15 COMMON NUTRITION MYTHS DEBUNKED
We as an entire generation focus on fitness and keeping our body healthy. A huge part of fitness is taking in the right nutrition for our body. Research shows that 95% of the diets fail for people.
Why bust the myths?
We follow unhealthy diet regimes or random “facts” about our daily nutrition. But we fail to recognize that most of these are myths, not scientific facts. This leads to an unhealthy life followed by lifestyle diseases. This is why busting nutrition myths have become the need of the hour.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common nutrition myths.
- 1. Low-fat high-carb diets are good for health
Low-fat, high-carb diets comprise of grains and less fatty products. These claimed to reduce the risk of heart diseases, make people healthy and even prevent cancer! Many of the recent studies show that undertaking such a diet does not affect the chance of getting cancer or heart diseases in the long term. A diet that is high in fat but low in carbs could lead to more weight loss than a low-fat diet.
- Egg yolks lead to cholesterol
Say what? Who even thought that eating egg yolks would increase the risk of cholesterol!
Now the fact is that egg yolks do contain dietary cholesterol. But that is very different from serum cholesterol. Only bad cholesterol leads to health problems.
Having high cholesterol leads to a risk of heart diseases in future. But dietary cholesterol does not affect the cholesterol in your blood, i.e. serum cholesterol. Serum cholesterol is the one responsible for creating good and bad cholesterol.
Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods ever. Almost all the nutrients are present in the yolks.
- Coffee is bad for your body
Coffee has been labelled “unhealthy” mainly because of its caffeine content. Caffeine is often termed as being addictive. Coffee is found to be full of antioxidants. Nutritionists all over the world say that coffee drinkers live longer. They also have a lower risk of many diseases.
So, if you’re feeling guilty about your morning cup of coffee, don’t be!
- Protein shakes for fitness
Proteins are good for health. High protein intake is a perfectly safe habit to have. It lowers blood pressure and helps fight diabetes, which could lead to kidney failure. Yet, drinking bottles of protein drinks after a gym session is not the right habit.
Protein shakes are not the ideal post-workout drink, regardless of the rumours. Instead, try drinking more natural beverages like green tea. This is nutritious and organic. It is very good when combined with a healthy regime of exercises.
- Avoiding dairy products for good health
Milk and other dairy products have long been blamed for being “fattening” and unhealthy. But guys, we need to remember that products containing “fat” doesn’t necessarily contribute to bad cholesterol. Fat-free products may have other ingredients like sugar and undesirable nutrients that increase their calorie content.
This could have many adverse effects, especially in children. Children need milk and other dairy products. They are rich in calcium and contribute to their healthy bone growth.
- Less salt means less blood pressure
It is a fact that people suffering from blood pressure issues are advised to lower their salt intake. It has been found that lowering the amount of salt used can reduce blood pressure, but only up to a certain point. Asking everyone to forgo salt in their meals, making them bland and tasteless is not sound advice. Salt contains sodium, which is necessary for our body.
- All food items have equal calories, irrespective of the type
Eating the same amount of chicken and cookies does not produce equal calories. The body makes use of the nutrients and minerals in the foods in different ways. As a result, the amount of calories produced by different foods also varies.
Keep in mind that the body needs different nutrients in different amounts. So, calories vary accordingly.
- Eating red meat is not healthy
Any meat that is red when raw can be called red meat. This includes meats such as beef, pork and lamb. Often, they have been termed as causing heart diseases and cancer. But later studies prove it is not so. Now, red meat is being produced organically. There is no risk in eating unprocessed red meat as commonly believed.
- Protein reduces calcium in the body
Protein is said to reduce calcium and cause osteoporosis in bones. But this is not a fact. Protein can bolster the strength of a person in reality. Though over-intake of protein may cause a reduction of calcium at first, the effect is not long term. The body adapts itself and uses the necessary protein to increase strength.
- Refined oils mean reduced cholesterol
Refined oils are those which have been treated by some process, chemical or otherwise to purify it. But, the consumption of refined oil doesn’t reduce the risk of heart attacks. Canola oil, vegetable oils like soya bean oil, margarine etc., are found to be extremely harmful to health and should be avoided. Even though vegetable oils have omega 6 polyunsaturated fats which could help in lowering cholesterol, it doesn’t automatically mean reduced risk to heart attacks. Use of such processed oils may make you fat and more prone to diseases.
- Eating small meals spaced out is good
Your meal-plan should be wholesome. Eating small portions of food at different times in the day could have adverse effects. Our body has an internal clock that is in sync with our metabolism. Suddenly changing the time of eating food, reducing the portions of food is not the right way to increase metabolism. Frequent small meals instead of having 3 or 4 proper meals could cause health issues.
- Whole wheat is more nutritious
Among grains, wheat is said to have a lot of health benefits. Whole wheat is essentially the one where the bran, the germ, and the endosperm of the wheat kernel have all been left intact. It is said to make it more nutritious. However, due to modern ways of processing, the wheat most people consume is not nutritious. It can increase cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers.
- Saturated fat intake is unhealthy
A kind of dietary fat, this can be usually found in food products like butter and red meat. It is widely believed to cause heart diseases. But recent studies show that this might not be the case at all. Reasonable intake of saturated fat is good for the body.
- 8 glasses of water a day for good health
While it is important for our body to remain hydrated, water intake does not need to be so precise. Also, you need not stick to water to quench your thirst. Several nutritionists recommend drinking fruit juices, milk and having fruits to combat thirst. Having a good amount of water in our body keeps us hydrated and energetic. But there are a lot of products that can meet the fluid needs of the body.
- Better health can be obtained by exercising alone
No, your nutrition plays the most important role in your health. Of course, people may feel like exercise is an important part of weight loss. Bodyweight is also impacted by various other factors like hormones and genes. But just exercise, not supplemented by a healthy diet will not give results – be it losing weight or increasing metabolism. It all comes down to proper diet. Eating junk food even if you’re exercising will only cause health problems.
References: 29, 30
I will leave you with this – it is completely natural to care about our body and health. It is also obvious that we’ll be concerned about preparing the proper nutrition for us and our family. But plagued by myths, the actual idea of nutrition gets lost sometimes. Before blindly believing in a diet and excluding certain food items that are “said to be” unhealthy, take some time out to think about it. Find out whether the assumptions are true or not. Taking a quick decision may prove to have drastic effects in future leading from malnourishment to serious diseases. So make sure that you consult an expert rather than preparing an amateur nutrition plan. Be safe, be healthy!