Nutrition Myths Debunked

From fat to carb crazes, our in-house nutritionists set the stage right by debunking some of the top nutrition myths.

  • Published: 4/22/2022
  • 5 min. read

The media makes it downright difficult to differentiate the true nutrition information from the marketing. From fat to carb crazes, our in-house nutritionists set the stage right by debunking some of the top nutrition myths.

Nutrition myths debunked

Regularly, we get bombarded by a mix of myths and facts, from commercials to social media influencers, sometimes even posing as real experts. We’ve made some impressive advances in the nutrition and health fields, and companies like Lifesum are constantly striving to stay credible. 

The mainstream nutrition information is inaccurate, unfortunately, sometimes offering dangerous advice! So, before you trust what you’re told, make sure to check the sources and credibility of the person providing the information. 

Now that you have some starting points for deciphering what’s credible, let’s start sorting through some of the top nutrition myths.

Fruit is unhealthy 

Fruit is higher in sugar which is why some people think it's “bad.” It may not work for some diets such as low carb or keto but it contains many beneficial components that are healthy to include in a balanced lifestyle. Since fruit is very high in water and fiber, which slows the rate your body breaks it down and absorbs it, making it rather difficult to eat too much of it. 

Fruit is high in vitamins and minerals which can help prevent some diseases (1). The high fiber content it contains helps improve digestive health and can even help lower cholesterol levels (2). 

It's best to enjoy fruit when it's whole. So, go for the fresh stuff rather than juice or fruit that is dried and sweetened. If you have diabetes or another condition, it's best to check with your doctor for their recommendations.

Fat makes you fat 

Diet trends in the 1980s led many to believe that fat is bad. Often known as the anti-diet and disease-causing macronutrient, fat is actually an essential part of our necessary nutrition. Part of the reason it got a bad rap could be because it’s higher in calories per gram when compared to carbohydrates and protein. This means the calories can add up quickly if you have too much. But, it’s also important for metabolic functions, hormones, absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins, and can even help keep us more satisfied, and may end up regulating weight in the long run. 

So, fat is not bad, but it is important to balance it with carbohydrates and protein and to know which ones to choose, such as natural plant-based options like olives and avocado versus processed types like trans and saturated fat found in foods like ice cream, deli meats, french fries, and donuts.

Carbs are bad 

Flip to the 1980s to the 2000s and you’ll notice a switch from fat being the “bad” macronutrient to carbs taking its place. This was partially influenced by low-carb diets such as keto and Atkins becoming trendy. Another reason is that sugars and refined carbohydrates became a large part of the total carbohydrate intake in many countries, versus the more nutrient-rich sources of carbs (3). When the refined and processed types are eaten in excess, over time, it can lead to weight gain and disease such as type 2 diabetes (4).

The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommends having healthy carbs account for half of a well-rounded diet (5). Just like with fat, it’s important to focus on the right type. Focus on natural and whole-grain carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, rye, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. 

Learn what type of carbs to have and when with The Truth About Carbs

Gluten is dangerous 

Speaking of carbs, gluten, which is found in some grain products, has gotten bad PR through the gluten-free trend. So, what exactly is gluten? Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. 

Gluten is dangerous when you have a medical condition called celiac disease, but this only affects about 1% of the population (6). There’s also non-celiac gluten sensitivity which doesn’t have a clear definition but can be characterized by bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, and depression (6). Lastly, if you have a wheat allergy, you may need to avoid gluten.

Since whole grain gluten-containing foods also contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it's best to check with your doctor first before deciding to completely cut them out of your diet.

Plant-based isn’t enough protein 

Plant-based diets exclude animal products to varying degrees. These have gained popularity for many reasons, including personal beliefs, health, and sustainability. But one major concern is that they don’t contain enough protein. 

Truthfully, eating enough protein on a plant-based diet is not as hard as you may think. It just takes a bit more planning. That’s because most plant-based foods don’t have all of the essential amino acids (protein building blocks). 

Since some plant-based foods contain more amino acids than others, they can “work together” to give you what you need. So, simply eat a variety of plant-based protein foods such as whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Eating a plant-based diet with lots of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits is beneficial for overall health, anyways!

Summary 

Keep in mind that your body is different from other peoples’. Meaning that what works for you may not work for someone else. The key is to consider the research, your current condition, and what makes you feel your personal best. If you’re not sure what works for you, try out an expert-created app that helps guide you towards health, such as the Lifesum app

All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.

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