The fact that nowadays we have a lot of information about nutrition accessible with one click of the mouse does not mean that all this information is accurate, even when it comes from various experts in the field of health.
Here are 15 nutrition myths that are circulating on social media and magazine covers, that you should be aware of.
1. If you are struggling to lose weight, count calories more carefully
The problem with this belief is that relying on pure caloric intake does not take into account a large number of other variables that can limit your weight loss.
Hormonal imbalances, thyroid gland disorders, various medications – these are just some of these factors that are rarely talked about. This of course does not exclude the principle of energy balance and the importance of entering a calorie deficit, but only makes the whole weight loss story much more complex than playing with calorie numbers.
2. Eliminate fats from your diet if you want to lose weight
Dietary fats are essential for the health of our cells, the balance of sex hormones, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and these are just some of the important functions they perform in the body. In addition, they make us more full and make our meals more tasty. Therefore, an adequate amount of essential fat is needed for the optimal health and is no threat to healthy weight loss.
3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
This mantra has ruled the fitness world for years, until recent research began to prove that there really are a number of people who manage to maintain their healthy habits during the day without any problems even by skipping breakfast regularly.
So health benefits can be found on both sides which is why the answer is extremely individual – whether you have breakfast or not is up to you. If you like to eat in the morning, keep it up, and if you’re not into early morning meals skip breakfast.
4. Eat smaller meals to see the results
Similar to breakfast, it also depends. This method has been used as a way to speed up metabolism, which has also been questioned in later studies that have actually proven the benefits of the opposite practice.
Generally speaking – if you are healthy or do not suffer from some health disorders such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and intestinal diseases and if you are not pregnant, the frequency of meals a day is not so important as long as you keep your appetite and calorie intake under control.
5. Artificial sweeteners are healthy
Every year we witness an increasing offer of products that are declared healthy only because sugar in them has been replaced by artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, stevia etc.
It is clear that a diet with a high content of sugar is unhealthy and significantly increases the risk of various diseases, but this does not mean that artificial sweeteners cannot have its negative consequences, as it was proven by some previous research, and many are still expected.
6. The perfect ratio of macronutrients is more important than food quality
Playing with macronutrient ratios really has a purpose and can significantly affect health and body composition, but the most important factor is the quality of the food you eat.
Everything else is one of the more advanced techniques that can bring you more cons than pros if you are not ready for them, or if you have not already adopted the basics of a healthy diet such as whole food intake and regular hydration.
7. Dietary food is the best
As already mentioned – fats in food are not necessarily bad, nor can we gain weight if we eat fats . Products labeled as “fat-free” or “low-fat” try to leave such an impression but on the other hand, sugar and salt were often added to these products as a substitute for lost taste and texture.
While it would also be wrong to say that all such products are unhealthy, it is good to know that they are not always a healthier alternative to full-fat products. Read the nutrition labels and consider occasionally indulging in healthy fats, instead of eating unlimited amounts of something that may not benefit you as much as you think.
8. Supplements are a must
The other extreme myth would be to say that supplements are necessary for health and ideal body composition. There is nothing black or white in the world of fitness and so is the issue of supplementation.
The fact is that the intake of nutrients from various foods in healthy people should be in the first place and that there are many dietary supplements of questionable quality that have no or minimal effects on the body and general health. On the other hand there are people with severe nutritional deficiencies or health problems that can improve the quality of their life by taking supplements.
9. Drastic calorie reduction is the best way to lose weight
Restrictive diets usually lead to rapid metabolic adaptations that limit or completely stop further progress and can lead to some long-term health consequences such as hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and eating disorders.
Studies have shown that people who follow restrictive diets rarely achieve long-term results – due to changes in metabolism and increased hunger caused by hormonal imbalances and feelings of frustration due to restriction, they gain most of the lost weight back. Forget magical diets – the solution is to gradually adopt better habits and be patient.
10. Only skinny is healthy
Although obesity is closely linked to many health disorders and affects the quality of life, you don’t necessarily have to be lean to be healthy.
Weight is not an indicator of a person’s health. In fact it often happens that someone is very skinny due to improper diet, food restrictions, chronic conditions and many other factors related to their unhealthy lifestyle.
11. Drink smoothies
If you make your own smoothie, from a combination of vegetables, fruits and other healthy supplements, you can be pretty sure that you are giving your body valuable nutrients and that this practice can be really good for your overall health.
But if you regularly buy them in the store believing that they are good for your health, think again and before you buy again, check the declaration and the list of ingredients of your favorite juices. It is very likely that you will find a handful of sugars, artificial colors and calories on the list, which in the long run will very likely lead to excess weight and possible problems with blood sugar.
12. Everyone should take probiotics
In the last few years, probiotics have become a top subject and one of the most popular products in the dietary supplements industry, which soon led probiotics to be considered essential for good health.
Although it is difficult to dispute the benefits of probiotics use, some studies have shown that due to the sensitive nature of probiotics themselves, insufficient information on the type and amount of bacterial types required in each individual case, and different reactions of individual bodies, probiotics intake should be targeted and personalized for everyone.
13. It is easy to lose weight
Don’t be fooled by promising body transformations as well as stories of significant weight loss in a short amount of time and without much effort. Weight loss is not an easy process – it requires consistency, hard work, patience and a healthy attitude towards yourself, and many factors such as genetics or some hormonal problems can make the whole process even more difficult.
14. Food rich in cholesterol is unhealthy
Cholesterol in itself is not our enemy, in fact it is an essential molecule in the body and as such necessary due to its effect on cells and hormones.
And while some people should restrict the intake of cholesterol due to health reasons, most people are free to include foods rich in the same as eggs or full-fat yogurt in their diet.
15. Forget carbs if you want to lose weight
At one point, carbs were blamed for weight gain, which led many people to fear that carbs consumption will lead to excess weight and negatively affect their health.
While it is true that every body responds differently to carbs, for most people this macronutrient can and must be part of a balanced diet plan, especially with a moderate to high level physical activity.
Instead of relying on some nutritional rules that may not apply to you and that are constantly changing, be curious and test your own body’s tolerance limits yourself. With continuous education about nutrition and the functioning of the human body, this is the best way to defend yourself from these and all other nutritional myths.