6 Common Nutrition Myths You Probably Learned as a Kid

Dr, Donna Restivo

Posted on August 17 2017

Do you remember your parents telling you that if you swallow chewing gum, it will stay in your stomach for up to 7 years? Over the past decade or so, doctors and scientists have learned a great deal about how our bodies function and how our diet affects them. Most people recognize that eating more fruits and vegetables while limiting foods rich in fat and sugar are the two best ways to stay healthy and keep weight off. But common nutrition myths still run rampant.

Here are some of the most common nutrition myths that you should think twice about:

 

Myth #1: If you take a multivitamin, you’ll get all the nutrients you need.

Supplements and multivitamins are usually a good choice if you’re trying to maintain your health, cleanse your body, and lose weight. But the truth is we get most of our vitamins from the foods we eat. Supplements are meant to do just that: supplement a healthy diet.

Many natural supplements can help you boost your immune system or kick start your body’s fat burners, but your body absorbs nutrients more effectively when they are naturally occurring in the foods you eat.

 

Myth #2: You should stop eating all fat to lose weight.

This is a common nutrition myth that is starting to lose favor. Our bodies need some fats. Recent advances in nutritional science have revealed that there are good fats and bad fats. Trans fats, for example, are known to be extremely detrimental to our health and are a root cause of weight gain and obesity. Meanwhile, saturated fats are mainly found in animal-based foods and should be limited if you want to lose weight.

The two “good” types of fat are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. They are mainly found in plant-based foods like nuts, olives, and avocados. They can help ease blood cholesterol levels and stabilize heart rhythms.

Although they are generally considered “good,” you shouldn’t eat a diet consisting of nothing but almonds. The American Heart Association recommends we get just 8-10% of our daily calories from these types of fats. The best way to replace the bad fats with the “good” ones in more of your meals.

 

Myth #3: If you exercise a lot, you don’t need to eat healthy food.

While exercise is important for maintaining heart health and can help you burn calories, it doesn’t give you an excuse to eat junk food every day. We now know that your fuel source (the food you eat) is the most important component in the weight loss equation. Also, if you miss out on the important nutrients in healthy foods, you’ll become fatigued more often while exercising and you’ll have a hard time building muscle.

 

Myth #4: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.

Brown sugar is actually just white sugar that contains molasses. There are additional minerals in brown sugar, but these are scant amounts that make no difference on a nutritional level. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit your sugar intake as much as possible. Sugars are necessary for our bodies to function, but the sugar we truly need (glucose) is metabolized when we eat and digest carbohydrates. In fact, there is no need to ingest any additional sugar if you are already eating a balanced diet.

 

Myth #5: Skipping meals will help you lose weight.

This common nutrition myth is still prevalent in many fad diets. Although lowering your calorie intake to healthy levels is a good idea, skipping meals can be detrimental to your health. When you skip meals, your body slows down your metabolism to compensate and stores more of what you eat as fat. You are also more likely to overeat at your next meal.

 

Myth #6: “Diet” foods and drinks are better for you.

Ever since margarine made its way into our grocery stores, “diet” foods and food alternatives have been all the rage. Diet sodas are perhaps the most well-known. They contain artificial sweeteners that confuse our bodies, make us crave sweet foods, and even trigger insulin. Artificial sweeteners are also thought to cause health problems.

Many foods that are generally considered to be “healthy,” like low-fat yogurt and granola, also contain large amounts of sugar. Even low-fat salad dressings contain hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients. If you need salad dressing to spruce up your salads, your best bet is to make it at home with your own ingredients.


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