Top 10 Nutrition Myths Debunked
Do not drink alcohol and coffee. Avoid eating eggs and carbohydrates. Take vitamins.We have heard these nutritional advice for years – but are they accurate?
1. All Fats are bad for your health It is a long-held nutrition myth that all fats are bad. The fact is we all need fat. Fats aid nutrient absorption and nerve transmission, and they help to maintain cell membrane integrity. However, when consumed in excessive amounts, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancers.
2. Drink eight glasses of water per day. You should replace water lost through breathing, excrement and sweating each day – but that does not necessarily total eight glasses of water per day. It is hard to measure the exact amount of water you have consumed daily in food and drink, but if your urine is pale yellow, you are doing a good job. If it is a darker yellow, drink more H2O.
3. Vitamin supplements are necessary for everyone. If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with moderate amounts of a variety of low-fat dairy and protein and the right quantity of calories, you don’t need to supplement. Most Americans do not, so a multi-vitamin might be good. Special vitamin supplements are also recommended for people who are pregnant or have nutritional disorders.
4. Coffee is the number 1 source of caffeine. Caffeine is widely found in tea and canned drinks. Some drinks, such as Jolt and Red Bull, contain as much caffeine as coffee. In general, there is no harm to your health if you drink coffee in small to moderate amounts. However, it is advised that people with high blood pressure and pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption.
5. Eating carbohydrates makes you fat. Cutting carbs from your diet may have short-term weight loss benefits due to water loss from a decrease in carbohydrate stores, but eating carbs in moderation does not directly lead to weight gain. The body uses carbs for energy, and going too long without them can cause lethargy.
6. Eating eggs will increase your cholesterol. This myth began because egg yolks have the most concentrated amount of cholesterol of any food. However, there’s not enough cholesterol there to pose health risks if eggs are eaten in moderation. Studies suggest that eating one egg per day will not raise cholesterol levels and that eggs are actually a great source of nutrients.
7. Eating immediately after a workout will improve recovery. Endurance athletes need to take in carbohydrates immediately after a workout to replace glycogen stores, and a small amount of protein with the drink enhances the effect. Drinking low-fat chocolate milk or a carbohydrate drink, like Gatorade, is better for the body, as they replace glycogen stores lost during exercise. Protein is not going to help build muscle, so strength athletes do not need to eat immediately following their workout.
8. Sugar causes diabetes. The most common nutrition myth is probably that sugar causes diabetes. If you have diabetes, you do need to watch your sugar and carbohydrate intake, with the help of your Registered Dietitian, to properly manage your blood sugar level. However, if you do not have diabetes, sugar intake will not cause you to develop the disease. The main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are a diet high in calories, being overweight, and an inactive lifestyle.
9. All alcohol is bad for you. Again, moderation is a key. Six ounces of wine and 12 ounces of beer are considered moderate amounts, and should not pose any adverse health effects to the average healthy adult. All alcohol is an anticoagulant and red wine also contains antioxidants, so drinking a small amount daily can be beneficial.
10. Red meat is bad for health. It is true that some studies have linked red meat with increased risk of heart disease, partly due to the saturated fat content. In fact, even chicken can contain as much saturated fat as lean cuts of beef or pork. For instance, a serving of sirloin beef or pork tenderloin has less saturated fat than the same serving size of chicken thigh with skin. It is true that poultry like chicken and turkey is naturally lower in saturated fats. But it is only true if you do not eat the skin.