Nutrition can be pretty confusing.
If you followed every news headline about nutrition you would end up with exactly nothing left to eat because everything seems to be bad for you.
In case you missed point #10, the bullet point in my graphic is B.S. and today is April Fool’s Day.
But I deal with a lot of these nutrition myths with Sleekgeek Coaching Clients and I want to quickly talk a bit about why there is so much confusion.
First, it’s important to realise that nutrition science is pretty “young”.
For example, macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) weren’t even discovered until the mid-1800s. Vitamins weren’t discovered until the 1900s.
For comparison, if you look at chemistry, Greek philosophers proposed the idea of the atom more than 2,000 years ago in 430 BC.
ALL scientific disciplines begin with confusion, dead ends, frustration, silliness, and intentional or unintentional deception. (Before humans understood weather patterns, a tornado happened because someone angered the wind gods.)
So it’s good to know that nutrition science will eventually grow up and mature, but this takes time.
For now, take what you hear (especially from the news) with a pinch of salt and realise that no matter how promising the study or news might sound, there’s a good chance that it’s only part of the whole story.
Just so you know, every “Nutrition Fact” in my graphic was actually a myth named in this evidence-based article from Examine.com: https://examine.com/articles/awful-nutrition-myths/
Myth: Protein is bad for you
The Truth: Protein, even in large amounts, isn’t harmful to your kidneys (unless you suffer from a pre-existing condition).
Myth: Carbs are bad for you
The Truth: As long as you do not overindulge, there is nothing inherently harmful about carbohydrates.
Myth: Fats are bad for you
The Truth: If you stay in a caloric surplus, a low-fat diet won’t make you lose weight. You need some omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fat won’t necessarily give you a heart attack, and trans fat should be limited as much as possible.
Myth: Egg yolks are bad for you
The Truth: Eggs are a great source of protein, fats, and other nutrients. Their association with high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease has been severely overblown.
Myth: Red meat is bad for you
The Truth: Fears about red meat causing cancer are overly broad. The types of red meat that have strong associations with cancer center around regular intake of cured, smoked, or highly processed meat. Making healthy lifestyle choices (such as eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, staying at a healthy weight, exercising, and not smoking) is more important overall than micromanaging your intake of red meat.
Myth: Salt is bad for you
The Truth: Salt reduction is important for people with salt-sensitive hypertension, and excessive salt intake is associated with harm. But a drastic decrease in salt intake has not shown uniform benefit in clinical trials. Most people will benefit more from a diet of mostly unprocessed foods than from micromanaging their salt intake.
Myth: Bread is bad for you
The Truth: Although some people are sensitive to wheat, the gluten content isn’t necessarily to blame, and other foods may also be implicated. Bread (or any other food) will not inherently cause weight gain unless its consumption puts you in a caloric surplus.
Myth: Fresh is more nutritious
The Truth: There’s little difference between fresh and frozen produce, nutrient-wise. Canned produce tends to undergo a lot more processing, but remember that cooking is a form of processing too. Overall, fresh and frozen produce might be more nutritious than canned produce, but eating enough whole-food fruits and vegetables is more important than how they were processed.
Myth: Creatine will increase your testosterone but cause hair loss and kidney damage
The Truth: Out of all the supplements out there, creatine is one of the most extensively researched. The vast majority of the evidence indicates that this supplement is safe for long-term use and is unlikely to harm your kidneys, cause hair loss, or increase your testosterone. It’s most definitely not a steroid.