Nutrition is such an important topic in our everyday lifes. Therefore, it's crucial to have a good understanding of it.
Thanks to nutrition "gurus" and bro-science based fitness "experts" the world is filled with food trends, fad diets and a ton of misinformation.
Good thing there's another episode of "Exposed & Solved". Enjoy!
1. Don't eat too much eggs, they are high in cholesterol
One of the most common myths, which is propagated by the media and even some GP's. Eggs are often claimed evil, because their yolks contain high levels of cholesterol.
So what? Eating foods, that are high in cholesterol isn't linked to an increase in "bad" cholesterol levels. There is literally no evidence to support those claims!
However, there are studies, that show eggs raise the "good" cholesterol.
In fact, eggs are a great source of protein, healthy fats and many other nutrients.
Egg whites are healthier than whole eggs
While there is nothing wrong with eating egg whites, throwing away the yolks means you're missing out on a ton of nutritional benefits. One whole egg contains about 7g of protein. Eaten together with the yolk makes it an even better source of heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3s, several B vitamins and choline.
The only benefit you get from just eating egg whites is less calories. But also less nutrients, since egg whites are very low in vitamins and minerals.
2. Don't eat calories at night, but in the morning (especially carbohydrates)
I bet you read that before, in one of those "health & wellness"-magazines. Or your local "newspaper".
Think about it. Why would that be the case? Your body constantly burns and stores fat. With every meal! It doesn't care what the clock says.
While it really doesn't matter when you eat to lose weight, most of the people tend to overindulge when they snack late at night. Hence, it's the overindulging that's sabotaging their weight loss efforts.
So, if it's already after 6pm, the hunger strikes and you didn't have dinner: eat. You have to feed and fuel your body. There is no harm done if you eat after 6pm or 8pm. It doesn't matter if you eat all your calories at 10pm. What matters are the total calories you take in. As long as you stay in a caloric deficit, you will lose fat.
3. A gluten-free diet is super healthy
I'm sorry to shatter your hopes, but no. It's not. Unless you have allergic reactions, celiac disease or a gluten/wheat sensitivity, there is no reason to remove gluten from your diet. Only roughly 10% of the population are actually gluten intolerant, some of them to such a low extent, they don't even notice it.
Gluten itself really isn't unhealthy, so if you tolerate it - enjoy it! Much like milk.
Furthermore, foods labelled as "gluten-free" are not healthier. Gluten-free junk food is still junk food. But more expensive.
Just because other people are lactose intolerant, doesn't make you stop consuming milk-based products, does it?
4. An ideal diet should be sugar-free
It's pretty much common knowledge that sugar isn't the healthiest ingredient in the world. But you don't have to totally ban it from your ingredients list. Basically, it's the same as with everything: It's fine in small amounts, and it can be a disaster when consumed in excess. The dosage makes the poison.
And by the way, all ingested carbs (and some protein) are broken down into glucose in our bodies - which is sugar. We need glucose to fuel our cells with energy.
Of course, there is a difference between table sugar and the sugar found in - let's say - fruits (fructose). A piece of fruit contains a lot more vitamins, minerals and fibre. Furthermore, fructose does not affect blood glucose. As such, fructose has a lower glycemic index than starch-based foods.
But even if you stop eating "sugary" foods, if you actually track your intake, you'll notice that a ton of foods have sugar in them and your intake might be higher than you thought.
I like to stick to the 80/20-rule, where 80% of my diet comes from clean whole foods and 20% from-not-so-clean foods to treat myself. Balance, guys!
5. Fresh foods are much better than frozen foods
This myth is kind of true and kind of not. It depends. Actually frozen food can be much healthier than their fresh counterparts. Especially when it comes to frozen fruits and vegetables.
As fruits and veggies ripen, their nutrient content decreases, while their sugar content increases. Fruits and veggies get harvested when their nutritional value peaks and quickly frozen right after. Hence, all nutrients get preserved and you can enjoy your frozen foods with all their nutritional value and freshness.
If you enjoy non-local fruits and veggies, buying frozen will give you a lot more nutrients than fresh, since the fresh versions have been harvested weeks before they were ripe and were transported across the globe since that. Not so fresh after all!
However, frozen ready-to-eat meals are a no-no! You'd be better of with a packaged salad. They are also quite expensive compared to real food.
6. It's much healthier to be vegan or vegetarian
Oh my gosh, why? Being healthy completely depends on the foods being eaten. For example, a diet rich in Oreos and salted crisps is vegan and unhealthy.
It doesn't matter if you're on a vegan diet, paleo diet or keto diet, you still have to make healthier decisions on a daily basis. There are a lot of chocolate options out there for all kinds of diets. Clear your mind of that "vegan means healthy" or "paleo means healthy" thinking. It's just a way of living and not necessarily a healthier one.
And don't even get me started on Paleo energy bars. There were no bars back then!
Just because you are following one of those regimes, does not mean you will lose weight or be more healthy. A lot of people switch to, say a plant-based diet and lose weight. Awesome! But it's not because plant-based is beneficial for weight loss.
It's because those people ate crap all day before and now they consume more fresh whole foods and less processed food and are therefore easier satiated and eat less calories. Unfortunately, that will wear off rather quickly.
7. Coffee is bad for you
This myth made me nearly cry. I love my black coffee.
It's again like with every other food: Too much of everything is bad for you. But everything in moderation is totally fine.
