Food Freedom Friday Edition 114 - Nutrition Myths

There are many myths, hypes, fads and ‘false truths’ when it comes to nutrition. Each of these didn’t start off this way. They began as simple hypotheses to things.

For example, if the hypothesis creates an idea that eating fats is bad then any food containing a lot of fat will be labelled as bad. Same with cholesterol.

As the body of evidence grows and the research science improves the is a better understanding of nutrition and how the human body actually functions. This allow us to better discriminate between fact and fiction.  

Low-Fat Foods are Good for You

For starters, foods that naturally contain fat and have that fat removed usually taste very bland. The fat in a lot of foods contains most of the flavor. When you take that fat out, you lose a lot of what makes that food taste amazing. Fat is the powerhouse of flavor.

This is why, when it comes to low-fat foods, there is usually something added to them to make up for the loss of flavor (sugars or high fructose syrups). It is difficult (okay, next to impossible) to find a food that has fat taken out of it yet remains unprocessed. Processed foods always have some extra additives that will somehow end up doing more harm than good to your body. 

In the end, you will end up having less fat enter your body, but your body may end up creating more stored fat because of the excess number of added sweeteners.

It would make more sense to eat foods as they are naturally found in nature, that still contain their fats and are not processed. Your body will react to them a little better than the processed foods regardless of what your diet is. The body does best with real, whole, naturally occurring foods and thus whenever you add something that usually is not present in foods, your body knows and you will end up suffering the consequences. 

Carbohydrates Should Be Your Biggest Source of Calories

If you are highly active, then this might have to be an option for you. However, if your activity level is not that of a professional athlete, then you might be wise to reconsider this statement. 

Carbohydrates are a good source of energy. Your body uses them as a fuel source. However, when you are not using all the carbohydrates you are consuming, they will be stored as fat.

There are many nutrition philosophies supporting a low carb, high fat consumption. Their results are often way more beneficial from both a body composition and wellness perspective than a low-fat approach.

Low Carbohydrate Diets are Dangerous

Low carbohydrate diets get a bad reputation for some reason. Some people believe that carbohydrates are the source that makes your body fully functional. 
As mentioned above, carbohydrates are a good source of energy, but if you aren’t training like a professional athlete, they are something that you can honestly just stay away from. 

Being on a low carbohydrate diet can greatly benefit you in multiple ways. If you are looking to drop body fat then looking into a lowering your carbohydrate diet is recommended. Specifically, a ketogenic diet will allow you to lose body fat while gaining many more health benefits (better cholesterol, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and lower risk of cancer to name a few).

High-Fat Foods Will Make You Fat

It makes sense if you think that if you eat high-fat foods, you will subsequently gain more fat. However, this is all dependent on the remainder of your diet. 

High fat, high carbohydrate diets are going to, without a doubt, cause you to gain a lot more body fat along with some negative health consequences as an added bonus. Even if you are very active, it could be difficult to counteract the carbohydrate and fat load that is slowly gathering on your body. 

Fats are not going to cause you to gain more fat. Carbohydrates are the variable in this situation. Carbohydrates are what your body will hold on to when there is excess fuel available. Once processed by your body, carbohydrates are converted into sugar (glucose) which is in turn stored as fat when there is excess fuel available. This is turn makes losing fat even more challenging.

Eggs are Unhealthy

Eggs have been part of many traditional diets for generations. They serve many different cultures well in morning, noon and evening meals. Some consider them to be unhealthy because it was once theorized that they can raise your cholesterol.

What the latest research shows is that egg consumption can actually raise your ‘good’ cholesterol. Essentially this will support, rather than hinder heart health.

Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient dense foods you can consume, playing a role is many physiological functions, including liver health. Eggs are also high in protein and can thus come in handy if you are looking for quick and easy sources of protein for you daily restoration and repair functions. The low carbohydrate content of eggs also helps aid in fat loss.

You Should Eat A Lot of Small Meals Throughout the Day

This is a myth that is believed to be true because it is theorized that it will help keep your metabolism high. A high metabolism will help lead you to maintain your weight or even losing weight. 

The important thing to remember here is that when you are eating, it is not simply the timing, but the types of food and total amount of these types that you eat in a day/week/month that matters.  It is not solely a matter of calories, but how those calories impact your body functions and the hormones that govern your metabolism.

Whether you eat a lot of small meals throughout the day or eat one giant meal, if you eat the same amount, the results may or may not differ from each other depending on your specific, individual set of circumstances.

There is a form of fasting called intermittent fasting that I regularly support and recommend to help people lose fat and attain their wellness goal. Although the timing of meals is significantly different (one consumes all of their daily caloric needs in a much shorter period of time), the types of foods chosen when one is eating work concurrently to make this approach successful. On other plans (a stringent detox for example), many smaller meals throughout the day are recommended. Both plans have their benefits and both are combined with specific food choices to ensure their efficacy.

Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad for Your Bones and Kidneys

Protein is something that your body needs for everyday restoration and repair and when trying to recover from physical activity.

Simply stated, the research is clear: long term higher protein nutrition plans are associated with better bone health. Protein supports bone integrity and allows essential nutrients to enter the bone matrix for strong bone development and maintenance 

When it comes to your kidney health, protein is also supportive unless one is suffering from kidney disease. Higher protein consumption does not cause kidney disease but can exacerbate an existent illness. Two factors that lead to poor kidney function are diabetes and high blood pressure. When you eat a lot of well-sourced, naturally occurring protein, the risk of having those factors is greatly reduced.

Consuming adequate protein in your diet is going to improve your health more than anything.

Don’t Believe It All

If you read something about nutrition that you may honestly not be too sure about, do extra research, consult a professional who has real training in these matters and see what other sources have to say about the issue. 

There are a lot of cases where ‘leading experts’ say one thing, but the truth is completely different. Don’t fall into the trap some companies may try to place for you where their financial interests take preference over your health. Do your homework! Research is going to help you in the long run and possibly even keep your health where it needs to be so that you can have a long and sustainable life.

Michal Ofer