The wellness niche has come a long way over the past few decades and people are generally much more in tune with how to manage and improve their wellbeing. However, there are still some nutrition myths that just will not die – even those that have been debunked by science! Why? Well, the truth is that it’s much easier to overcomplicate things than to follow a simple diet and take responsibility for your own lack of discipline if you struggle to stick to it. We’ve all been there!
In a world that’s become obsessed with finding the latest quick fix in terms of nutrition and diet, it’s important to take the time to investigate and understand these claims so that you can separate fact from fiction. Keep reading to find an overview of the myths that pop up the most and hopefully gain an even better understanding of how to stay happy and healthy long term.
Myth 1: Eating Many Small Meals During the Day Will Increase Your Metabolism
It’s a commonly held belief that consuming many small meals during the day is the key to maintaining a high metabolism. However, science doesn’t agree. According to studies, eating 2-3 meals each day will have the same impact on calories burned as consuming 5+ smaller meals instead. In fact, some studies show that eating too frequently can be harmful to your health and recent research has revealed that numerous meals throughout the day dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat for participants on a high-calorie diet.
So where did this belief come from? Well, eating more often can be beneficial by controlling your hunger so you’re less likely to binge-eat, so in that case, it can control the number of calories we consume, but it definitely doesn’t affect the number of calories we burn.
Myth 2: Coffee is Super Bad for You!
When you think of coffee, you think of a guilty pleasure, right? Due to the caffeine content in coffee, it’s often thought of as unhealthy and moderation is heavily advised. However, the majority of studies actually demonstrate the powerful health benefits of your morning cuppa! It’s full of antioxidants and nutrients and we all know it provides a great energy boost, but research has shown coffee improves your cognitive performance too! In addition, it’s been noted that coffee drinkers are at a far lesser risk of serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s, and type 2 diabetes!
For those with digestive issues, coffee can help with that too. Caffeine is known to stimulate movement in your colon, so suffer from if you IBS-C or on/off constipation it’s definitely worth a try.
Myth 3: Low-Fat Foods are Always Healthy and Low-Calorie
The problem with low-fat foods is that they’re FULL of sugar. Without the sugar they wouldn’t taste very good at all, so manufacturers tend to pack it in. But excess sugar is far worse for you than the fat that’s naturally present in your food. A high-sugar diet can increase your risk of heart disease, cause acne, and lead to obesity. It’s also worth remembering that just because something is low fat it doesn’t mean it’s low in calories, plus how many times have you had 2 cookies instead of 1 because they’re “low fat”?!
Always check your food labels so that you know exactly what you’re consuming whether it’s low-fat or not; if sugar is in the first 3 ingredients then it’s a food you definitely want to avoid.
Myth 4: Eating at Night Will Lead to Weight Gain
Nope. The only way your midnight trips to the fridge will lead to weight gain is if you’re exceeding the number of calories you’ve burned that day. If you’re an evening snacker, the main thing to watch out for are TV snacks – it’s very easy to get through 2 bags of chips, and a choc bar, and a pizza … without even noticing until the movie is over! But if you stay mindful of your calories in versus calories out, your evening eating habits aren’t going to make you pile on the pounds.
Myth 5: Only People With Celiac Disease Need to Avoid Gluten
Gluten-free diets have grown in popularity but this has led to a bit of stigma surrounding this as a dietary trend rather than a necessity for optimal health in many people. The reality is that you can be sensitive to gluten without suffering from Celiac disease and you will see this sensitivity manifest in various symptoms such as bloating and stomach pain. Celiac disease, which affects less than 1% of people in the US, is simply the most severe form of this type of intolerance.
In comparison, gluten sensitivity is much more prevalent and affects around 6-7% of people in the US alone. Gluten-free diets have also been proven to help to manage and reduce the symptoms of digestion issues such as IBS, hence the growing popularity of this dietary choice.
Myth 6: Diet Sodas Are Terrible for You
This is a strange one. When you think of a diet soda vs orange juice, the juice is the healthier option, right? Well, yes. But the juice also contains more calories. So if you’re trying to manage your weight or on a weight loss diet, the diet soda is actually the better option. In fact, a recent study reported that dieters who successfully lost weight and kept it off were regular consumers of diet beverages.
This really boils down to your priorities. Are diet sodas great for you? No. Are they going to kill you? Also no. So if you’re trying to keep your weight under control, sipping on a diet soda instead of a coke isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Myth 7: Carbs Are Evil
Carbs are not the enemy. Whilst a low-carb diet can definitely offer fast results, carbohydrates are a vital source of energy and really shouldn’t be completely cut out of your diet long term. However, not all carbs are created equal and you should always opt for the complex variety which you’ll find in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits.
Staying educated about your wellbeing and nutrition is the key to sustaining good health throughout your years. Don’t be afraid to question anything presented as “fact” and always listen to your body above all else!