Can you tell the difference between nutrition fact and fiction? Whether you’re scrolling through social media or strolling through the grocery store, you’re likely exposed to endless amounts of nutritional information. Knowledge is power, but when the majority of the information is incorrect or not scientifically proven, it can be misleading and sometimes even harmful.
Nutrition is the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and macronutrients of a given food or drink and how it will impact our bodies. It’s about eating or drinking nourishment, breaking it down, then using it as energy (1). The term diet refers to overall eating habits throughout our lifetime.
Fad diets on the other hand are short-term and usually cut calories, food groups or types of foods in order to reach a specific goal. Fad diets and self-proclaimed (yet untrained) experts may promote nutrition misinformation and marketing that is misleading.
There’s a whole lot of health and nutrition information out there, and it can make it really hard to differentiate fact from fiction, which is why we’ll break down some of the most common misconceptions about nutrition.
Many diets are restrictive, whether it comes to calories, types of foods, or both. But depriving too much backfires. When it comes to your body, not eating enough calories or cutting food groups makes it difficult to get all the nutrients you need. Also, the efficiency at which you burn calories and metabolism may decrease. In the long run, this can lead to weight gain. Mentally, when we tell ourselves we “can’t” have something, it can set us up for feeling deprived and developing cravings. Rather than focusing on less, it’s best to aim for mindfulness and balance.
Eating fat doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have more fat. Fat gets broken down and used by our bodies for energy, just like carbohydrates or protein. The key here is that not all fats are created equal. Some that come from plant foods, like avocado and nuts, can actually help our health and benefit our heart, while others such as processed types from fast food can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases if eaten in large amounts. Learn more about which ones to choose here: Dietary Fats: Which Ones To Choose.
Just like with fats, not all carbs are equal when it comes to health. The processed and refined ones, such as candy, table sugar or sodas are stripped of fiber and necessary nutrients. Eating too many of these too often may increase the risk for diseases such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (2).
Simple carbs, like those naturally found in fruits, milk and dairy products provide the body with quick energy and also contain nutrients. Complex carbs are the healthiest. These come from foods such as beans, lentils, vegetables, and whole grains. They contain vitamins and minerals and are rich in fiber which helps keep us feeling energized and satisfied.
Supplements can’t replace a healthy way of eating. That’s because whole food contains nutrients that work together to increase their absorption and value for our bodies in what’s called food synergy. We can get most or all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a variety of natural foods (3).
Some supplements may even contain harmful ingredients or ones that our bodies don’t absorb properly. What the products contain is often misleading. It’s important to talk to your doctor or medical practitioner before trying any supplements.
The key to living a healthy and balanced life is consistency. Enjoying one night out with friends, or even a few days of indulging in not-so-healthy holiday or vacation treats won’t undo the progress you collect over the months or years. Nutrition is about the long-term habits you develop and keep going with. So have your cake, and eat some vegetables too.
For long-lasting good nutrition through enjoyable and realistic habit building, download Lifesum.
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.
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.