Myth Busters, Nutrition Edition - Part 1
In the world full of nutrition advice, things can get confusing very quickly. One minute, you’re reading about how a vegan diet is the healthiest option. Next thing you know, another article is recommending a diet full of meat, eggs, and butter. What’s the deal? What’s the truth? How can we even know how to start eating healthy with all of this conflicting information?
Let’s clear up some of the confusion. Have you ever heard of the show “Myth Busters?” In this show, the hosts take a look at commonly held myths and try to “bust” them, aka show that they’re not true. Today, we’re going to take a look at a few nutrition myths and bust them. This will hopefully clear up some of the confusion when it comes to what’s true and what’s not in the world of nutrition.
You may have noticed that this is “Part 1” of Nutrition Myth Busters. There are countless nutrition myths out there, and we won’t be able to even scratch the surface covering them today. However, there will be more Myth Busting articles in the future, so if you have questions or topics that you’d like me to cover, you can email them to me at email@example.com.
Today, we’re going to take a look at 3 nutrition myths:
Fruit contains a lot of sugar and should be avoided
Caffeine is dehydrating
Fat is fattening
First, let’s talk about fruit. It’s not a myth that fruit contains sugar; 1 medium apple contains about 20 grams of sugar. We’ve been told for years that sugar is bad for you and that it can cause weight gain and diabetes, so how can fruit be healthy? To answer this question, we need to take a look at sugar and break it up into 2 groups:
If you take a look at the nutrition facts panel on any food product, it will show you “total sugar” and “added sugar.” What’s the difference? Total sugar = added sugar plus natural sugar. So if you look at the nutrition facts for an apple, you will see that there is 20 grams total sugar and zero grams of added sugar. This meant that all of the sugar found in the apple is from the apple, and none has been added in the form of cane sugar or corn syrup.
Fruit also comes in a package with lots of healthy vitamins, minerals, and filling fiber. This is what makes fruit so good for us, so there is no need to avoid eating fruit because it has sugar in it. The sugar comes with lots of other healthy nutrients that our body needs, and your body can use the sugar for energy (especially if you eat the fruit prior to a workout). Now, it should be noted that too much of anything is not healthy. Don’t start eating 30+ pieces of fruit a day; that would be too much sugar. Instead, make fruit a part of your daily diet to reap the health benefits, and don’t feel guilty about the sugar content.
Next, let’s talk about caffeine and dehydration. It used to be believed that coffee (aka the caffeine found in the coffee) was dehydrating. Today, we know that is typically not the case. If you frequently consume caffeine, your body gets used to it and no longer experiences a dehydrating effect. However, if you only consume caffeine every once in a while, it can still dehydrate you. The moral of the story here is to make sure that you’re staying hydrated, but don’t worry that your daily cup of coffee is counteracting your attempts at drinking enough water.
Lastly, let’s talk about fat. Is eating fat fattening? This was a widespread idea back in the 90s and early 2000s. Everyone was scared of fat and because of that, tons of fat free products started popping up on the shelves. However, we have since learned that if fat is eaten in a moderate amount, it doesn’t automatically turn into fat in the body.
Fat has many benefits, including:
Keeping us feeling full for longer
Helping us absorb vitamins such as A, D, E, and K
Providing the body with energy
Basically, if you eat a food higher in fat, you’re going to feel more satisfied and full than if you just ate the same food lower in fat. This leads to less eating over time and fewer total calorie intake overall, which can eventually lead to weight loss. Also, healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are anti-inflammatory. In summary: don’t be afraid of eating fat. Your body needs it, but as with all foods, don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation.
That’s all for “Myth Busters!” Stay tuned for more myth busting articles coming up soon.
If you want to clear up the nutrition confusion and find a way of eating that works for you in the long term, I’m here for you. All new clients receive a free nutrition intro session, so if you’re interested in learning more and signing up for a session, click here.
If you’re more of a self-paced learner, I have an online course available called “8 Steps to Healthy.” In this course, you will be guided through the nutrition habit building process through videos, an eBook, and a workbook. The course is self paced, meaning you can take as long as you like to complete the course. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or click here to learn more about the course.
And as always, to learn more about nutrition, diets, and supplements, check out my podcast “RDs vs BS” on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or the website www.rdsvsbs.com.