When good advice goes bad: nutrition advice you should stop believing

We all want to live healthier lives.  But sometimes we fall for advice that isn’t necessarily good for us, whether it’s the latest health scare, or the latest celebrity fad.   Here are some nutrition myths you might believe in, but shouldn’t.   You can read the original article here.

Eat more “natural” foods


Sometimes, food labeling is confusing enough to trick you into thinking something is healthy when it isn’t. For example, foods with “all natural” ingredients — no artificial colors or flavors — aren’t necessarily healthier than foods without these labels. According to LiveScience, the USDA defines the term “natural” as any minimally processed food free of artificial or added ingredients. However, manufacturers can still get away with a lot under this definition due to loose FDA regulations. A natural label doesn’t tell you exactly how a food was grown, processed, or produced, so that “all natural” food isn’t as healthy as you’d like to believe.

Avoid microwaving food whenever possible


When you zap your food in a microwave, does it also zap that food’s nutrients? According to Harvard Health Publications, heating food in your microwave is one of the most effective ways to preserve nutrients. Cooking foods for long periods of time and heating them in liquid, as with boiling, promotes nutrient loss. Microwave cooking is short, and doesn’t require liquid for heating the way boiling certain foods in water does.

Cleanse your body of toxins


Detox teas, smoothies, and foods with magical cleansing powers one day invaded the diet industry, and have yet to leave. Despite so many health enthusiasts and celebs claiming they work, Authority Nutrition notes the absence of credible human studies on detox diets. The idea that you can cleanse your body of harmful substances if you only eat certain foods — or nothing at all — isn’t scientifically sound. You’re likely doing your body more harm than good.

The problem is, many detoxes involving juice, tea, or smoothies just fill your body with sugar and empty calories. Besides, certain foods don’t clear your body of waste. Your liver, kidneys, and sweat glands do that. Any weight you might lose during a detox — mostly water weight — you’ll likely gain back quickly. If you want to avoid harmful chemicals in your body, cut out processed foods — a much more effective, but healthier, detox.

Avoid foods high in cholesterol


For decades, doctors and nutrition professionals have tried keeping you away from foods high in cholesterol. Outdated research simply assumed cholesterol and heart disease were related. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, more recent studies suggest dietary cholesterol isn’t directly related to heart disease. Basically, food doesn’t raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol or lower your HDL (good) cholesterol as much as scientists used to think. As long as you have enough HDL cholesterol to clear out excess LDL cholesterol, you’ll be perfectly healthy.

You should be looking at your total cholesterol.  You may not need statins unless you have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.  Always consult your doctor to find what’s right for you.

This is my biggest pet peeve.  I recently had my cholesterol checked.  It has basically stayed the same over the last five years. My doctor recommended a low-fat diet, which is, I am sad to say, an outdated way of thinking.  Dietary fat does NOT raise cholesterol levels.  I do not carry any other risk factors.   Your cholesterol “numbers” are not always an indication of good, or bad health.  You need to look at the whole picture.

Eat more often to increase your metabolism

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Food and metabolism are related, but not in the way many people still believe. Overall, research thus far fails to support a connection between metabolism and smaller, more frequent meals. One small study suggests more frequent meals has little to no effect on weight, and may actually increase hunger. Though many people who eat smaller meals more often tend to lose weight, it’s not because of an increase in metabolism. It’s more likely because eating smaller meals discourages overeating.

Eat more “low fat” foods to lose weight


When food companies noticed people’s wariness of high-fat foods, they started making low-fat products. Yet you’ve probably never eaten a low-fat food that tasted like cardboard — because they’ve since fixed that problem. Manufacturers might not add as much fat to certain foods, but they usually make up for that by adding sugar and other flavorings. Dr. Robert S. Bobrow, in his Huffington Post article about low-fat diets, also noted low-fat foods tend to be less filling, prompting you to eat more. This makes total sense — processed foods are often made up mostly of empty calories, and most lack essential nutrients like fiber to keep you full.

Technically, foods labeled “low-fat” are low in fat, but it doesn’t mean they’re any better for you. Whether you’re eating low-fat Oreos or regular Oreos, they’re still Oreos. Choose fatty foods that also offer other nutritional benefits when possible.

Fat is NOT the problem.  Just choose your fats wisely. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day


Breakfast cereal companies need you to believe a bowl of Frosted Flakes every morning will change your life. Health experts, however, aren’t so sure breakfast is as important for everyone as we once believed. Dr. Aaron E. Carroll’s breakfast myth-busting column in The Upshot points to everything wrong with studies claiming the importance of a big meal first thing in the morning. Solid research tends to show little evidence that either eating or skipping breakfast has a major impact on a person’s health.

Don’t freak out — this doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy breakfast food. If you have to choose between a highly processed breakfast and no breakfast, you might be better off going without.

These are just some of the “myths” and bad advice you have most likely come across.  Remember, common sense goes a long way.  Don’t believe everything you read, or hear.  Listen to your body and be healthy!




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