The nutrition world is rife with misinformation, leading to public confusion, mistrust of health professionals, and poor dietary choices. This, coupled with the fact that nutrition science is constantly changing, makes it no wonder that most people have a warped view of what constitutes a healthy diet. People are often drawn to believing a myth because of a desire to see results quickly.
Here are some myths and the facts that you should definitely know about:
1. Multi-grain and Wheat Bread Is Better Than White Bread
“Wheat bread” is generally white bread with caramel or molasses added to make it look dark and healthy. “Multi-grain” just means that different kinds of junky refined grains may have been used. Always look for the words “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the package.
2. Low fat means “Healthy”
Contrary to deeply entrenched opinions, a low-fat diet is not necessarily a healthy one. The important thing is not to cut out fat entirely, but to make sure that you’re eating the right kind. Unsaturated fats are the ones our bodies need and use. They have been associated with lower blood cholesterol, and are found in foods such as oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish.
Low-fat products are only useful when they are helping you to reduce your intake of saturated fat, the type of fat associated with high cholesterol and heart disease risk. If you do choose these kinds of products, make sure you read the nutrition information label to make sure they’re free from added sugar.
3. Skim milk has more sugar than full cream milk
A shift toward more natural eating has seen health enthusiasts keen to consume their foods in as natural a state as possible. It’s often argued that skim milk is more processed than full cream milk and that it contains more sugar, which isn’t the case. If you have heart disease it still makes sense to choose low or reduced-fat dairy, but if you have a low fat intake overall, and are slim and fit with no history of heart disease, full cream milk is unlikely to cause any harm.
4. Carbs make you gain weight
Just as fat has been blamed for promoting weight gain and heart disease, carbs have been shunned by many people over fears that consuming this macronutrient will cause obesity, diabetes, and other adverse health effects. In reality, eating a moderate amount of nutritious carbs that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals like starchy root vegetables, ancient grains, and legumes will likely benefit your health — not harm it. For example, dietary patterns that contain a balanced mix of high fiber carbs mainly from produce, healthy fats, and proteins, such as the Mediterranean diet, have been associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
5. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
While it was once thought that eating breakfast was one of the most important factors in setting yourself up for a healthy day, research has shown that this might not be the case for most adults. For instance, research indicates that forgoing breakfast may result in reduced calorie intake. Moreover, partaking in intermittent fasting, during which breakfast is either skipped or consumed later in the day, has been linked to a plethora of benefits, including improved blood sugar control and reductions in inflammatory markers. However, intermittent fasting can also be accomplished by consuming a regular breakfast then having your last meal earlier in the evening to maintain a fasting window of 14–16 hours.
Keep in mind that this does not apply for growing children and teens or those with increased nutrient needs, such as pregnant women and those with certain health conditions, as skipping meals may lead to negative health effects in these populations.
Although these nutrition myths are likely here to stay, educating yourself by separating fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition can help you feel more empowered to develop a nutritious and sustainable dietary pattern that works for your individual needs.
Regency Healthcare has certified and experienced dieticians and nutritionists. Visit today for a consult.