The world of health and wellness is full of different pieces of advice, but not all of it is helpful or even true. Plenty of nutrition myths floating around are far from the truth.
The following are 5 nutrition myths and the truth behind them.
1. Low-Fat is Better Than Full-Fat Food Options
We’ve been bombarded with commercials advertising “low-fat” or “fat-free” food options for years. The school of thought was that fatty foods were unhealthy and dangerous for our health.
The truth is, fat is good for you, within reason. Fats are essential for the body and are a source of essential fatty acids, which the body does not make on its own.
Dietary fat provides energy for the body, protects organs, supports cell growth, and keeps blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Being too restrictive with fats can be downright dangerous.
Plus, many low-fat or fat-free food products often make up for the reduced flavor due to restricted fat levels with added sugar or sodium.
2. Avoid Carbs to Lose Weight
We’ve all heard of the Keto diet and other regimens that cut out or significantly reduce carbs. While reducing carbs can be helpful, avoiding them altogether won’t make much difference if you’re not in a calorie deficit.
Regardless of the types of macronutrients, you’re eating, what matters most is that you’re burning more calories than you’re eating, which is when you’ll start to see the scale go down.
It should also be noted that not all carbs are created equal. While you should be steering clear of simple sugars, you can still enjoy a healthy portion of fruit, potatoes, and other starchy carbs, which can give your body energy and keep your mind focused.
Please don’t bother with any diet that completely eliminates any particular food group, as you may find it unsustainable.
3. Don’t Eat After 7 pm
Snacking late at night isn’t advised, but timing your meals so that you don’t eat after 7 pm isn’t going to make a difference, as long as you’re consuming a controlled number of calories per day.
Again, being in a calorie deficit counts more than the exact time of day you eat.
4. Cut Out Salt
Another nutrition “rule” that may have been somewhat popular is the notion that salt is bad for you. While it’s true that too much sodium can be detrimental to your health, salt is essential to good health. Your body cannot survive without salt.
Your body needs sodium for various reasons, including muscle activity, nerve impulses, and fluid balance. Eating too much sodium from processed foods might not be such a good thing, but adding healthy salts to your dishes in moderation won’t just make your dishes tastier but healthier, too.
5. Certain Foods Burn Fat
You may have heard about specific fat-burning diets that focus almost solely on one or two foods, like the grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, and the cayenne pepper and lemon water diet. The premise is that these foods can burn stubborn body fat, but there’s not enough science to back these claims.
Fad diets like these may gain some interest and may even work for weight loss for a short period. But the weight loss is usually short-lived, and most weight loss is likely not from body fat stores.
If you want to lose weight and get healthier, making a sustainable lifestyle change that you can maintain will make a difference.
- Know the facts about Fats. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/know-the-facts-about-fats. Published April 19, 2021. Accessed September 9, 2022.
- Salt and sodium. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/#:~:text=The%20human%20body%20requires%20a,daily%20for%20these%20vital%20functions. Published November 19, 2021. Accessed September 9, 2022.