“Don’t eat that! It’s bad for your health!”…
…How many times have you heard that phrase?
We live in an age where we have access to unimaginable amounts of (mis)information through the Internet. There are so many authoritative figures out there giving information and advice on the best ways to get fit and stay healthy. The problem is that many times the information being thrown around is half-baked, exaggerated, or simply not true.
In this article, we bust a few common myths/ideas about food that are not based on any proven scientific evidence.
1. IT IS BEST TO EAT MANY, SMALL MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO INCREASE METABOLISM AND BURN MORE CALORIES.
You must have heard that it’s better to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day because this keeps your metabolism going, eliminates hunger, and controls blood sugar. The apparent end result – you eat less and hence lose weight.
But the studies clearly disagree with this. Studies have shown that eating 2-3 meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned as eating 5-6 (or more) smaller meals.(1) Another study also found that increasing the number of meals did not boost fat loss. In fact, the researchers concluded, eating six meals a day actually made people want to eat more.(2) A study has shown that eating only two meals a day is more effective for controlling blood sugar and for eating fewer calories overall.(3)
Bottom Line: Eating 5-6 small meals a day has no proven positive effects on health or fat loss
2. BROWN BREADS ARE MUCH BETTER THAN WHITE BREADS.
We’ve become used to hearing that multigrain brown bread is much better than white bread. Is that really true?
The truth is that a darker loaf of bread is not necessarily made with whole grains – it could simply contain caramel color or a very small amount of whole wheat. If you look at the nutritional information labels of some of the commercial brown breads, they’re not very different to that of white bread. What makes bread healthy is wholemeal.
Wholemeal is made from flour containing the complete goodness of wheat grains. The outer husk is not removed, so the resulting whole grain bread is much richer in fiber, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, niacin, B6, folic acid, and biotin. Commercial whole wheat or brown bread usually just has some of this wholemeal wheat flour added to the refined flour.
Bottom Line: Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on packaging and ensure the first ingredient listed is whole wheat. Alternatively, you’re better off having rotis instead of the commercial brown/multigrain bread.
3. CARBS MAKE YOU FAT AND ARE BAD FOR YOU.
We’ve somehow gotten accustomed to the idea that carbs are unhealthy and should be avoided. Yes, if you load up on foods that are high in refined sugars and carbs like cakes, pasta, and doughnuts, you can increase your chances of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
But if you completely cut out carbs and cut out “good-carb” foods, such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, you’ll miss out on your body’s main source of fuel as well as vital nutrients and fiber.
Bottom Line: Carbohydrates are fuel for our bodies and good carbs should be a part of any balanced diet.
4. YOU CAN EAT AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, AS LONG AS ITS HEALTHY.
Foods like avocados, oatmeal, nuts and their creamy, delicious butters are healthy, but they are definitely not low in calories. You’re better off eating 200 calories of oatmeal than 200 calories of a sugar-spiked cookie, but that doesn’t give you the freedom to eat as much of the stuff as you want.
We all have a total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is the amount of calories our body consumes to carry out daily activities. This value depends on how active you are and is calculated based on your basal metabolic rate. Don’t get scared with all these terms. There are simple online TDEE calulcators out there, like https://tdeecalculator.net/.
I recommend that you calculate your TDEE and then keep a rough track of how many calories you consume during the day. It is important to know your TDEE since this will help you understand how much you need to eat in order to lose/gain weight. For example, if your TDEE is 2500 calories, eating 2000 calories a day will cause you to lose 1 pound per week, while eating 3000 calories every day will cause you to gain about 1 pound per week.
Bottom line: Nutritious or not, portion size counts with every food, especially for calorie-heavy healthy foods like peanut butter, greek yogurt, dried fruits, etc.
5. EATING JUNK COMFORT FOOD WILL HELP YOU BATTLE STRESS.
We’ve all been there. Stressed out, emotional, and laying on the sofa with one hand deep in a bag of potato chips. In the moment, the feeling of eating junk food can seem comforting, but could it be that comfort food is what feeds stress and depression?
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who consumed the most highly processed foods were 58% more likely to be depressed than those who ate the least. In the long run, eating junk food will make you feel more lethargic physically as well as mentally. So every time you feel stressed or emotional, try snacking on a healthy alternative to comfort food. Peanut butter with apples, frozen greek yogurt with dried fruits, and home-baked potato wedges are healthier alternatives to cakes, ice cream, and potato chips.
Bottom Line: Comfort food, in the long run, actually contributes to further worsen the issue its meant to comfort you from.
We hope that you find these nutrition tips helpful and informative. Share this with your friends who may still believe in some nutrition myths.