In fact, if you want to get some extra antioxidants in, coffee is a great (and delicious) way to do so. Plus, studies have shown that people who drink coffee live longer than people who don't.
Cheers to my favourite morning cup of black coffee!
Oh and by the way: "coffee" means black coffee. Real coffee. Best case, freshly ground and brewed. Not powdered vanilla caramel cappuccino nonsense or a 500 kcal double chocolate pistachio brownie latte macchiato with cream. Those are not coffees!
8. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat 5-7 small meals throughout the day
I heard it way too often. Eat 5-7 meals - or even more - throughout the day to keep your metabolism high. Nonsense! There are several studies, that disagree with this bro-science claim.
One study shows, that it doesn't matter if you eat 1, 2, 5, or 12 meals per day. Eating less meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned than eating more frequent meals.
However, eating more frequently may be beneficial for some people to prevent binge eating. But it's totally up to your preferences how often you want to eat during the day. Some enjoy smaller, more frequent meals. Some larger, less frequent ones.
Either way, your metabolism will not slow down!
9. You don't have to eat less if you want to lose weight, you just have to eat clean
This is so not true. First of all, people have a different understanding of what "clean eating" actually means. For some, it means only eating natural foods. For others, it means avoiding junk food, meal replacements or other supplements.
Let's take avocados, porridge and nuts. They're indeed healthy, but definitely not low in calories. When it comes to losing fat, all that matters is that you're in a caloric deficit. See, just because foods are healthy doesn't mean you can eat as much of this stuff as you want.
Healthy or not, calories count with every food. You can get fat by just eating fruits. Or porridge. Or any other food, because everything has calories!
You should of course try to eat healthy for health reasons, just so we understand each other.
10. Breakfast is the most important meal
Nope, it's not. It's just as important as any other meal of your day.
Of course, you'll benefit from a good nutritious breakfast, when you have a long, stressful day ahead. But there are no specific benefits you get from eating breakfast.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting has many benefits, such as increasing longevity, balancing fasted blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Hence, skipping breakfast will not do any harm!
Plus, break-fast literally means the first meal of the day. If that's lunch, that's your breakfast, since you break your fast then. So don't force porridge down your throat if you're naturally not hungry in the morning!
11. Fat makes you fat
Eat fat and you will get fat. Sounds familiar? This myth is com ing back again and again. Let's get rid of this nonsense for good!
Eating fat isn't what makes you fat! Eating too many calories makes you fat. If you are in a caloric surplus, a low-fat diet won't make you magically lose weight.
Dietary fat is vital for our health. Fats play are crucial for regulating our hormones to ensure a proper function (especially when it comes to testosterone and oestrogen). The only dietary fat you want to stay away from are trans fats, found in highly processed food and pastries.
12. Cleanses and detox teas are necessary to jump-start your diet
I don't want to see those detox tea-pics on Instagram anymore. Stop your detox-obsessions. Such "cleansing" and "detox"-diets normally eliminate complete food groups and you're only allowed to consume plant-based juices and supplements. After a few days your body is supposed to be "cleansed" of all the toxins, but actually they do more harm than good.
But why are they so popular? Quick weight loss. And - sadly - that's what most people want nowadays. Quick and cheap solutions. What they don't consider is, when the diet ends and they go back to normal eating habits, their glycogen stores get replenished, the water retention comes back and also the pounds they had shed.
They lose weight not fat!
Detox is just a nice way to sell you overpriced tea, books and other nonsense. Buy a decent green tea instead and save your money.
13. A diet that works for me will sure as hell work for you
No, no, no, no. Hell no! Please, don't believe this bullsh*t! I know so many people, that sell "their ultimate diet". This "ultimate diet" is simply the same diet plan for each of their clients.
Let's point out one of the most important things, when it comes to meal planning: Everyone is different. Everyone has a different metabolism, taste, schedule and goal. Some need less carbs, some need more.
I'm sorry, but there is no "magic diet".
Just because a diet worked for somebody or even 3 billion people doesn't mean it works for you!
Common sense people!
14. Microwaving your food destroys its nutrients
I absolutely love simple and fast meals, especially when I have a lot of things to do. That's why my microwave is one of my best friends.
Let met clear things up here: Microwaves are designed to cook food. Hence, the radiation is many, many times weaker than X-rays or gamma rays. You can use your microwave without concerns. Furthermore, changes that occur in microwaved food are from the heat generated inside the food, not the microwaves itself.
Cooking with a microwave is really not different from any other cooking method. Well, it's faster.
15. There are foods, that have negative calories
Come on! It can't be right, when something sounds too good to be true.
There is no such thing as a "negative-calorie" food.
The faulty logic behind this myth is based on the thermic effect of food (TEF). The TEF is the amount of energy the body needs to digest food and it varies from 0-30%. So if you for instance consume 1000 kcal worth of protein, you'll roughly burn 300 kcal, to digest it. Still 700 kcal left!
Hence, to turn a food into a "negative calorie" food, the TEF has to be over 100%, which isn't possible, so you'll always have some calories left from the food.
The only thing that comes even close is coffee. Since caffeine increases your metabolism, you'll burn more calories after you consumed one. However, it's not much and you'll certainly not use fat, just because you had two more coffees.
Do you have any nutrition myth, that I forgot? I can't wait to hear them! Pease let me know in the comment section below.