Since everyone has to eat to live, everyone has their own idea on what healthy eating is, unfortunately these ideas are not always correct. It can be confusing and frustrating for those who do not know what to follow. It can also be frustrating for the nutritional professionals who do know what they are talking about, because certain myths and false nutrition information are set in people’s minds! In this blog I will talk about some myths that are common in nutrition, and reveal the truth.
Myth 1- As long as you watch your food intake you do not need to exercise.
The TRUTH: It is true that if you decrease your calorie intake from your normal intake, you will lose weight. However exercise is needed for a healthy lifestyle and to decrease body fat, and prevent cardiovascular disease. Some people trying to lose weight might get stuck on a plateau and need exercise to help tip the scale.
Myth 2- Too much sugar causes type II diabetes
The TRUTH: The actual cause of type II diabetes is not because of consuming too much sugar. Diabetes is the result of obesity, inactivity, high family prevalence of diabetes and poor diet. Basically, if all these factors are in play, then the risk of diabetes is higher. One who is obese, inactive, has a high occurrence of diabetes in the family, and on top of this drinks pop, eats candy bars and has a poor diet, then they are at risk for type II diabetes.
Myth 3- All fats are bad
The TRUTH: Fats are needed for the body to perform. Without fat our body would fail. It is the types of fats that we need to watch. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, are the types of fats that are healthier for our hearts and trans fats are the least heart healthy fats. Try avoiding fats with hydrogenated oils and also oils such as sunflower oil, and vegetable oils. Research is now showing a high omega 6 intake from vegetable oils is also a contributor to heart disease. Remember, however, if too much of any type of fat, even the good monounsaturated fat is consumed will result in gain weight.
Myth 4- Never eat after 8, it causes you to gain weight
The TRUTH: What types of foods are mostly consumed after 8pm? I know that sometimes I tend to consume high sugar, high fat foods in the evening after dinner, like pizza, cookies, chips, brownies and candy. If you are eating a healthy, nutritious dinner at 9 pm, because you got off work late, then that is completely fine. You will then not gain any weight if you are eating a late dinner, and had not previously eaten dinner. The weight gain comes when dinner is already eaten, and you are consuming foods on top of everything. The calories will increase for the day, and cause you to gain weight. Eating before bed does not cause any change in digestion, and will not cause weight gain unless the calories are extra from your daily allowance.
Myth 5- Avoid eggs and seafood like shrimp, because they raise your cholesterol.
The TRUTH: The main contributor to increased cholesterol levels is your saturated fat and trans fatty acid intake. Eggs and seafood such as shrimp do contain cholesterol, but they will do little to contribute to increasing your blood cholesterol. However, I do choose to eliminate all animal products from my diet! Your body can produce the ever so important cholesterol (for building and maintaining cell membranes, membrane fluidity, absorption of fat soluble vitamins A D E and K, synthesis of steroid hormones and much more) on its own without getting it through diet. Too much cholesterol created from saturated fat and damaged fats such as trans fatty acids are unneeded and can contribute to heart disease.
Myth 6- Skipping meals causes you to lose weight.
The TRUTH: Your body will go into starvation mode if you skip meals regularly. Your body will not know when it will get fed next, so it will start to save the extra fat. You are doing yourself more harm than good when regularly skipping meals. In actuality you probably will gain weight or have a very hard time losing weight. Focus on eating six small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level and you body and brain happy! This will also help improve your school and work performance if you are getting proper nutrition. And ALWAYS eat breakfast.
Myth 7- Margarine is healthier than Butter
The TRUTH: Stick margarine contains trans fatty acids which contribute heart disease. Trans fatty acids which are damaged fats, contribute to heart disease. Choose butter over margarine. But, if you can, choose oils such as olive oils and olive oil based tub margarines with no hydrogenated oils (which are trans fats) instead of butter. Trans fatty acids are not always listed on the nutrition facts, so be sure to read the ingredients label for these terms.
Myth 8- Nuts contain cholesterol
The TRUTH: Nuts are plant based. All plant based foods do not contain cholesterol. It is common to think that since nuts are high in fat that they also contain cholesterol, but this is a myth. Only animal products contain cholesterol.
Myth 9- Carbs make you fat
The TRUTH: Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our bodies. Without carbohydrates other sources are used such as fat, which result in ketosis. Ketosis is the result of a high fat diet, which produce ketones. Ketones are toxic to the body and cause damage to the kidneys and liver. Of course if you eat too much carbohydrate, you will gain weight, but that is with anything. Your body needs carbohydrates, don’t let Mr. Adkin’s tell you otherwise. Focus on eating whole grains and forget the refined white carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes, cookies these refined carbohydrates leave you feeling less full.
Myth 10- Wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming
The TRUTH: Your gut does require blood to help digest food after you have eaten, but this will not hinder your arms, legs and muscles from working they way they should while swimming. You will not drown if you just ate and jumped in…..unless you can’t swim!
Myth 11- Naturally “skinny” people do not need to watch what they eat or exercise.
The TRUTH: Scientists are now talking about a new classification of people called “skinny obese.” These people usually eat anything they want and do not gain any weight. These people can have the same amount of internal body fat as an obese person. On the scale they appear to be at a normal weight, and have a healthy BMI, but they have a a high level of body fat. BMI can be misleading and according to a 2009 study in the European Heart Journal of 30 million Americans fall into the skinny obese category. The study found that despite the BMI category as normal, the people had high levels of body fat and already signs of cardiovascular disease and signs of metabolic syndrome. Just because you are skinny doesn’t give you freedom to skip the exercise. Eat healthy and get in your cardio most days of the week and resistance training 2-3 times a week. Just remember just because you are skinny doesn’t mean you are healthy. Don’t get wrapped up too much on your skinniness, focus on your healthiness!
Don’t believe everything you read, and hear unless it it coming from someone educated in nutrition or a nutrition professional. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!