18 Food Myths You Need to Stop Buying Into

There are many false claims out there about the latest superfoods. Scientific evidence proves that these beliefs which promote weight loss and many benefits are not true. Here are 18 food myths you need to stop buying into.

food myth debunked

18 Food and Nutrition Myths–Debunked!

1. Your Brain Must Have Carbohydrates to Survive

Your brain doesn’t need carbohydrates for survival. This myth is false and has been used as an argument against a low carb diet. It’s a false claim that your brain needs carbohydrates to function properly. Your brain and body can thrive on carbohydrate restriction such as after a session of hard exercise, a way of life or during a fast. The brain uses molecules produced by the body called ketones when carbohydrates have been restricted due to adaptation. Ketones are used to fuel your brain.

2. Consuming Fat Uniquely Will Make You Fat

This false claim originated from the 70’s low-fat trend and is starting to quiet down now. It was previously thought that eating fat would make people fat because it’s calorically dense. However, scientific research shows that other macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates have the same benefits as fat. Fat is essential for survival. This macronutrient is highly satiating and a lot of vitamins and minerals are fat soluble to be used by the body. Eat healthy fats to satisfy your appetite and avoid overeating fat found in processed foods.

3. Eating Carbohydrates Specifically Will Make You Fat

This specific claim that carbohydrates make you fat is false. Many civilizations have thrived for many years by living off a somewhat high carbohydrate diet. People tolerate carbohydrates in various ways. Overweight and obese people are encouraged to limit carbohydrates for weight loss. You can get your carbohydrates from produce or wheat and rice.

4. Consuming Lots of Protein is Harmful to Your Kidneys and Bones

It was previously thought that consuming a high protein diet would put unnecessary stress on the kidneys and negatively affect calcium from bones. There isn’t much scientific evidence to prove this claim. Eating protein is considered to be very beneficial for:

  • Bone health
  • Weight loss
  • Lean muscle mass

A diet rich in protein may be problematic for people living with kidney disease but this diet isn’t harmful to those with healthy kidneys. Continue to eat protein. Consume between 1g per kg of it for your body weight and 1g per pound which depends on your activity level.

5. Red Meat and Saturated Fat are Deadly

During the low-fat trend, red meat and saturated fat were made out to be evil because it was believed they clogged arteries and raised bad LDL cholesterol levels which contributes to cardiac disease. This claim is false because humans have consumed meat for many years and the epidemic of heart disease is a recent health problem. Look for unprocessed meats as opposed to processed meat. Unprocessed meat comes from a sustainable source which is the right step towards heath.

6. Eating Cholesterol Leads to Heart Disease

Eggs are high in cholesterol but that doesn’t mean we have to stop consuming them. Cholesterol is essential for the body and cell functions. You need cholesterol to survive. High amounts of lipoproteins in the bloodstream are problematic. The cholesterol consumed from your diet has little influence on the body’s total cholesterol levels.

7. Low Fat is the Most Healthy Way to Eat

Following a low fat diet isn’t necessarily a problem. However, consuming highly processed oils and packaged food products filled with sugar are not healthy. Aim for natural, fatty foods.

lose weight dark chocolate

8. Dark Chocolate Helps You Lose Weight

Unfortunately, dark chocolate does not contribute to weight loss. However, it contains many healthy compounds such as:

  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Copper

Dark chocolate should be considered to be an occasional treat. It contains many antioxidants and vitamins.

9. Coffee isn’t Healthy

Coffee was thought to be unhealthy but many coffee drinkers have complained. This popular choice has made a comeback due to many scientific studies. Drinking between 3 to 4 cups of black coffee a day as opposed to variations with added sugars and artificial flavours offers health benefits. Coffee is filled with antioxidants.

10. Highly Processed Vegetable Oils are Beneficial

Avoid highly processed vegetable oils such as:

  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Cottonseed
  • Canola
  • Sunflower
  • Margarine

These oils seem to be prominent in stores and they are harmful because they contain high amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats which cause inflammation when they are consumed in excess. We should consume healthy fats such as olive and coconut oils or grass-fed butter. Avoid highly processed vegetable oils.

11. All Trans Fats are Equal

Trans fats are not the same and those found in processed foods should be avoided at all costs. Scientists, the government and the media demonize trans fats because they are highly harmful and they are right in regards to artificially produced trans fats. However, there are natural trans fats found in some meat products.

12. Butter is Bad

Butter has been consumed by humans without consequence for thousands of years. The origin of this myth comes from the 70’s low-fat craze. The belief that butter clogged arteries and increased cholesterol which contributed to the growing epidemic of cardiac disease. However, butter tastes great and it’s healthier than other alternatives like margarine.

13. Eliminate Salt from Meals Cooked at Home

Salt is necessary for the body because it helps with important functions in the nervous system, the digestive system and cellular metabolism. It’s required for survival. Many health organizations believe we shouldn’t consume any more than 2300 mg of salt a day. This salt measurement is equivalent to about one teaspoon.

14. Don’t Cook with Olive Oil

Olive oil won’t burn because its smoke pint is quite high. Its monounsaturated fat content accounts for the smoke point to reach up to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil burns, it could release harmful chemicals due to being damaged. Don’t hesitate to cook with olive oil.

15. You Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

Doctors perpetuated this myth because they wanted to see if people would drink less soda. Although they meant well, there is no recommended amount of water that people should drink. Water is essential to life and the body has a sophisticated mechanism to make sure you drink enough water. Many factors depend on how water each individual needs to stay hydrated. Eat a balanced diet and drink water when necessary.

16. Fruit Juice Has Health Benefits

Fruit juice contains lots of sugar despite its content of vitamins and minerals from the fruit. Compared to fruit, there is no fiber found in fruit juice. Without fiber, the body absorbs more than 40 grams of sugar. After consumption, insulin levels spike and could lead to insulin resistance, which is in the direction of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. Small amounts of fruit juice are fine as a treat but the process used tends to make it unhealthy. The best choice is to eat fruit instead of drink fruit juice. Look for freshly squeezed fruit juice that contains pulp which has fiber.

17. Meat Will Rot in Your Colon

This claim is 100% false but fibrous vegetables and grains do. This plant matter is indigestible cannot break down in the digestive tract. The plant matter ferments in your colon which subsequently feeds the bacteria in the gut. Humans have eaten meat for many years and have no trouble digesting it.

18. GMO’s are Bad

The subject of GMO’s is complex and it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Contrary to popular belief, thousands of studies show that GMO’s are not dangerous to livestock or human health. GMO’s are considered to be controversial because of various actives debates. These concepts focus on patents on life forms, unknown long-term health consequences, “superbugs”, seed ownership and Indian farmer suicides. The issue of GMO’s isn’t as transparent or polarizing as it appears. If you are interested in learning more about GMO’s, carry out some research to develop your own conclusions.

Don’t believe these 18 food myths. According to science, these superfoods don’t lead to weight loss or have any health benefits. Read labels carefully on food products and do some research to find out more information.

Samantha Merz

Samantha lives in Vancouver, BC. Samantha is an avid volunteer in the community, enjoys singing and playing badminton.

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