Nutrition

8 nutrition myths you probably believe, busted by nutrition scientists

By March 26, 2020 April 15th, 2020 No Comments
Nutrition myths busted by nutrition scientists

There are so many crazy nutrition myths floating around the internet, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. 

That’s why we asked our Nutrition Experts what the most widely held myths of nutrition are — and why they’re actually completely untrue.

Popular nutrition myths you should stop believing

Carbs are bad and make you fat

There’s been a long-held belief that carbs should be avoided at all costs when it comes to losing weight and eating healthy.

But the truth is, carbohydrates are — alongside protein and fat — one of the three main macronutrients that make up all food. Eating carbs is essential for your body to function optimally. 

Lots of people immediately think of bread and pasta when they think of carbs. But fruits, vegetables, and legumes all contain healthy sources of carbs that our bodies need. 

In fact, significantly reducing carbs from your diet may cause a reduction in essential nutrients, leading to health problems in the long-term. 

Scientific research has proven time and time again that there is no weight loss benefit from eating a low-carb diet over a high-carb diet. 

Fats are unhealthy and should be avoided

The nutrition myth that fat is unhealthy all started in the 1950s after some observational studies found people who eat a lot of saturated fats had higher rates of heart disease. 

The problem is, this claim has never been proven scientifically, even though most official dietary guidelines are based on it. Numerous recent studies continue to debunk this myth as well — a link has never been found between saturated fat consumption and heart disease.

Fat is required to be in any balanced healthy diet — in fact, we can’t live without it. It’s a major source of energy, and is vital in numerous bodily functions — such as building cell membranes, supporting immune function, regulating hormones, and nutrient absorption. 

It’s also a myth that eating lots of fats makes you fat. Research has proven that those that eat a moderate- or high-fat diet lose just as much or even more weight than people who eat a low-fat diet. 

It is true that fat contains more calories per gram than carbs or protein, but the good thing with fat is it slows down your digestion and helps you feel satisfied and full longer — meaning you’ll be less inclined to eat sooner.

What foods are full of good, healthy fats? Nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, eggs, olives, and olive oil are all rich sources of a variety of different fats. 

Poke bowl with salmon and edamame is a great source of healthy fats.

Foods that have “low” in the label are good

If a product says it’s low-sugar, low-salt, or low-calorie, it must mean it’s better for you, right?

In a shocking study that inspected millions of grocery store items in the United States, researchers discovered that many brands make incredibly dubious claims when it comes to advertising how healthy their food products are.

For example, many fruit juices claiming to be low in sugar actually often had more sugar in them when compared to juices with no claims on them. 

The breakfast cereals proudly exclaiming they’re lower in calories? Some of them have more calories than the cereals without claims. 

It was also found that energy, sports, tea, and coffee drinks with “low-sodium” labels had nearly 17% more sodium than similar products without sodium claims. 

So next time you’re grocery shopping, beware of these unreliable “low” labels — they’re simply a manipulative marketing ploy. 

If you want to get healthy fast, just do a detox

The thought that a short and simple detox plan can quickly whip you into prime health is understandably appealing. Unfortunately, detox diets are mostly just a hoax.

Sure, only drinking juice for two weeks may cause you to lose some weight, but what happens after that?

Detox diets are comparable to putting a bandage on the real problem. Most people do not plan a sensible and healthy diet after their detox is over — they just go back to their previous poor eating habits. This is a form of yo-yo dieting.

Plus, when you completely eliminate so many important nutrients from your diet, you slow your metabolism and may wind up feeling tired, cranky, and unable to focus. That’s because you’re starving your body of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. 

A much better plan is to simply eat a varied diet full of healthy whole foods, instead of unhealthily restricting yourself of everything.

Detoxing is a wide spread nutrition myth. You need more than just juice to be healthy.

Salt is bad

It is true that consuming too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure — which can lead to heart failure, kidney problems, and stroke. 

This causes many to jump to the conclusion that salt is bad for you. But salt is actually a vital nutrient.

Your body needs salt to balance fluids in the blood, maintain healthy blood pressure, and regulate healthy nerve and muscle functions. If you stop eating salt completely, you will actually die — that’s how important it is.

In fact, several studies have found that a diet too low in salt leads to an increase in blood cholesterol, higher blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of diabetes

So instead of restricting salt completely, just make sure to eat it in moderation. The recommended amount of daily salt intake is one teaspoon, or 6 grams.

“Natural” is healthier

Stroll down a grocery aisle and you may find all sorts of foods labeled “natural” — there’s “natural” cookies, “all-natural” fruit drinks that are packed with high-fructose corn syrup, and even “natural” Cheetos!

These “natural” labels are actually meaningless. The FDA has no official definition of what a “natural” food is, so there’s very few rules for how companies are allowed to use the label. 

As a result, you will find food producers slapping it on all sorts of things, including highly processed foods that are certainly not healthy. It’s best to simply ignore this misleading label.

Breakfast is the most important meal

Growing up, the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day was hammered into our heads regularly. 

But the truth is, most of the studies out there that demonstrate eating breakfast leads to better health were sponsored by Kellogg, Quaker Oats, and other breakfast cereal companies. These are companies whose entire businesses depend on the public believing they should eat breakfast like their lives depend on it.

Unfortunately, most breakfast studies don’t pay any attention to the quality of food people are eating. Just studying whether someone eats breakfast or not doesn’t tell us much. It’s important to know whether they’re eating a bowl of sugary Fruit Loops or a veggie-filled omelette.  

A study published in the British Medical Journal actually found that breakfast-skippers consume fewer calories per day and are, on average, 0.44 kilograms lighter than regular breakfast-eaters. 

So if you aren’t a breakfast person, don’t worry — you aren’t less healthy because of it. And if you can’t live without breakfast, that’s also fine! Just make sure you’re eating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, and sugar-free yogurt. Steer clear of desserts masquerading as breakfast — like sugar-packed cereals, granola bars, and muffins. 

Breakfast is not the most important meal.

A daily multivitamin is a must for everyone

It’s all too common for people to believe they need to take a multivitamin every day. But multivitamins are not the ticket to optimal health.

As the FDA is not required to test vitamins, there’s literally no standard for what they can and cannot contain. 

As a result, different multivitamins’ nutrient compositions vary wildly by brand and product. Adding impure ingredients like heavy metals and artificial coloring to multivitamins is also far more common than you may think. Many multivitamins contain higher or lower levels of nutrients than the label states, and in some cases, may not even provide some of the nutrients they claim to have. 

Sadly, the unregulated vitamin and supplement industry is notorious for fraud.

On top of all this, even if you’re taking a high-quality multivitamin without all the bad stuff in it, the truth is that a one-size-fits-all method simply isn’t effective when it comes to our unique health and nutrition needs. 

When it comes to taking supplements, it’s best to target specific nutrients your body may be lacking in, and make sure the vitamins you’re taking are high-quality and honest about what’s in them. 

Here at hundred, we believe you deserve to know exactly what you are putting into your body — this is why we are fully transparent about our ingredient lists, sourcing, and testing practices.

The bottom line

There’s a lot of confusing nutrition myths out there. At the end of the day, it’s most important to eat a balanced and varied diet of fresh, whole foods each day if you want to achieve optimal health. 

Stay away from highly restrictive diets, ignore manipulative marketing labels on foods, and instead of taking a random multivitamin every day, try taking our 5-minute holistic quiz to build up your own personalized vitamin plan. You’ll also be able to consult with our Nutrition Experts for free, any time you want.

100% personalized high-quality vitamins

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