10 Nutrition Myths Busted

There seems to be a new diet and nutrition myth every day. A lot of these nutrition myths are engrained in our beliefs and people just do not question them. It is important to break these nutrition myths and get to the truths to ensure people are eating and living a healthy lifestyle without all this false information and these fad diets.


1. Low fat is better for you


There is this misconception in the health and fitness industry that has been extrapolated into the mainstream denouncing fat. The low-fat diet became popular in the 1960's and 1970's it was the dieting approach you have to be following.  The low-fat approach became an ideology, and all health practitioners, the government, the food industry and media were all advising it (2).


It was believed that the fat we eat caused people to become fat as well as other the cause of many chronic diseases such as heart disease.

The food industry began producing low-fat products and promoting them as healthier than high fat.


Firstly, fat is not bad, and the fat you eat is not the fat that you wear. Secondly, many of these low-fat products are high in sugar. Many people are unaware of the added sugar found in these low-fat products. However, the added sugar which is found in low-fat products is necessary otherwise the product will have no taste. The food industry has to include an element of flavour and taste to these low-fat products otherwise they would not sell. So how do you make a low-fat product taste nice? Add sugar.


Now sugar is a man-made product, fat is a naturally occurring source, so what would you rather consume.


Furthermore, there has been an overwhelming number of studies highlighting how sugar is key cause so many chronic diseases.


2. Cows milk is the only source of calcium


Cows milk is not the only source of calcium and you do not have to eat dairy to get it. There are plenty of other great sources of calcium, including; tofu, nuts, white beans, black-eyed peas, oranges green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, kale, okra. Fish- such as sardines.


Furthermore, a common belief was that milk was great for building strong bones. Milk contains calcium, protein, vitamin D and phosphorus, ingredients suggested as being beneficial for improving bone health. However, the potential benefit of milk on hip fracture prevention is not well established.


Research suggested that consuming milk while growing up will help make strong and healthy bones. A study found, however, that drinking milk during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture, it was actually associated with a borderline increase in fracture risk in men.


 3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day


Breakfast is simple the first meal you have that breaks your fast. You see after your last meal and while you are sleeping and until the moment you eat the next day is your fasting period. Therefore breakfast has no set time during the day. Sure people often eat as soon as they wake up, but it is not necessary. It is all personal preference, if you are someone who likes eating as soon as you wake up, that is fine.

However, if you are someone who is not hungry that early in the morning that is fine too, simply continue your fast and eat when you are hungry. It is always important to be intuitive and to listen to your body.


4. Carbohydrates make you fat


A new craze came about in the 1990's calling out carbohydrates as the 'evil' food. Making people switch from low-fat to low carb.

However, carbs do not make you fat. It is important to point out that carbohydrates are not created equally. What this means is that while carbs are not bad for you and they do not make you fat, there is always a better option and that moderation is key.


There are two types of carbohydrates simple carbs and complex carbs.  Simple carbs are broken down quickly in the body and therefore increases your blood sugar and in turn, spikes your insulin. However, on the other hand, complex carbs are broken down slower, due to their fibre content and energy is released slowly throughout the diet. Therefore there is not an increase in blood sugar levels and insulin.


A high sugar diet leads to insulin resistance and many other chronic diseases. Opt for whole foods, complex carbohydrates, such as quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice.


Although it is important to note that a low carb diet has been shown to help many with weight loss.


5. A snack bar which is “high protein” or “gluten-free” means it's healthy.


Nope. It is likely not to be. These bars are often just as processed, full of sugar and other ingredients you don't even know or can pronounce.


6. Fruit is bad


No, fruit contains many vital vitamins and minerals that are important for our health. Just because fruit is high in sugar does not mean it is bad for you.



7. Detox Teas cleanse your body and remove Toxins


Drinking detox teas will not cleanse or detox your body from toxins, our bodies are designed to do that by themselves. The liver, kidneys and spleen are 3 organs in the body which work to detoxify the body from toxins.


8. Eat Gluten Free


A gluten-free diet is for individuals who are either celiac or who are gluten sensitive.


Celiac Disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder, where ingestion of gluten results to damage in the small intestine. When an individual with celiac disease ingests gluten, the reaction can cause the cells lining the small intestine to become inflamed and flattened together. In some cases, it can even disappear, this is called "villous atrophy." This can cause malabsorption of nutrients and other health issues.


Individuals who suffer from intestinal or extra-intestinal symptoms triggered by gluten but do not meet the formal criteria for celiac disease may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.


Current research is now suggesting that individuals who do not suffer from Celiac Disease should not avoid gluten from their diet (5). The research suggests that avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. Whole grains are known to have cardiovascular health benefits. Therefore the researchers suggest that gluten-free diets, for those who are not Celiac should not be encouraged.


9. You need to eat large amounts of protein to get results


Many people believe they have to consume ridiculous amounts of protein to see results. People often prioritise protein at the expense of other macronutrients, however, it is not that serious. You most likely do not eat any more than 1.5g  of protein per kilo of bodyweight.


10. You need to eat protein 30 mins after working out.


Eating protein straight after your workout was a very common belief for a long time. However, it soon became a myth. You do not need to eat protein as soon as you finish your workout to avoid the anabolic window. Your body will not go anabolic just because it did not get protein 30 minutes after working out. Simply make sure you consume an adequate amount of protein throughout the whole day.


La Berge, AF. (2008). How the Ideology of Low Fat Conquered America. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 63(2, 1). 139–177. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/jhmas/article/63/2/139/772615/How-the-Ideology-of-Low-Fat-Conquered-America

Greger, M. (2017). Nutrition Facts Org. Why Is Milk Consumption Associated with More Bone Fractures? Available from: https://nutritionfacts.org/2017/01/31/why-is-milk-consumption-associated-with-more-bone-fractures/

(5) Lebwohl, B., Cao, Y., Zong, G., et al. (2017). Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2017;357:j1892. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1892






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