There is so much information out there on how to eat healthy. Thousands of blogs, books and videos have been created on the topic. To make things more confusing, many of the various ‘healthy eating’ styles contradict one another and nutritional advice seems like it’s always changing. While, it is ever changing because we are learning new things about food all of the time. There are some nutrition myths floating around out there because nutritional science is, after-all, a relatively new science.
Regardless of all of the confusion, do you think you’re pretty educated on all of the latest nutritional information available? If so, read these 3 statements and tell me if you think they are a nutrition myth or fact…
1. Calorie counting is the best way to lose weight.
Studies have shown that most people under-estimate their food intake by up to 1000 calories daily. This is close to 50% of the calories many of us should be consuming in a whole day! It’s too easy to consume much more than you think you are, and wonder why you’re not losing fat.
For example, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contain about 200 calories. That’s a flat tablespoon, the butter doesn’t go above rim and doesn’t stick to bottom of spoon. When you add in all of the peanut butter that’s often added above the rim and on the bottom of the spoon, it can easily equate to an extra 50% of peanut butter! So now you may be eating 300 calories, versus the 200 you thought you were consuming. That difference really adds up throughout the day.
When ‘tracking calories’ many people forget to include the hidden calories in beverages, cooking oils and sauces. The addition of cream and sugar and alcoholic drinks can dramatically increase your daily calorie intake.
Food labels themselves, may not even be that accurate. They can be off by up to 35% in some cases!
And finally, calorie counting doesn’t take food quality into consideration. For example, 2000 calories coming from hot chocolate and a donut definitely aren’t comparable to 2000 calories eaten in three healthy meals spread throughout day.
2. If you want to lose weight, eliminate the carbs.
Carbohydrates often get a bad reputation thereby leading many people to fall for this nutrition myth. But, did you know, vegetables are carbs? And veggies are the most crucial, healthy, nutrient dense foods that each of us should be consuming more of! Healthy carbs like veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes, are an important part of our diets. Here are a few reasons why:
- They are packed with vitamins and minerals, critical to our physical and mental health.
- They are the fastest-acting energy source, able to give us an energy boost in the quickest time possible. This is a great feature when we’re feeling an energy slump.
- They are packed with fibre, which is critical to gut health, and to help fill us up in a healthy way.
3. Eating fat, makes you fat.
Fat is not the enemy it was once thought to be. Fat from foods like nuts, seeds, fish and some oils is essential for us to consume. It is a great source of energy, and it keeps us feeling full for long periods of time. Fat balances our hormones, helps control inflammation, forms our brain and nervous system, in addition to helping keep our skin and tissues healthy.
It’s a nutrition myth that “fat-free” foods are healthier. These variants can still be high in calories, sugar salt and artificial ingredients. In fact, when fat is reduced or removed, manufacturers often add something back into the product to add more flavour. It’s often processed, chemical ingredients that are added, so low-fat or no-fat versions are often more unhealthy for you.
How Can Nutrition Myths be Cleared up?
- Keep things simple. We all know that vegetables are packed with nutrients and are low in calories. They are a part of each and every diet that’s ever been created. So…don’t spend too much time worrying about which veggies are the healthiest, just eat a lot of them. We also know that we need to eat protein, whether it’s veggie or animal protein. So…eat protein with every meal. Stick with the basics, and healthy eating will be so much easier; you won’t fall for nutrition myths anymore!
- Watch your portions. Most of us eat far too much throughout the day. Overeating makes it tough to lose, or maintain your weight. Portion control increases your awareness to what you’re eating, thereby reducing mindless eating. It’s easiest to use your hand to measure your portions.
- Eat a variety of foods. When you switch up what you eat, if you’re consuming something that may be a little less healthy, you’ll only be eating it for part of the time at least. Try cooking with different foods, herbs and spices to make healthy eating more enjoyable, and cooking more fun!
To Sum it up…3 Nutrition Myths
Did you test your knowledge by figuring out if the 3 statements above, were a nutrition myth or fact? If so, how did you do? It’s OK if you were unclear of the answers, eating clean can be tricky. There is so much information available in the form of blogs, books and videos about ‘healthy eating’. To make things even more confusing, many of the various diets are built on contradicting information.
So what can you do today, to start eating healthier? Keep things simple, watch your portions and eat a variety of foods. Start by trying to make a few extra meals a week, healthier. All of your healthy living actions will add up, I promise!