10 Truths About Common Dieting Myths
You may think you know a lot about nutrition, but there are some common myths out there that might be tripping you up.
While we all have our own personal views on what’s healthy and what isn’t, some nutritional myths need busting.
It’s not always easy to make good choices when it comes to food and maintaining a healthy weight. Still, knowing what is and isn’t true can help you create a more healthy eating plan.
So here are 10 diet myths debunked to help you improve your nutritional knowledge and
Myth 1- You must always eat breakfast.
Breakfast is important but not essential. Many studies show that eating breakfast doesn’t increase weight loss. Some research even suggests that skipping breakfast could actually lead to weight gain.
However, if you’re trying to lose weight, then eating breakfast is still good advice.
A healthy breakfast helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, helping you avoid hunger pangs later in the morning.
Myth 2- Low fat diets rule.
Low-fat foods aren’t necessarily healthier than their full-fat counterparts. Healthy fats have been shown to play many roles in our bodies, including:
- keeping us satiated
- providing energy
- strengthening our bones
- helping us sleep
- protecting against risk of heart disease
- improving brain function
- keeping our skin glowing
On the other hand, eating too little fat can cause nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin D and calcium. Also, some fats contain saturated fat or trans fat, which raises cholesterol levels.
Myth 3- Carbs fatten you up.
Carbohydrates are found in all types of food, including grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and dairy. They provide quick energy and are necessary for proper brain function.
But carbs don’t just add bulk to your body. In fact, they also help regulate appetite and control cravings.
This means that a low carb diet won’t necessarily lead to weight loss. It’s better to focus on cutting back on processed foods and sugary drinks and instead include more whole carbs.
Myth 4- Smaller meals are better than 3 big ones.
This myth stems from a study done by researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. The study showed that people who ate five or six small meals per day had lower BMIs than those who ate just three large meals.
The problem? Eating more often can cause you to consume extra calories.
So while this one isn’t necessarily bad advice, it does require careful monitoring to maintain a balanced diet and avoid excess weight gain.
Myth 5- Skipping dairy is good for your health.
Dairy products are high in protein and calcium, two nutrients that promote bone health. Dairy products also contain vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12.
Eating them regularly has been linked with reduced risk of osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
As long as you’re not suffering from lactose intolerance, there’s no reason to cut out dairy completely. Instead, try to limit consumption of milk and cheese to once or twice daily.
Myth 6 – Meat causes cancer.
Red meat isn’t inherently bad; it’s the processing of red meat that makes it unhealthy.
For example, processed meats like bacon have been linked to colon cancer, while organ meats like liver and kidney are rich in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
As long as you eat lean cuts of animal foods – beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, etc., you should be fine.
Myth 7 – All sweeteners are unhealthy.
Many people believe that artificial sweeteners are worse for your waistline than natural sugars. Yet, there’s no solid evidence of weight gain, increased insulin secretion, blood sugar problems, or other medical conditions from ingesting artificial sweeteners.
And while heavy consumption of sweeteners, natural or otherwise, can negatively affect your health, an occasional treat for enjoyment may do you some good.
Natural sugars found in fruits and dairy products help regulate blood sugar and satisfy cravings. Artificial sweeteners work by triggering your taste buds to tell your brain that you’re already full.
Myth 8 – Fruit juice cleanses are healthy.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports several reviews that have found “that juicing and “detox” diets can cause initial weight loss because of low intake of calories but that they tend to lead to weight gain once a person resumes a normal diet.”
Drinking juice detoxes regularly may actually increase your calorie intake because fruit juices are not nutritionally dense. Because they don’t give you any dietary fiber, they won’t fill you up.
In addition, fad diets of fruit juices often pack a lot of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues.
Myth 9 – You need to drink eight glasses of water daily.
While staying hydrated is important, most adults only need about 12 ounces (or 2 liters) of water a day. The rest comes naturally through food and other liquids such as coffee, tea, and juices.
In contrast, many people tend to drink more than this amount, which can be harmful.
Drinking too much water dilutes the concentration of minerals in your bloodstream, making it harder for your kidneys to remove waste. This can cause dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, headache, constipation, and difficulty concentrating.
Myth 10 – You must follow a strict diet regime to lose weight.
There’s no “one size fits all” diet plan that will get rid of extra weight and belly fat.
But if you want to lose weight, you should eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut out entire food source groups, though. Instead, focus on eating foods that provide lots of filling fiber and protein but few empty carbs.
Grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and lean proteins are all great options for a healthy diet.
All in all, losing weight and maintaining a nutritious diet requires dedication, planning, and patience.
But with these 10 myths debunked and incorporating more movement into your lifestyle, you’ll be well on your way to eating a diet rich in healthy foods and achieving your health and wellness goals.
Next: What is Holistic Wellness?
Interested in improving your wellbeing? Set up a free 20-minute discovery call with Rich, a Certified Wellness Coach (NASM-CWC), Masters track and field athlete, and host of The Mental Wealth Show, to discuss your goals and see if coaching is right for you.