Let’s take a closer look at some of the best-known nutritional myths and legends

There are some nutritional myths and lies which have been around and have been repeated so many times that people have truly started believing them. Well, it is time that these wrongful myths are busted once and for all.

Food myth number 1 – eating eggs will raise your cholesterol levels

Well, after eggs have been demonized as harmful and dangerous for years now, finally some clarifications have been made about the effect eggs have on human blood cholesterol levels. Serious scientific studies have found that even though egg yolks are high in cholesterol, they have very little effect on the total cholesterol levels or on the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. In fact, this research has shown that cholesterol in foods has a smaller effect on the cholesterol levels as compared to the effect which fat in the diet has. As a conclusion, the results of the studies have found that the consumption of maximum an egg a day does not increase the risk of heart disease in people who are healthy, and that the proteins, the vitamin B12, vitamin D, the riboflavin and the folate in an egg can actually lower the risk of developing heart disease. Other studies have proven that the unique antioxidants in eggs can actually help protect the eyes.

The bottom line on this food myth is that being one of the top nutritious natural foods on the planet, the egg is recommended as a great breakfast food, and can actually facilitate the loss of excess body weight.

Food myth number 2: the consumption of proteins can cause damage to the bones and kidneys

Whilst people who already suffer from kidney disease are advised to limit protein consumption, studies have found that proteins do not cause kidney disease in healthy people.

Also, the theory that high-protein diets can cause osteoporosis has been debunked by studies which have shown that in the long term, proteins improve the strength of the bones and reduce the risk of fracturing a bone.

The conclusion is that a high protein diet will actually improve the bone structure in the long run, and will not harm the kidney function if you are healthy in the first place.

Food myth number 3: people should eat small meals multiple times a day in order to keep the metabolism working.

While it is true that eating does raise the metabolism rate slightly during digestion because of the so-called specific dynamic action, this is boosted by the amount of food consumed rather than the total number of meals per day. In fact, according to a number of scientists there is no strong data to support the “three-hour diet” rule, but most of them agree that it is the total reduction in the calories which counts, rather than the way they are distributed within the day.

A team of nutrition researchers also agreed with this in their editorial publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which they agreed upon the idea that it is the calories burned rather than the number of meals one has per day.

Possibly the positive side of this 6 meal diet is the idea that the meals should be smaller, so this could help control and limit the caloric intake per day.

But, other scientific research shows that this constant feeding of the organism may even be harmful. The reason is that the human organism is not naturally meant to be in a constantly fed state, and in the times between meals and after digestion, the organism cleans itself out of waste products – this is initiated by a process in the cells called autophagy.

In fact, according to a number of nutritionists and doctors, fasting for limited time can actually improve the health, resolve certain illnesses and can reduce the risk of serious illnesses.

Conclusion: there is no scientific evidence that eating small meals every three hours is healthier or will lead to greater weight loss than simply reducing the size and calorie value of the regular meals a person eats.

Food myth number 4: eating saturated fat is harmful.

For years we have been hearing how eating bacon, cheese, butter, meat or coconut oil is harmful and can cause heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, and as it turns out according to some recent research and studies, there is no significant scientific evidence that the consumption of saturated fat has any association with a greater risk of cardio vascular disease or coronary heart. In fact, there have been studies which have found that limiting the intake of saturated fat foods after the age of 40 increases the risk of obesity and heart disease – the reason being that the replacement foods of the so-called “bad” saturated fats usually contain extra sugar to replace the taste of fat.

So, our conclusion is that natural saturated fat is not harmful and can actually be good, or at least it is better than the processed foods and those with added sugar and other artificial ingredients for extra taste.

Food myth number 5: grain should be in everybody’s diet.

Studies have shown that the human genes have remained relatively the same ever since the prehistoric times, when our ancestors lived for ages eating whatever they could gather or hunt down, and this didn’t include any grains. The cultivation and consumption of grains began much later in the human history with the agricultural revolution.

This means that eating grains is not the “natural” thing for humans, and in fact they contain phytic acid which actually prevents the essential minerals in grains to be absorbed by the organism. It is also a fact that grains are quite low in nutrients as compared to vegetable and other real foods.

Furthermore, some research shows that wheat, which is the most popular grain in the western culture can actually cause a number of health problems. The gluten in wheat causes pain, bloating, damage to the intestines, tiredness to those who are gluten intolerant and people with celiac disease, and gluten has also been found to be correlated to schizophrenia and another serious brain disorder – cerebellar ataxia.

The conclusion is that grain can lead to certain health issues and is not an essential source of nutrients such as the real foods are.

Food myth number 6: Omega-6 oils and seeds are good for us.

Omega-6 fatty acids are part of the polyunsaturated fats, which are considered to be “good” fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are part of them too, but there is a difference between the two.

The Omega-3 fatty acids help lower triglyceride levels in the blood stream, they also help sooth arthritis as well as other inflammatory diseases, help with depression and protect from the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as from ADHD.

At the same time, the Omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils, seeds, nuts and certain grains are also essential for the human organism, but it is important that the amount is controlled, and even more importantly that the appropriate ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 is maintained. Otherwise, excessive amounts of Omega-6 may increase the risk of heart disease.

Conclusion: to stay on the safe line and stay healthy, try consuming more animal-based Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart, and reduce the consumption of Omega-6 rich processed foods and foods which have been fried and cooked in vegetable oil in high temperatures.

