In today’s day and age, there are countless ways that people are able to take care of their bodies, from computers that one can wear on their wrist to track their bodies internal mechanisms to tracking every bit of food (and the nutrition behind it) that one eats, it’s really the golden age of health and nutrition. That may sound a bit ironic because as a whole, people are as unhealthy as ever, but the “fit” community has really carved out a niche of its own online where people can come together and support/encourage one another to reach certain goals (whether they be based on skills like running or lifting, or weight loss or body mass goals). So, let’s take a look at the Top 10 myths that that community has found when it comes to food, things we’ve all thought were true but apparently aren’t!
10. All Carbs Make You Fat
This may not be something that people “always” thought, as it was Dr. Atkins that actually made the connection between carbohydrates and weight gain (and also that fat (or not all fats) isn’t the cause of… Fat) and created a diet revolution called Atkins (which has since branched out into countless “Keto”-diets). However, he was a bit broad with his demonization of carbs, as it’s been found that not all types of carbs are “bad” (or cause weight gain). Our bodies need carbs to function, so it was a really important caveat, especially as potatoes, pasta, bread, rice, fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugars contain carbohydrates… Since that makes up basically the entire food pyramid, it makes sense that carbs aren’t solely bad for you. In fact, the carbs from fresh fruit, vegetables, and wholegrain bread can actually help you and your body when you’re getting ready for a fitness challenge or weight lifting session.
9. Don’t Eat Fruit!
It may sound strange to those who don’t pay attention to the fitness community as a lot of us were raised to believe that fruit was good and that “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away”. However, because of the number ten entry on this list, people have been avoiding fruit left and right because of the sugar (and thus carbohydrates) that they contain. Considering that the government suggests that you should eat two servings of fruit a day, so who is right? The rule of thumb when it comes to all carbs, also look at the amount of dietary fiber that exists as well, as you can basically subtract the amount of carbs from the fiber (or vice versa). So, if an apple has 10 carbs and 9 grams of fiber, then there’s really only 1 net carb that you have to worry about. Not to mention that that fiber is really good for you and essential for your diet, as are the vitamins, minerals and potassium.
8. Chocolate Causes Acne
One of the biggest worries that teenagers all over the world constantly fear (besides their next text, what they need to wear to school the next day and whether or not they’ll pass their drivers test) is acne. For ages kids and teens are told to limit their sugar/sweets/candy/chocolate intake as it somehow contributes to acne. However, there’s no science to support that myth, when it comes to chocolate at least. The glycemic index (GI) measures carbohydrate-containing food and how they affect blood sugar levels and foods that rank high on the GI are linked to higher ranks of acne. So, foods like white bread, white rice, and even doughnuts all get high scores on the glycemic index, for example, while chocolate does not (especially not dark chocolate). So, if you’ve got some acne you can rest easy that it’s not your Hershey bar that’s to blame.
7. Potatoes are Empty Carbs
Yeah. There’s a lot of carb related stuff on this list. That should show you just how impactful Dr. Atkins was when he released his first book about the Atkins diet. Because of that, most people are limiting their carbs and some are cutting them out of their diet entirely. There are some, though, that know the #9 myth and understand that there are good carbs and bad carbs, or good foods with carbs and bad foods with carbs. For awhile, potatoes were considered to be in the bad carb section, which is both right and wrong. While mashed potatoes are bad carbs, baked potatoes are actually pretty good for you. They contain 4 grams of fiber (see #9) and also 20% of one’s daily potassium intake, so it’s not just an empty carb bomb like most people think. It’s also low in calories, which is also something you should keep an eye on even if you are on a keto-diet (unless you want to die of heart disease because you’re taking in 4,000 calories a day of red meat like double cheeseburgers without the bun or steaks for every meal like some on keto diets do).
6. Eating at Night Makes You Fat
This is a myth that goes way back, as people have thought for the longest time that if you eat food at night, or after a certain hour, you’ll gain weight. The idea behind that is that eating before you go to sleep makes you gain weight because you’re not awake to burn off all those calories by sitting at a desk at work or on the couch at night watching Netflix. The truth, or science, is that it doesn’t matter what time of day you ingest food, what matters is what kind of food you’re eating. Because late night eating is linked to stress/anxiety/depression, it can end up being stress eating which typically doesn’t include the healthiest foods. It’s sort of a vicuous cycle as ingesting all that sugar late at night doesn’t help you sleep, and disrupted sleep is actually a major contributor to stress/anxiety/depression.
