Myths about nutrition are a topic that goes on forever. And this is understandable, because there is too much of everything and something new is constantly appearing.
In this regard, we are talking about ten of the most enduring statements about food that have nothing to do with reality.
Breakfast is the main meal
A story from childhood actually does not work for everyone and does not always work. Because we are all different and our needs, respectively, are the same. So if “in the morning a piece does not go down your throat”, it is not at all necessary to force it there.
One of the most studied aspects of breakfast (and the main argument for) for a long time has been that it helps keep your BMI healthy.
This, for example, is stated by a large seven-year study, in which 50 thousand people took part. But in this work, as in many others, it remained unclear whether there was a direct link between weight and breakfast.
Because reviews, on the other hand, show that there is limited evidence that breakfast has any effect on waist circumference or health.
The official medical position today is that breakfast can help reduce hunger throughout the day and possibly choose healthier snacks as snacks. But first of all, it is important to listen to yourself and eat when you really want to.
Coffee is very invigorating, so it cannot be used at night.
Coffee really invigorates, because caffeine blocks the production of adenosine, which builds up throughout the day and signals the body that it’s time to rest. But this is not the case with everyone.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most people can easily tolerate a daily dose of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine – that’s about four cups of coffee.
But about 10% of the population is considered to be caffeine-insensitive, so they can handle large doses without any negative side effects. For such people, the invigorating effect of caffeine is not so obvious, even if they drink it at night.
Research also shows that the ability to fall asleep after a cup of coffee may be genetically determined. There are probably six genes that affect our relationship with coffee.
There are some other things that affect caffeine sensitivity:
- Women tend to metabolize caffeine faster than men, so for them the invigorating effect lasts a little less
- Certain medications and supplements, including ephedrine, theophylline, and echinacea, can enhance the effects of caffeine
- Finally, if you drink coffee only occasionally, this can also affect your sensitivity to it
Red meat is absolute evil
For those following a vegetarian diet, definitely. But not for everyone else.
The once big headlines about how red meat is killing us (because it’s linked to colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes) got everyone thinking hard. But even then, scientists were not categorical in their formulations.
Then there were systematic reviews that showed that the unhealthy effects of regular meat consumption were negligible. While the authors admitted that the environmental and ethical arguments are still strong, the conclusions should be wary.
The World Health Organization is truly saying that we should all cut back on red meat. But on the other hand, the American Heart Association has argued for years that plant-based diets are also not as good as they might seem.
In particular, a varied diet is important for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. And a little red meat probably won’t hurt her.
Not to mention, meat substitutes often contain a lot of salt, which is not good for the heart, but also for the body as a whole (so if you are following a vegetarian diet, this point is worth watching).
Low-fat foods are better than very fatty foods
The amount of fat in the diet, however, should be limited. But this only applies to saturated and trans fats, while the unsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil and nuts are just right for our body.
First, they provide the body with calories (and therefore energy). Secondly, many of them contain essential fatty acids. Third, they help the body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
On the other hand, foods with little or no fat often contain sugar, starch or salt to compensate for the flavor that is lost.
One study found that while the increase in added sugar per serving in low-fat foods seems small, the cumulative effect of consumption over several years could have very real health consequences.
Eating at night is harmful
The problem with this myth is that “harmful” is a very vague wording. In fact, eating at night affects the body in two ways: in terms of the quality of sleep and the food itself.
In the first case, we are talking about the fact that you sleep the worse, the heavier, spicy, fatty food you choose. Sleep is influenced by the process of food digestion itself, and possible heartburn, and certain foods (the same caffeine that is found not only in coffee, but also in tea and chocolate).
By the way, the statement that you do not need to eat two hours before bedtime has no scientific basis.
In the second case, the problem is that night eaters tend to choose unhealthy snacks. Thus, you can improve the situation by eating something like carrots or low-fat yogurt at night.
A nice bonus? There is evidence that snacking 150 calories or less before bed may be beneficial for muscle protein synthesis.
Fiber is definitely good for you
We know that fiber that passes through the digestive tract almost intact is good for digestion. For this reason, adequate intake is important to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, constipation, and gastrointestinal cancer.
But in addition to soluble and insoluble fibers, there are also functional ones, which often become a component of ultra-processed foods. These are, for example, polydextrose, chitosan, dextrins.
When we buy processed foods with “high fiber” labels on the packaging, we are most likely buying functional fibers.
At the same time, scientists have no evidence of any of their benefits, although there is evidence that they can interfere with the absorption of nutrients and lead to indigestion.
We gain weight mainly from carbohydrates
No, carbohydrates alone do not cause weight gain. Moreover, we need them for energy during the day, so we cannot do without them in the diet. The point here is that carbohydrates are simple and complex.
The former (cookies and candies) almost do not saturate and have no special nutritional value, while the latter (whole grains, vegetables and fruits, legumes), on the contrary, contain enough vitamins, minerals and fiber, and at the same time prolong the feeling of satiety.
It turns out that the inclusion of a certain amount of complex carbohydrates in the diet will give an effect exactly the opposite of that which is generally attributed to carbohydrates: hunger will not come too quickly, which means that you will not be able to break into unhealthy snacks and not overeat at the same time.
Sugar leads to diabetes and addiction
Although diabetes is “mellitus”, there is no direct link between the disease and the amount of sugar in the diet. If we are talking about type 2 diabetes, then sugar can play only an indirect role here, because the risks of the disease increase with excess weight.
If we are talking about type 1 diabetes, then dietary factors do not matter at all.
As for sugar addiction, it doesn’t exist either. Where did all this talk come from then? Well, for example, from a 2017 study in mice that found that added sugar produced typically narcotic effects in animals, including cravings, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and reward effects.
But it’s important to understand that what works for rodents doesn’t necessarily work for humans. And this is if we do not take into account the fact that doses in such studies are usually increased in order to see the effect faster.
There is currently no evidence that sugar is addictive or addictive.
Chocolate can trigger acne and worsen skin condition
Short rebuttal: no food can cause acne, because bacteria cause it. Long refutation: a very long time ago, scientists tested this myth three times – and each time they did not find a connection between acne and chocolate.
In the first study, conducted in 1965, only eight people participated, so suppose it can be discarded.
But already in 1969, 65 people took part in a similar study, and at the same time it was possible to prove that the chocolate diet does not affect the production of sebum. Therefore, the authors suggested, it cannot affect acne either. Finally, there was a 1971 study that evaluated the effects on the skin of 27 students of chocolate, milk, roasted peanuts, and cola, with the same results.
Although several criticisms of the methodology of these studies have since been published, they cannot be ignored.
The latest data on the topic also suggests that if some food can worsen the condition of the skin, then it is more likely not sweets in general and chocolate in particular, but foods with a high glycemic index.
Detox drinks are harmful
We are sure you know that detox itself is a big and scary myth. Simply because our body does not need to additionally cleanse itself of “toxins and toxins”, because the liver and kidneys miraculously cope with the task of removing all excess from the body.
But detox drinks, when chosen correctly or prepared on your own, are actually quite healthy. For example, experts believe smoothies can help children eat healthy and adults increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.
Although when it comes to commercial products, it is important, as in many other cases, to study the composition for sugar and unnecessary additives.