Nutrition Myth Busters
There are a lot of myths surrounding nutrition which makes it hard to know what is scientifically supported. We hope these four "myth-busters" get you thinking about the importance of knowing the facts about nutrition! This valuable food skill can help promote healthy eating in your life.
1. “Sugar is bad for you.”
This may not come as a surprise but not all sugars are detrimental to health. Dietary sugar has the potential to cause disease if it is over consumed. Studies show that this is particularly true when it comes to sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice. The takeaway? There is no need to refrain from fruits if that is what you are worried about! Just be mindful the next time you reach for a pop can. Avoid sources of added sugars when you can (pop, candy, cookies etc.).
2. “Going vegetarian will help you lose weight and be healthier.”
Vegetarian diets surely have their benefits but only if they are executed properly and consistently. These diets are beneficial for preventing and treating obesity and chronic health problems as they tend to be lower in saturated fat and higher in dietary fiber. These factors are correlated with weight loss.
However, people often fail to obtain an appropriate intake of macro- and micronutrients. For example, eliminating meat which has no carbohydrates and substituting it with a food like chickpeas can rapidly increase carbohydrate intake, possibly beyond healthy amounts. It is advisable to speak to a dietician or your primary care provider about whether vegetarianism is appropriate for you.
3. "Meat is unhealthy."
Meat often gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, however, many of the health arguments against the consumption of meat mostly apply to processed meats, which have been shown to be correlated with an increased rate of heart disease and diabetes.
Unprocessed meat, even red meat, has not been shown to share the same correlation.
Meat also has several health benefits, as it is a complete source of protein that provides all of the essential amino acids the body needs, contains minerals like zinc and heme iron, and is linked with increased lean muscle mass.
Experts advise a diet that is low in processed meat, high in plant based protein, and includes some proteins from animal sources, such as grass fed meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry.
4. "Carbohydrates make you overweight."
Carbohydrates are the body’s natural primary source of energy and should compromise anywhere from 45-65% of the average person’s diet.
Some believe that eating carbohydrates can lead to weight gain, and that foods such as bread, pasta, and fruit should be cut out of the diet to prevent fat storage.
In reality, eating too much of any type of food can lead to weight gain, especially highly processed foods 1 or foods high in added sugar.
Additionally, carbohydrate sources like whole grains and fruits are good sources of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. These sources of carbohydrates are also important in controlling weight gain, as their fiber content can help you feel more full while consuming fewer calories.
Tonstad, S., Butler, T., Yan, R., & Fraser, G. E. (2009). Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 32(5), 791-796. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1886
Khan, T. A., & Sievenpiper, J. L. (2016). Controversies about sugars: Results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity, cardiometabolic disease and diabetes. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(S2), 25-43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-016-1345-3
Micha, R., Wallace, S. K., & Mozaffarian, D. (2010). Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus. Circulation, 121(21), 2271-2283. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.109.924977
Abete, I., Romaguera, D., Vieira, A. R., Munain, A. L., & Norat, T. (2014). Association between total, processed, red and white meat consumption and all-cause, CVD and IHD mortality: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(5), 762-775. doi:10.1017/s000711451400124x
Brown, M. (2017, June 17). Animal vs. Plant Protein — What's the Difference? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/animal-vs-plant-protein
Richter, C. K., Skulas-Ray, A. C., Champagne, C. M., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2015). Plant Protein and Animal Proteins: Do They Differentially Affect Cardiovascular Disease Risk? Advances in Nutrition, 6(6), 712-728. doi:10.3945/an.115.009654
Poti, J. M., Braga, B., & Qin, B. (2017). Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health—Processing or Nutrient Content? Current Obesity Reports, 6(4), 420-431. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0285-4
Hu, F. B. (2013). Resolved: There is sufficient scientific evidence that decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Obesity Reviews, 14(8), 606-619. doi:10.1111/obr.12040
Choose your carbs wisely. (2020, April 17). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrates/art-20045705#:~:text=The Dietary Guidelines for Americans,calories should be from carbohydrates.