Growing up I picked up a lot of health and nutrition myths from my parents, grandparents, relatives and elders that often offered their advice. Being young, I believed many of them thinking that those who had more experience knew better.
As we all know that isn’t really the case. Just because you’ve been around longer or have seen more doesn’t mean your experience makes you better.
But it wasn’t until a few years ago when I started to take control of my eating habits and nutrition that I realized that there are many myths on nutrition that continue to linger.
These are some of the most common ones that we should be aware of and more importantly refrain from following.
6 Nutrition Myths That Aren’t True
1. Avoid Using Salt Because it will Lead to High Blood Pressure
Table salt is one of the top seasonings used in food. It is a favorite among cooks and chefs because it has the ability of bringing out the flavor in food.
One thing about salt is that its primary content is sodium. In fact 1 teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.
High sodium has long been associated with a few health problems, among them being high blood pressure. It’s for this reason that doctors will tell patients suffering from high blood pressure to cut back on the salt and salty food.
While sodium in excess may be harmful to health, it is vital for proper function of our body and its organs. Sodium is one of the electrolytes that our bodies need to function properly.
Without it or a lack of it, our body will start to show symptoms like headaches, confusion, have seizures or experience muscle cramps.
The issue with salt isn’t avoiding it because it is harmful to health, but more so that we get way too much of it in our diet.
2. Don’t Eat Fat If You Want to Lose Weight
One of the earliest friendly advice I received when began trying to lose weight was avoid fat. This is one reason why low fat diets have become so popular. The reasoning follows that eating low fat makes us less fat.
To a degree it is true. But in reality, all of us need a healthy amount of fat in our diets.
A portion of the human body is made up from fat. It is the layer beneath our skin. Fat helps regulate body temperature and helps shelter us from the cold among other things. And too little body fat is just as unhealthy as too much body fat.
The issue with fat is similar to that of salt. It is having too much fat in our diet that causes the harmful effects. Excess consumption of fat and fatty foods is what leads us to getting fatter.
Finally, with fat, differentiating between good fats and bad fats is also important.
3. Sugar is Unhealthy, Avoid it
Sugar is often thought of as empty calories and is there for nothing else but to help food taste sweeter (and often better).
Like sodium and fat, sugar become harmful to our health when consumed in excess. It is one of the reasons why more and more people are becoming obese.
The sweet taste of sugar, because of its delicious flavor make it very addictive in that we keep coming back for more sweet goodness.
When eaten in moderation and in small amounts sugar isn’t bad, it is when we go overboard that the risk of metabolic related issues rise.
4. Avoid Egg Yolks to Avoid Heart Disease
The concept behind this that egg yolks are high in cholesterol. As a result eating eggs become unhealthy and should be avoided.
Because of the cholesterol in the yolks you can increase your risk of getting heart disease or increasing your blood cholesterol levels if you include them in your diet.
What’s more important to know about eggs is that they are very healthy foods. They’re cheap too making them a good source of nutrition if you’re on a budget.
Eggs are complete proteins and contain vitamins A, B and D. They are also packed with nutrients that keep the body healthy.
Taking advantage of the benefits of eggs is actually something we should do. The key is not to overdo it.
5. Saturated Fat Increases Our Risk of Getting Heart Disease
One of the biggest shifts in the way of thinking of many nutritionists comes from more recent studies that report that saturated fat isn’t linked to stroke or increased heart disease risk.
For the longest time, we have believed or been led to believe that saturated fat is to be avoided because it is bad for the heart and increases bad cholesterol levels.
The recent studies actually disproved these claims and showed that individuals who included saturated fats in their diets did not increase their risk of heart disease over the long term.
6. Use Artificial Sweeteners for Blood Sugar Control
Many products now include artificial sweeteners because they are considered alternatives to sugar. This goes back to the belief that sugar is bad and that by using these artificial sweeteners we can still get out sweet flavor without the harmful effects of sugar.
As more studies cover this topic, we see more harmful health effects being related to artificial sweeteners. To a point, at least for some individuals like diabetics, using artificial sweeteners may be worse than consuming sugar.
The use of artificial sweeteners in drinks like diet colas and beverages has also led to increase in obesity as people believe that they are now given the green light to consume more since the risks associated with sugar aren’t there anymore.