Food myth number 7: low-fat food is healthy.

The growing popularity of low fat foods, and the growing competition among food producers has made them experiment and add more and different artificial ingredients, sweeteners like sugar or high fructose corn syrup or harmful artificial sweeteners in order to compensate for the lack of fat. And we all know what fructose can cause, including: obesity, type II diabetes, depression and heart disease. Most artificial sweeteners are known to cause serious health problems including certain types of cancer.

Our conclusion is that it is better to eat healthy natural fat, rather than choose the processed low-fat foods with all sorts of added sugar and other harmful ingredients to them.

Food myth number 8: carbohydrates should be the main source of calories.

For people who follow the low-fat diet, carbs are meant to be the main source of calorie in their daily meals, amounting to about 50-60% which is definitely not a healthy choice for people who suffer from metabolic syndrome or obesity.

In fact, the low-fat diet has been so scrutinized and criticized recently, that the conclusion of this myth is clear – low-fat diets involving a high-carb consumption is not only not going to help weight loss but can actually be downright harmful.

Food myth number 9: the low-carb diet is harmful or dangerous

After the low-fat diet being promoted as healthy for years, and the low-carb diet as being bad or dangerous for the health, a number of studies have been held to prove that the low-carb diet is not only not dangerous, but that it can help in losing body fat and weight, normalize blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, increase the good HDL cholesterol levels, lower the level of triglycerides and help improve the total cholesterol.

Conclusion: the low-carb diet is an easy and healthy way to lose some excess weight, and reduce the risks associated with obesity.

Food myth number 10: sugar is bad for the health because of the empty calories it contains.

First of all, it is true that sugar has a lot of calories and no essential nutrients, but the real reason why sugar stimulates rapid weight gain and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, metabolic disease and other potentially dangerous health conditions is the high fructose content sugar has.

Conclusion: calories are not the primary harmful part of sugar, but rather the fructose it contains and the potentially harmful effects it may have on the human organism is.

Food myth 11 – foods which are considered high-fat will actually make you fat.

While it does sound logical that eating high-fat foods will make you fat, ultimately it is the carbs you combine them with which cause the body to get fat. Even though high-fat foods have much more calories than proteins or carbohydrates, it is actually a combination of a high-carb and high-fat diet which could make a person gain weight.

Conclusion: combining a high-fat and low-carb diet will cause a greater fat loss than the low-fat diets.

4 thoughts on “Let’s take a closer look at some of the best-known nutritional myths and legends

  1. I could talk, read, and research this stuff all day. Our food system is so messed up, and sugar has so much to do with it. I wish more people really cared about what they are eating. Once we can collectively identify sugar as an addictive substance, hopefully it will change the way America sees food.

  2. I love how articles make it all out to be bad. I’m not saying that food we eat isn’t natural anymore and our bodies have by far indeed not adjusted to processed foods. But at the same hand, weight is based on a simple method: caloric intake versus caloric burn rate.

    I was 230. I went on a diet. I ate 1000 calories of junk food (twinkies, cake, Debbie snakes, etc) 4-8 oz of meat, a can of French green beans (no salt added) and a can of corn and a 2 liter of diet dew a day, doing moderate workouts. Guess what? I lose weight. I lost near 30 lbs in 2 months. You know why? Because I burned more than I ate.

    Am I saying I was the healthiest person, no. But I take no medicine, and actually have to intake extra salt due since I have really low blood pressure. Meaning once a week or two I make myself some fries or go out and get a burger and fries at a sit down dinner, and pile on salt.

    People need to learn something, called self control. That is what the one line says on don’t have it in the house. I have no self-control unless I’m officially dieting, as in to lose weight, not a lifestyle dieting. If I’m not dieting, a box of snackcakes Is gone in 24hrs. That 2lb bag of Swedish fish is gone in a night. 3k calories Wo0t! Now if I am dieting, the fish never get bought and that snackcake box is counted into my strict diet.

    Is less sugar good for you? Sure, but then again, it can be as bad as this and every article make it out to be. Follow your common sense that your people have been saying, your fat gut is their because you ate to damn much. Lose it when you stop overeating yourself.

    1. Family and I moved fom USA to Taiwan due to company downsizing in the US. What an eye opener on sugar, carbs, portion size, and American nutritional education.

      At first we found birthday cakes, donuts, fancy coffee etc tasted so bland. Now when we visit family back in the US in I am given some treat like a piece of cake I cannot eat more than a bite or two. I still remember going through drive though of fancy coffee shop (SB) for a large vanilla latte… My mind kind of lock up for a second when I saw the size of large….. Seemed like it was 12″ tall or something…

      I thought they had a new super monster size being given by mistake…. Nope, just a large they say. I could only drink about a fourth of it because it was too sweet and too big. Remember that while some sweeters might be better for you than sugar, you cannot use 3 times more of it 🙂

  3. I am in the midst of a “cold turkey” solution, and the only reason I do that is that my sugar intake is inconsistent – I don’t drink 12 cans of pop a week that I can decrease incrementally, I just tend to cave every time I feel like I want sugar. Also, I am totally and completely addicted to it. What sucks is that I’ve broken away before, but if I start up again, it is back to the old habits… sigh!

    Your “get mad” strategy really resonated with me – gonna give that a try!

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