee.
• Caffeine can help mobilize fatty acids and boost metabolism.
• Coffee can help improve mood, memory, and brain function.
• Coffee contains high levels antioxidants, and contributes the largest amount of antioxidants in a western diet.
• Find a way consume the right amount of coffee for yourself based on caffeine sensitivity.
• Opt for organic coffee more often than not as conventional farming methods with coffee utilize high amounts of pesticides.
Hopefully, this information helped debunk some of the lies that are currently circulating in the media. These only scratch the surface, so if there are any other common lies you have heard that you want to know more about, comment below!