Nutrition Misconceptions

You may not realize it, but every day you make unconscious decisions about how you eat. Some healthy and some not-so-healthy. This post will reveal the top nutrition misconceptions people have and the truth behind the myths.

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1. “I can’t eat after 7pm”
Calories are calories – it doesn’t matter when you eat them. What matters is the total calories you take in. If you do find yourself hungry at night, make healthier choices. Often, late night eaters reach for unhealthy processed snacks and may over-indulge while watching television (this would lead to weight gain).

2. You should purchase a food because it claims to be “Natural”
The term “natural” is so loosely defined by the government that you’ll find it on everything from cereal boxes to soda to packages of meat. You’re better off ignoring the word on any package and taking the time to read through the ingredients and nutrition information. Don’t be fooled into believing that natural means healthy.

3. You Need to Load up on Protein Post Workout
Your body can only digest about 30 grams of protein in a meal. With a good diet, you shouldn’t have to supplement protein unless you’re a serious body builder. Any extra protein will either be excreted or just hang around your waist line as extra calories.

4. Fresh Fruit is Always Better than Frozen
Many times fresh fruit will sit around for weeks before it goes to the grocery store because of the packaging and shipping process. Some nutrients are lost each day after the produce is picked. Frozen fruit is normal picked and frozen at its peak freshness. However, you want to make sure and buy frozen fruits without added sugars or syrups.

5. Organic Foods are More Nutritious than Conventionally Grown Foods
There is no significant nutritional difference between conventional and organic crops and livestock. Although it is regulated by the government for safety, there is still the issue of trace amounts of pesticides or herbicides – wash conventional produce carefully (also be sure to wash organic foods as well).

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup is Worse for You Than Sugar
High fructose corn syrup’s composition is almost identical to sucrose (table sugar) and has similar effects on blood levels of insulin, glucose, triglycerides, and satiety. It is no worse (but also no better) than table sugar. One goal of a healthy diet is to limit your intake of ALL added sugars because studies show that consuming large amounts of added sweeteners (found in soda, sweetened drinks, and processed food items) is associated with a greater risk of fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

7. Anyone Can Benefit From a Gluten Free Diet
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body can’t digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley; it’s marked by damage to the small intestine that leads to deficiencies because nutrients can’t be absorbed. A blood test is used to diagnose celiac disease.
Gluten intolerance, on the other hand, may be diagnosed when abdominal distress, and sometimes fatigue, regularly occurs after consuming gluten—and celiac disease has been ruled out. If you don’t have a medical reason for following a gluten-free diet, there is no benefit.
Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products. And just because a product says it is gluten free, does not mean it is healthy.

8. Eating Eggs Raises Blood Cholesterol Levels
Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body. Your body makes its own cholesterol, so it doesn’t need much of the kind you eat. Instead, what fuels your body’s cholesterol-making is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat.

9. A “Cleanse” Is A Great Way to Remove Toxins in the Body & Start a Healthy Diet
As with any fad diet, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. With cleansing, you are flushing away beneficial bacteria – there are no “toxins” to be removed. You body detoxes itself naturally through the actions of the liver, kidneys, and the GI tract. The limited intake of calories may cause initial weight loss (mainly water), but the pounds will return when you go back to eating normally

10. You Need to Drink 8 Cups of Water per Day
Don’t focus on the number! Some people may need more than 8 cups while other may need less. Many forget that foods like fruits and vegetables also contribute to our overall fluid needs (as does juice, soda and even coffee.. The caffeine does not play as negative of a role in hydration as many people may think).
Your best guide is your urine color, the paler it is, the more hydrated you are. Drink if you are thirsty, don’t force it down if you are not.

11. Carbs Make You Fat
Eating too many calories causes weight gain. To maintain your weight, the calories you take in (food and drinks) should equal the calories your body expends (body function and exercise).
Eating sugary and refined/processed carbohydrate foods (white breads, pasta, doughnuts, candy) increases your risk of health problems and may contain empty calories (no satiety like with whole grains, fruits and vegetables).

12. You can never eat “junk” food or other unhealthy food
Anything can fit in moderation. Food is part of our social nature and should be enjoyed. Junk types of foods can be part of a healthy eating plan, but the trick is knowing how to stay in control of your cravings and eat these foods sensibly and mindfully.

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