Nutrition has gone through many cycles in the past 50 years and from these cycles have been some pretty elaborate myths. Below are the Top 5 Nutrition Myths that have been introduced into society and have been proven incorrect.
Nutrition Myth Number 1 – Eat low fat, high carbohydrate diets to stay healthy
The number one Top 5 Nutrition Myth came about back in the 1980’s when fat was considered the main reason for cardiovascular disease. There was a massive push on reducing fat intake because of the unhealthy side effects it has on the body. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source and back in the 1980’s there were a couple of major studies (yes, two) that came out, identifying fat as the single most important change that needed to be made in order to improve diet and health. Mostly to blame was saturated fat. The idea back then to improve health was to reduce saturated fat. However when the fat is taken out of a food, it needs to be replaced with something so carbohydrates became fashionable and the term “low fat” automatically meant it was a “healthier option”. Fast forward now, we know that this can partly be blamed as the reason for our obesity epidemic.
Nutrition Myth Number 2 – Egg yolks are bad for you
Again, when fat was considered bad for you; all fats unfortunately got tarnished with the same brush including egg yolks. The claim was that as egg yolks are high in cholesterol that they are bad for you. However, studies found that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol and more so the consumption of saturated and trans fats are what should be avoided. It is these fats that raise LDL (unhealthy cholesterol). Egg yolks are also an excellent source of protein, vitamins B12 & D, riboflavin and folate. For those restricting calories for weight division contests such as boxing, MMA etc or competing on stage in physique competitions, these people may benefit from omitting egg yolks due to the additional calories they pack.
Nutrition Myth Number 3 – Wholemeal / wholegrain bread is a healthier choice
Bread today regardless of if it is made with white or wholegrain flour is processed within an inch of its life and store bought bread – regardless of the type offers very little nutritional value to the diet – pretty much empty calories. Some have added vitamins but not all. Grains are not necessarily a healthy option either – excess consumption refined grains have been shown in some studies to increase markers of inflammation. Breads that offer some nutrition – sourdough does contain the probiotic lactobacillus and Ezekiel which has no added sugar, more fibre and contains a number of vitamins you won’t find in traditional store bought bread.
Nutrition Myth Number 4 – Coffee is bad for you
Well it can be if you load it up with full fat milk and sugar and smash down several per day. Black coffee on the other hand is loaded with antioxidants and regular coffee drinkers have been shown to have lower chances of developing depression, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
Nutrition Myth Number 5 – High protein diets are bad for your kidneys
The final Top 5 Nutrition Myth is a big one and is frustrating for all of us who know the importance of protein! In healthy people, there has yet to be any studies that conclude this as correct. Higher protein diets have been shown in numerous clinical studies to improve body composition, increase satiety and lower blood pressure. Protein also is the most metabolically active tissue and is used for a number of functions from muscle repair and growth, regeneration of all cells. Protein is the fuel also what drives all immune function and in particular whey protein which contains glutathione – a powerful antioxidant which helps to maintain glutamine levels. Healthy glutamine levels are essential for maintaining immune function. With winter not far off, it would be wise to include whey protein as part of your diet to enhance your immune defence.
Prepared by Brett Morris ISSN-SNS, Transformation Specialist at All Body Transformations on the Gold Coast. Registered Personal Trainer, Transformation Specialist & Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist with the International Society of Sports Nutritionists