In this article we are going to list the top 10 nutrition myths that people believe in. Myths about nutrition have been around for ages, and it’s still not clear what exactly we should believe. This top 10 list of nutrition myths will surely lift some fog settled around the topic.
There is no doubt that nutrition is important for us to survive and stay fit. There are different types of nutrients that come from different sources such as food and drinks. Since every individual is different, their nutritional requirements will also be different based on their age, gender, health, goals, etc.
Over the years, the definition of nutrition has evolved, and it is now considered as healthy eating. However, its real definition is the process through which any living organism uses food to sustain its life. Healthy eating is knowing when and what nutrients are required by your body.
There are many benefits to eating healthy and following an appropriate nutritional diet that suits your body. Proper nutrition is important because it keeps away chronic diseases. It also helps in our overall well-being, growth, and development. Proper nutrition results in positive pregnancy outcomes, and also keeps heart diseases away.
Before we get to the list of myths, let’s dig deeper into nutrition.
What is Nutritional Imbalance?
Nutritional imbalance, as the name suggests, is the body’s ineffectiveness to absorb certain nutrients properly. In other words there can be a lack or excess of any macro or micro-nutrients in the body. This imbalance can be caused by a number of things such as,
- Unhealthy Diet
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Poor eating habits
- Genetic Nutritional imbalance can lead to serious mental and physical illness. You should consult a nutritionist or have a nutritional checkup during your routine medical visits.
Meanwhile you can try some easy ways to improve your nutrition.
- Cook at home
When you cook yourself, and at home then you are careful about the quantity of the food. This helps us indirectly in portion control that results in less calorie intake. Eating at a restaurant is not only unhealthy, but we also end up eating a lot that in turn results in more calorie intake. In general, eating outside regularly is frowned upon for a reason.
- Eat lots of fruits
You might already know this, but eating just a bunch of fruits sometimes doesn’t do much. There are a lot of important nutrients and vitamins that cannot be found in just a single fruit. That is why, including a variety of fruits in your diet is extremely important. Also, sometimes it gets boring to just cut and eat fruits. So, including it in smoothies and milkshakes can provide a pleasant change.
- Track your Calorie Intake
Nowadays, there are many apps and websites that help you track your calorie intake. Everything you eat gives you a certain amount of calories that can be found with a simple google search. Keeping a food journal will help you choose your food wisely.
- Cut Starch in your Diet
Carbs are an important nutrient for your body, but excess carbs can result in too much calorie intake. There are different types of carbs out of which starch has the maximum amount of calories. Avoid foods such as potatoes, corn, peas, beans, and lentils. Instead, you can have more non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and much more. Another helpful trick is to cook the starchy vegetables in a different way. For example, you can have baked potatoes instead of French fries.
- Stop having sugar
Sugar is another type of carbohydrate that is used in desserts and sweet dishes. Out of everything that you eat, sugar is probably the most harmful of them all. It can lead to diseases such as diabetics. A proper nutritional diet will have limited or no sugar at all. Replace all the sugary drinks with homemade beverages.
Now that we know the importance and benefits of proper nutrition, let’s explore the top 10 nutrition myths.
- Eating healthy is too expensive.
This is the biggest myth out there, and it cannot be more wrong. The truth is that all you need are some tricks up your sleeve and a pragmatic approach towards a healthy diet. We have this notion that healthy foods are expensive because we compare the price of chips to superfoods such as chia seeds. If we keep it simple then foods like carrots, beets, lentils, etc. are as cheap as any other unhealthy food. Another trick is to make a budget, and only shop when your home ration is almost over. This way you will not waste food and avoid buying unnecessary food at the local mart.
- Everyone should follow a gluten-free diet.
This is not true. Gluten is often related to gaining fats, but for most people gluten is not an issue. Gluten is nothing but a protein found in cereal grains, and it can only be harmful for people who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. This disease is an autoimmune disorder that cannot tolerate gluten in the body. A normal individual can stay healthy with a gluten diet as long as that person is getting all kinds of vitamins and nutrients.