5. Microwaving Food Zaps it’s Nutrients
Almost immedialtey after microwaves were released there was the theory that microwaves kill the nutrients in food. While a lot of that is based on a poorly researched book from the 70’s, there are still people out there that believe that a microwave is zapping away all the nutrients in your food. It’s actually the opposite of the truth, as it’s actually heat that removes nutrients and microwaves actually use less heat than let’s say boiling water or the fire that heats the pan on the stove you’re using to keep your nutrients “safe”. Beyond that, adding water to the mix also dilludes the nutrients, so boiling or blanching your food is the worst thing you can do to your meal in that regard. The fact that most microwaveable foods are low in good nutrients explains why people may think that microwaves are unhealthy, but beyond that the science supports it’s use… So get ready for some soggy pizza! It’s healthier!
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup is Worse for you than Sugar
High Fructose Corn Syrup has replaced real sugar in nearly everything that used to contain sugar. It’s obviously a corn derivative and because the United States is full of corn, it just makes more sense to use corn than sugar cane, which is abundant in countries in South America, among others. Because of America’s obesity rates, especially in children, people needed something to blame and so they went to the common culprit, sugar. However, when people learned that they were actually ingesting corn syrup, they reacted negatively. Somehow, or really because of the internet/documentaries, people believe that high fructose corn syrup is way less nutritional than sugar and thus worse for you. It’s thought that because it’s not a natural product, it’s worse for you, however there’s no science to support that as both cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup end up breaking down in the body the exact same way. Like regular sugar (which is being advertised on everything as a positive these days) it’s about limiting your intake not what you’re intaking.
3. Celery/Lettuce/Celery have Negative Calories
There’s really no reason in 2018 that you should be eating just lettuce, but some people do enjoy the somewhat bitter taste of Celery. Both are mostly water, and are low in calories, so it’s actually thought by people that eating either celery or lettuce ends up as negative calories in your body because of the energy used to chew, (reluctantly) swallow and digest the food. Because of that, both have been staples of people’s diets for years. However, like everything else on this list, there’s no food that contains less calories than it costs to eat it, unless you consider water food. Beyond calories, there’s also healthy nutrients in things like celery, like dietary fiber. So, if you’re actually looking for something that creates a negative in this context, then look at dietary fiber as it basically negates the “bad” carbs in any food.
2. Coffee/Tea Dehydrates You
Caffeine is a diuretic, which ends up making you go to the bathroom more often than you otherwise would (number one, while it also seems to have an effect on your intestines as it can cause some to also need to go number two… What a magical drink!). Because of that, it’s thought by some that things that contain caffeine will make you dehydrated (which is ironic because people typically give drunk/hungover people coffee and that combined with the dehydration that alcohol creates, really would only make matters worse for the sot you’re trying to help) and whie in extreme cases that’s true, it’d require a lot more caffeine than the average coffee/tea drinker drinks to actually cause any actual problem with hydration. Because coffee is mostly water, it basically off-sets any loss of water from the caffeine. It’s the sodium that you excrete that’s the problem, again in extreme cases, so perhaps take a grain of salt next time you order your latte.
1. Eggs = Cholesterol
An oldie, and a goody! For a very long time, people have believed that eggs contain cholesterol. The cholesterol comes from the yolk, we were taught, and thus people eat egg-white-only omelletes and entire companies that sell egg white only goo that you can use to make the aforementioned or scrambled eggs. Like carbs, while it’s been found that some cholesterol isn’t bad for you (“good cholesterol”), however the main type of cholesterol that people are referring to when they say “I have high cholesterol” is nothing but bad for you. High levels of cholesterol can lead to fatty deposit in the arteries of the heart, which can lead to heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Eggs are high in cholesterol (with about 210 miligrams per egg) but aren’t high in either saturated and trans fats, which are the dietary causes of high cholesterol. Because of that, eggs have a limited effect on actual cholestrol and also contain all sorts of other good stuff like protein, omega-3, vitamins, minerals and the promise that comes with a new life that would’ve been for the chick inside.