Here is a list of the top lies/myths about nutrition that are completely incorrect. The sentences in the big font are the lies we have been taught to believe thanks to flawed studies and misinformation.
1. Saturated fat is bad for you.
It was a few decades ago that people started to believe that heart disease came as a result of eating too much fats (saturated in particular). This idea came from very inaccurate studies and decisions made by politicians that are now proven wrong. There is no study that proves an association of saturated fat and heart disease. The idea that saturated fat raises the risk of heart disease is unproven. HDL (the good cholesterol) is raised by eating saturated fat.
2. Eggs are unhealthy.
Eggs have a reputation of being unhealthy to some degree because of the level of high fat and cholesterol in the yolk. It is considered by some to increase the risk of heart disease. In actuality, eggs raise the “good” cholesterol and aren’t connected with an increased risk of heart disease. They are very nutritious in that they contain unique antioxidants to protect our eyes and have a lot of protein in addition.
3. Low-fat foods are good for you.
Extracting fat from natural food products is a very modern practice and is based on flawed logic and science. If the manufacturers extracted the fat and left it as is, the product would taste so bland and tasteless. In addition, it would be left with an imbalance of nutrients (such as 99% fat free sliced meat with 8 grams of protein/slice). This imbalance is not natural and manufacturers try to restore the balance by adding carbohydrates and sugars. (Surprisingly, you can find sugar in many items like low fat sliced meat, ketchup, low-fat yogurt, cereals, bread, etc.).
4. High-fat foods will make you fat.
The vast majority of packaged consumer foods and drinks are very high in carbohydrates, causing most people to be naturally on a high-carb diet without knowing it. When they decide to introduce high-fat foods like beef, cheese, and eggs into their diet, they often gain weight. The reasoning behind this is that humans need only a very minor amount of carbohydrates to be healthy and the SAD (Standard American Diet) consists of unprecedented amounts of carbohydrates and sugars previously unknown to the evolutionary biology of humans. When there is a huge abundance of carbohydrates, available as glucose in the body, the body utilizes the carbohydrates as a primary energy source and stores any excess fat. With healthy (lower) amounts of carbohydrates, there will be room for more naturally occurring saturated and unsaturated fats in one’s diet. Eating lower amount of carbohydrates while replacing them with more fat and protein has been statistically proven to improve the metabolism and lower one’s body fat percentage by increasing fat burning particles called ketones.
5. Everybody should be eating grains.
The agricultural revolution has occurred relatively recent in human history and our genes have not changed that much. Grains are low in nutrients compared to products like vegetables, meat, and cheese. The most common grain in America is wheat and has been reported to cause a lot of health problems. Modern wheat contains gluten, but a large amount of people may be sensitive to it. Gluten causes a variety of health problems in addition.
Links for further reading:
- New Scientist – “Longest scientific study yet backs Atkins diet”
- Stanford Study – “Atkins Fares Best in Study Of Four Weight-Loss Regimens”
- Journal of the American Medical Association – “Reduction of the resting metabolic rate as a result of dieting, a known factor in the failure of dieting, was the least in the very low carbohydrate diet.”
- New England Journal of Medicine – “the low-carbohydrate group showed both the greatest weight loss and the most improvement in lipids (cholesterol)”
- Journal of the American Medical Association – “overweight and obese women assigned to follow the Atkins diet, which had the lowest carbohydrate intake, lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months than women assigned to follow the Zone, Ornish, or LEARN diets.”
- Nutrition and Metabolism – “A high-starch, high-carbohydrate diet excessively stimulates appetite and disturbs energy balance in patients with the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.”
- International Journal of Cancer – “A significant direct trend in cancer risk was found for bread (OR = 1.94 for the highest versus the lowest intake quintile), and a modest excess of risk was observed for pasta and rice (OR = 1.29), and milk and yoghurt (OR = 1.27). Poultry (OR = 0.74), processed meat (OR = 0.64) and vegetables (OR = 0.65) were inversely associated with renal cell carcinoma risk. “
- New England Journal of Medicine – “Our findings suggest that diets lower in carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat are not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease in women.”
- Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism – “The LCKD [low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet] improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes such that diabetes medications were discontinued or reduced in most participants. “
- Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention – “In this population, a high percentage of calories from carbohydrate, but not from fat, was associated with increased breast cancer risk.”
- Annals of Internal Medicine – “Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss. During active weight loss, serum triglyceride levels decreased more and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level increased more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with the low-fat diet.”
- Annals of Internal Medicine – “Participants on a low-carbohydrate diet had more favorable overall outcomes at 1 year than did those on a conventional diet.”