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There are many mainstream nutrition myths that are causing an array of health issues. Let’s take a look at the top food and diet myths.
Ever wonder what the biggest mainstream nutrition myths are? Before we get into that, let’s take a look at why some people have a hard time getting healthy….
Do you ever get frustrated by all the conflicting nutrition info? Years ago, coconut oil was considered deadly and now it’s all the rage. The whole egg versus just the whites debate is enough to make you want to pull your hair out and say, “Screw it! I’m just going to eat whatever I feel like, consequences be damned!”
The conflicting advice is one big reason some people have a hard time losing weight. And this conflicting advice is in big part caused by the popular mainstream nutrition myths. Let’s now take a look at some of them….
Eat Lots of Carbs
There are three macronutrients in food: carbohydrate, protein and fat. Guess which one of them leads to the biggest rise in blood sugar. The answer: carbs. And guess what the federal government says you should eat the most of every day…. That’s right, carbs!
You probably remember the food pyramid from your elementary school days. Despite a few tweaks to it over the years, carbs are still recommended as the top source of caloric intake.
One version of the food pyramid suggests eating 6-11 servings of grains (which are carbs) per day. The pyramid lists as an example of a serving of grains, “one slice of bread.” What the food pyramid doesn’t say is that the overwhelming majority of breads are highly processed and stripped of the most nutritious parts of the wheat kernel (the bran and germ). Most commercial breads have very little fiber. Because of the low fiber content, these empty-calorie breads can promote inflammation and spike blood sugar levels.
It’s no wonder that over 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. If the government didn’t make grains the #1 source of calories, perhaps the number of people with diabetes would be reduced?
To be fair to the Feds, the FDA did recently come up with a revised food chart that resembles a dinner plate. Take a look:
At least with this version, grains aren’t the most numerous source of calories. However, what do you notice is missing from this chart? The answer: Fats. Which brings us to our next biggest mainstream nutrition lie….
Fat is bad for you and will make you fat
Question: what macronutrient does not cause a spike in insulin release (and blood sugar rise)? You guessed it … fats. Despite the fact that fat causes no insulin release, it’s incredulous that many mainstream health authority figures still say to eat a low fat diet. Traditional cultures that had no access to western food thrived on eating lots of fats. All over the globe, throughout the ages, indigenous cultures ate lots of dietary fat without suffering from chronic disease.
Fats are more than twice as calorically dense as carbs (as well as protein). One gram of fat contains 9 calories; one gram of carbs and one gram of protein each contain 4 calories. When you eat natural fat (butter, cheese, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.), it helps you feel full. When you don’t eat enough fats you tend to eat more carbs. Can you see why so many people who eat low-fat diets end up struggling with their weight? Denying yourself of fats only leads to binge eating more carbs.
Certain fats such as olive oil and coconut oil are clinically proven to have heart-healthy benefits, as well as other healthy positive outcomes. That the Federal Government does not include fats (with the exception of a small side of dairy, which may be the result of lobbying efforts by the conventional dairy association) at all in its recommendations at “ChooseMyPlate.gov” has contributed to an unhealthy citizenry.
The next two biggest mainstream nutrition myths are related to the previous one….
Cholesterol is bad
For over a half century, perhaps the biggest mainstream nutrition lie was that cholesterol is bad for you. So bad, in fact, that you will likely die of a heart attack. So it was a seismic shock when the top federal government nutrition advisers announced that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. But many medical doctors still caution against eating cholesterol, which is a fat-like substance.
Cholesterol has many important functions. It is the building block of cell membranes and is a precursor to your sex hormones. The Federal Government started cautioning the public about cholesterol after certain medical studies (like this one) linked dietary habits to heart disease. Many of the studies connecting dietary cholesterol to cardiovascular disease have been disproven or criticized for having poor control methods.
For example, many of the studies did not control for how many carbs the test subjects consumed. And if the government has been suggesting for decades that carbs should be the largest source of calories, how do we know that heart disease, stroke and heart attacks were not caused by consuming too many carbs? Kudos goes to the top food advisers at the Fed for finally acknowledging that dietary cholesterol, for the overwhelming majority of people, has no bearing on blood cholesterol levels.
As long as the source of cholesterol, or any fat for that matter, is not oxidized, or hydrogenated, to add to its shelf life, the natural fat is healthy. Another fat that most people think is still unhealthy because of a big mainstream nutrition lie is saturated fat….
Saturated Fat Should be Strictly Limited
Most people still believe saturated fat is bad for you. But every natural food that has fat contains a certain proportion of all three types of fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated. Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat. But it contains medium-chain triglycerides that can increase your metabolism. Saturated fats like coconut oil can also boost HDLs (commonly referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol). HDLs help protect arteries by removing excess cholesterol.
In the mid 20th century, when warnings about fat, cholesterol and saturated fat became mainstream, there was relatively little understanding about how fats react in the body. Unfortunately, many people of influence are still dispensing these mainstream nutrition myths, to the detriment of our health.
Conclusion – Mainstream Food and Diet Nutrition Myths
There are still a lot of people who avoid fat. Doctors have been trained that low fat is healthy so they prescribe the diet to their patients. A minority of doctors have recommended low carb diets. The internet is full of studies for both. Once you get the full picture, the choice is clear. Why not go against normal beliefs and see if a low carb high fat diet improves your health.