I’m not a Doctor. I’m not a Nutritionist or Dietician. I do not have a degree in nutritional science. I am not registered, licensed, and/or certified in anything related to health or nutrition. BUT, I have spent the last eight years learning as much as I can about the human body and how what, when and how much we eat effects health and wellness. I read research studies, I listed to countless podcasts, I spend hours digging into topics so that I can write blog posts here that are based on the most accurate information I can find. I have become a resource and consultant to many people when it comes to nutrition, diet and overall health. I love helping people that are trying to do the right thing, but are having trouble navigating all of the information that is out there. There are tons of myths and misconceptions out there on nutrition. I even hear people that have all the credentials that I don’t have spreading information that was debunked years ago. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to list a few of the most common myths and misconceptions that I see when it comes to nutrition.
1. You Need to Eat Every 2-3 Hours
You really don’t need to be constantly eating in order to lose weight. Studies have actually looked at this and found that smaller, more frequent meals have no effect on fat burning or body weight. Eating every 2-3 hours is inconvenient and completely unnecessary. In fact, just eating 2 or 3 times a day allows your digestive system to reset between meals. If nothing else, just eat when you’re hungry and make sure to choose healthy and nutritious foods. Don’t just eat because the clock says it’s lunch time. If you are not hungry at noon…wait until you are hungry to eat.
2. The Mainstream Media Can be Trusted For Nutrition Information
The media is part of the reason for all the nutrition confusion out there. With the ability to get clicks based on a catchy headline, media outlets often just pick up stories that they think will get your attention. I often find that most of them are inaccurate and are based on flimsy research or they just take one small piece of the findings and ignore the rest. Without even trying very hard, you can find two articles that directly contradict each other on the same media website.
3. Eggs (or Egg Yolks) Are Unhealthy
Eggs were unfairly demonized because the yolks are high in cholesterol. However, studies show that cholesterol from eggs doesn’t raise blood cholesterol in the majority of people. Furthermore, your body needs cholesterol and there is no evidence that the cholesterol that you eat raises the cholesterol that your body naturally makes. New studies that include hundreds of thousands of people show that eggs have no effect on heart disease in otherwise healthy individuals. When people talk about the so-called “bad” and “good” cholesterol, they’re referring to the proteins that carry cholesterol around. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. If you do your own research, you will find that cholesterol is not the enemy. The main determinant of heart disease risk is the type of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol around, not cholesterol itself.
If you are sourcing pasture-raised, organic eggs, they are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat. And guess what? Almost all the nutrients are found in the yolk, so if you hear someone tell you to just eat the egg whites, consider them out of touch with the latest nutritional studies.
4. Fruit Juice is Good For You
A lot of people believe that fruit juices are healthy. I can understand why. They come from fruit after all. But even if you know to avoid juice boxes and Sunny D and get the 100%, all-natural, “Simply” fruit juice, they usually still contain as much sugar as a soft drink! The issue is that when you extract the juice from fruit, you also remove the fiber. You also tend to consume way more juice that you would if you were actually eating a piece of fruit. A single serving (8 oz.) of orange juice contains just as much sugar (23 grams) as 2 whole oranges. It's also only 3 grams less sugar than 8 ounces of Coke! If you’re trying to avoid sugar (maybe you are doing No Sugar November or the Holistic Hundred Challenge), then you should avoid fruit juice as well. It is just as bad, and the small amounts of antioxidants do not make up for the large amounts of sugar.
5. Body Mass Index (BMI) Is a Good Indicator of Health
Health is About Way More Than How Much You Weigh. Everyone (doctors, health insurance companies, people in general) focuses way too much on just weight. The truth is that while for some people their height to weight ratio (aka BMI) can be an indicator that they need to lose weight, by itself, it is not a complete indicator of health. Many obese people are metabolically healthy, while many normal weight people have the same metabolic problems associated with obesity. Focusing just on body weight is counterproductive. I know several people that look healthy on the outside, but are suffering from metabolic diseases on the inside. So look beyond the scale. Have some bloodwork done once a year. Monitor how you feel. Eat whole foods and remove processed carbs and sugars from your diet. Focus on these things and you will be healthy, regardless of what your BMI is.
6. Carbohydrates Make You Fat
I think most people know that eating healthy fats will not make you fat. This has been a huge shift over the last 10 years, but I think most people know this now. However, I’m now hearing more and more people say that they are “cutting out” or “limiting” carbs to lose weight. Plenty of populations have eaten high-carb diets but remained healthy. But as with everything in nutrition, this depends on the context. Just as the wrong kinds of fat can be fattening, the wrong kinds of carbs can be fattening as well. It all depends on what type of carbs you are consuming. Sure, bread and pasta are classified as carbohydrates. But so are carrots and broccoli. If your goal is the lose some weight, you can accomplish your goal with a high-carb diet…but it has to be non-processed carbs. If it’s a carbohydrate in a package, it’s your enemy. If it’s a carbohydrate that came out of the ground or off of a tree or vine, it’s your friend!
7. Claims on Packaging Must Be True (The Government Regulates This, Right?)
People are more health conscious than ever before. But guess what? Food manufacturers are well aware of this, and have found ways to market the same old junk to the health-conscious population. You It’s not hard to find unhealthy junk food with health claims on the label, such as “whole grain”, “paleo”, “keto”, “essential vitamins”, “gluten free”, “organic” or my favorite, “natural”.
These labels are almost always misleading, and are used to trick people into thinking that they’re making the right choice for themselves (and their children). You can make all sorts of junk foods out of organic ingredients. If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t. In fact, if it’s even in a package at all, it’s likely not good for you!
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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,