This is a great article by Authority Nutrition. At bioXscan, we spend a lot of time talking to clients and we hear what you tell us. It’s hard to sift through all the info to decide what’s good for you. We could go on all day about eating a low-carb, high-fat diet and why it’s so good for you (that’s how we keep our body fat super low all year around), but we’ll post more about that later. You see, it’s even hard to know what to believe from the ‘authorities’ which we are supposed to trust, like the Heart Foundation (responsible for the ‘tick’), and that provided by other government and health authorities.
Clued up fitness professionals and nutrition experts are going against the grain. Information that we’ve been ‘fed’ is turning out to be wrong, and in some cases be doing the harm that it was supposed to be preventing. Adam and I often shake our head at the rubbish we read and see on food products and in advertising.
Check out these 10 Myths debunked by science.
Mainstream nutrition is full of nonsense.
Despite clear advancements in nutrition science, the old myths don’t seem to be going anywhere.
Here are 10 mainstream nutrition myths that have been debunked by scientific research.
Myth 1: The Healthiest Diet is a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet With Lots of Grains
Several decades ago, the entire population was advised to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet (1).
At the time, not a single study had demonstrated that this diet could actually prevent disease.
Since then, many high quality studies have been done, including the Women’s Health Initiative, which is the largest nutrition study in history.
Bottom Line: Numerous studies have been done on the low-fat, high-carb diet. It has virtually no effect on body weight or disease risk over the long term.
Myth 2: Salt Should be Restricted in Order to Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes
The salt myth is still alive and kicking, even though there has never been any good scientific support for it.
Of course, if you have a medical condition like salt-sensitive hypertension then you may be an exception (8).
But the public health advice that everyone should lower their salt intake (and have to eat boring, tasteless food) is not based on evidence.
Bottom Line: Despite modestly lowering blood pressure, reducing salt/sodium does not reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes or death.
Myth 3: It is Best to Eat Many, Small Meals Throughout The Day to “Stoke The Metabolic Flame”
It is often claimed that people should eat many, small meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism high.
Eating frequently may have benefits for some people (like preventing excessive hunger), but it is incorrect that this affects the amount of calories we burn.
There are even studies showing that eating too often can be harmful… a new study came out recently showing that more frequent meals dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat on a high calorie diet (11).
Bottom Line: It is not true that eating many, smaller meals leads to an increase in the amount of calories burned throughout the day. Frequent meals may even increase the accumulation of unhealthy belly and liver fat.
Myth 4: Egg Yolks Should be Avoided Because They Are High in Cholesterol, Which Drives Heart Disease
We’ve been advised to cut back on whole eggs because the yolks are high in cholesterol.
One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants showed that eating eggs had no effect on the risk of heart disease or stroke in non-diabetic individuals (15).
However… keep in mind that some studies have found an increased heart attack risk in diabetics who eat eggs (16).
Whole eggs really are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost allthe nutrients are found in the yolks.
Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition.
Bottom Line: Despite eggs being high in cholesterol, they do not raise blood cholesterol or increase heart disease risk for the majority of people.
Myth 5: Whole Wheat is a Health Food and an Essential Part of a “Balanced” Diet
Wheat has been a part of the diet for a very long time, but it changed due to genetic tampering in the 1960s.
The “new” wheat is significantly less nutritious than the older varieties (17).
Whereas some of the older varieties like Einkorn and Kamut may be relatively healthy, modern wheat is not.
Also, let’s not forget that the “whole grain” label is a joke… these grains have usually been pulverized into very fine flour, so they have similar metabolic effects as refined grains.
Bottom Line: The wheat most people are eating today is unhealthy. It is less nutritious and may increase cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers.
Myth 6: Saturated Fat Raises LDL Cholesterol in The Blood, Increasing Risk of Heart Attacks
For decades, we’ve been told that saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease.
In fact, this belief is the cornerstone of modern dietary guidelines.
For most people, eating reasonable amounts of saturated fat is perfectly safe and downright healthy.
Bottom Line: Several recent studies have shown that saturated fat consumption does not increase the risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
Myth 7: Coffee is Unhealthy and Should be Avoided
Coffee has long been considered unhealthy, mainly because of the caffeine. However, most of the studies actually show that coffee has powerful health benefits.
Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… and some studies even show that they live longer than people who don’t drink coffee (30, 31, 32, 33, 34).
Bottom Line: Despite being perceived as unhealthy, coffee is actually loaded with antioxidants. Numerous studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of many serious diseases.
Myth 8: Eating Fat Makes You Fat… so if You Want to Lose Weight, You Need to Eat Less Fat
Fat is the stuff that is under our skin, making us look soft and puffy.
Therefore it seems logical that eating fat would give us even more of it.
However, this depends entirely on the context. Diets that are high in fat AND carbs can make you fat, but it’s not because of the fat.
Bottom Line: The fattening effects of dietary fat depend entirely on the context. A diet that is high in fat but low in carbs leads to more weight loss than a low-fat diet.
Myth 9: A High-Protein Diet Increases Strain on The Kidneys and Raises Your Risk of Kidney Disease
It is often said that dietary protein increases strain on the kidneys and raises the risk of kidney failure.
Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should cut back on protein, this is absolutely not true of otherwise healthy people.
Bottom Line: Eating a lot of protein has no adverse effects on kidney function in otherwise healthy people and improves numerous risk factors.
Myth 10: Full-Fat Dairy Products Are High in Saturated Fat and Calories… Raising The Risk of Heart Disease and Obesity
High-fat dairy products are among the richest sources of saturated fat in the diet and very high in calories.
For this reason, we’ve been told to eat low-fat dairy products instead.
However, the studies do not support this. Eating full-fat dairy product is not linked to increased heart disease and is even associated with a lower risk of obesity (45).
If anything, the main benefits of dairy are due to the fatty components. Therefore, choosing low-fat dairy products is a terrible idea.
Of course… this does not mean that you should go overboard and pour massive amounts of butter in your coffee, but it does imply that reasonable amounts of full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows are both safe and healthy.
Bottom Line: Despite being high in saturated fat and calories, studies show that full-fat dairy is linked to a reduced risk of obesity. In countries where cows are grass-fed, full-fat dairy is linked to reduced heart disease.