- Use unrefined sugars, such as honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar in place of white table sugar.
There is a misconception that unrefined sugar has more micronutrients and is metabolized slower than refined sugar. The truth is that unrefined sugar has only a trace amount of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In order to benefit from it, we will have to consume a large quantity of unrefined sugar. This is very unhealthy as the calorie intake will be off the charts. It’s not a good option. Moreover, our body can hardly tell the difference between unrefined and refined sugar. So, metabolism is not affected much.
- Full-fat products equal weight gain.
Fat is an important nutrient as it helps our muscles to function properly. There is a common belief that full-fat products result in weight gain. It’s not true because eating too much of any macronutrient will result in weight gain. It is not limited to just full-fat products. Cutting down fats completely doesn’t help in weight loss. These products are safe to eat as long as they are paired with a healthy and balanced nutritional diet.
- Avoid carbs if you want to lose weight.
Just like fats, avoiding carbs completely will not help you in losing weight. Carbohydrate is an important nutrient, and cutting down carbs means cutting down your fiber, starch, and glucose intake. A healthy diet contains a good balance for all types of carbs, and you cannot compromise on this if you want to stay fit. Studies are still ongoing on keto diets ( completely cutting carbs ), and it is said to have intense side effects on your energy and health overall. Losing weight doesn’t solely depend on carbs, so it is better not to avoid it completely.
- A detox diet will clean toxins out of the body.
What a beautiful thing to have, right? Who wouldn’t want a diet that can literally detoxify our body from within? Only if it were true. Detoxification of the body with a specific diet cannot happen. Our body is made in such a way that it clears out toxins on its own. We have two types of toxins namely endotoxins that are toxins that our body makes such as urine feces, and exotoxins that we get from external factors such as cosmetics and other pollutants from air and water. Liver is the only organ that needs to be healthy in order to get rid of toxins. Follow a healthy diet that excludes alcohol consumption to keep your liver fit.
- You shouldn’t eat anything after 7 p.m. — not even a grape.
There is no solid study that can support this claim. It is a myth that not eating anything after 7 will help in weight loss. This myth comes from the belief that your body burns up the calories it has consumed in the day after 7 pm. So, anything that is consumed after 7 pm turns into fats. This is the most illogical and fear-inducing rumor there is. Weight loss depends on what you eat and how much you eat. It doesn’t depend on when you eat.
- Certain foods, such as grapefruit, cayenne pepper or vinegar, can burn fat.
There is only one thing that you should know. Your body gets energy in the form of calories, and it gets these calories from the food we eat. Everything we eat gives us some percentage of micro and macro-nutrients. In some foods, the percentage of fats can be zero. However, no food can ever burn fat.
- The best way to decrease your sodium intake is to stop using the salt shaker.
This is not true. We get most of our sodium intake from processed foods, ready-to-eat foods, and street/restaurant meals. Salt only adds 10-12% to that sodium intake. If you really want to decrease your sodium intake then stop eating from outside and start cooking at home.
- Low-fat or fat-free products are healthier choices.
The word “healthy” is the most misused word when it comes to low-fat or fat-free products. It doesn’t mean that it is healthy just because it’s a low-fat or fat-free product. In fact, it is the total opposite of that. Many products such as candy, low-fat biscuits and cookies, and fat-free ice cream desserts might be low in fats but are high in sugar and calories. They offer no nutrients and it is better to avoid them. On the other hand, some really healthy foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds are high in fats. It is not what the label says but the overall nutritional value of the food that counts.
There are more myths still circling the nutrition field. However, this top 10 nutrition myth list must have given you an understanding of what to believe and what not to believe when it comes to healthy eating and proper nutrition. There is no doubt that a good diet with proper nutrition is beneficial for your body, but what often gets overlooked is its positive impact on our mental health. Nutrition to your brain can do wonders for all types of mental issues. Studies show that a diet rich in nutrients lifts mood, reduces anxiety, stops sleeping disorders, and much more.
Start eating healthy now!
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