Common Nutrition Myths Debunked
Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. Alien abductions. This folklore, although entertaining (and somewhat intriguing), has tenuous connections to truth. Much like the myths surrounding nutrition that persist via the Internet.
As there is a lack of U.F.O. researchers on staff, we turn to our in-house team of nutrition experts to myth-bust some of the more common beliefs on food and diet. Specifically, as registered dietitian nutritionists, we find ourselves providing counterpoint to many a tall tale when it comes to healthy eating.
Read on for some of the most common nutrition myths and the truth behind them:
Brianna Banka: MYTH: One size fits all
“She lost 25 lbs after going gluten free, it must mean everything gluten free is good for you.” Like clothing trends, certain diets do not work for everyone, and can be unnecessarily restrictive. Consult a registered dietitian for an individualized weight loss plan.
Emily Mattern: MYTH: “Natural” foods are healthier foods
‘Natural’ is not a regulated term by the FDA. So there is no formal definition of what that means when it is put on a food label. The consumers’ definition of natural, may not be the same as the manufacturer. Poisonous mushrooms are completely natural and grow in nature, but that doesn’t make them healthy.
Melissa Gerharter: MYTH: Don’t eat after 7 PM to lose weight
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit for the day and should spread your calories out. If you are more active in the evening then it makes sense to put your calories around your activity.
Cortney Freeland: MYTH: I have to completely eliminate ______ from my diet to lose weight
Insert food (sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, snacks). A healthy, balanced diet is the best way to lose weight. It is important to get all five food groups into our daily diet to create a balance over time of nutrients. Eliminating foods can cause a deficiency in nutrients but also make us want those items more, so when we do end up eating them we overindulge. A long-term balanced healthy eating plan and physical activity are the best way to meet and achieve health goals.
Lois McBean: MYTH: People with lactose intolerance need to avoid cow’s milk and other dairy foods
Research over several decades shows us there are several effective dairy-based strategies to help lactose intolerant individuals comfortably consume cow’s milk and other dairy foods.
Anne Guyer: MYTH: It costs more to eat healthy
Purchasing fresh produce in-season, buying lower cost protein like canned or dry beans and eggs, and weekly menu planning are all budget-friendly strategies. And let’s not forget milk, a nutrition powerhouse with 9 essential nutrients, only costs 12-cents a serving.
Kathi Eckler: MYTH: Hormones in milk are making girls develop earlier
There are no hormones ADDED to milk, and never has been. And, it may surprise you that hormones, which are merely chemical messengers, are found in all living things – even plants!
Janice Jackson: MYTH: Supplements are the same as real food
An individual food is a complex combination of nutrients that is impossible to replicate in a pill. Food first, and if recommended by your physician, a dietary supplement to fill in nutrient gaps.
So there you have it. Turn to the REAL nutrition experts, like RDNs, before letting nutrition myths run rampant. Healthy eating is based on science, not folklore.