by Amna El Tawil
Nutrition plays a major role in your health and wellbeing; it’s the pivotal segment of a healthy lifestyle. While we’re trying to make our diet healthier and avoid some health issues, it’s impossible to avoid all those “recommendations” claiming some things are bad, even if they really aren’t. I find it quite weird when I see some health article with nutrition tips and recommendations without any foundation. I’m sure you’ve come across all those “experts” who promote adhering to highly limited eating patterns which are, in fact, very harmful. But they’re trying to convince people they can expect miraculous weight loss and good health. We’re swamped by different myths that make us gain weight and harm our health. Nobody should put up with that! Below, you can see different nutrition myths that people firmly believe in, but aren’t necessarily accurate.
Myth 1: Eggs are bad for you
Eggs have been demonized for quite some time and suddenly proclaimed harmful because they contain cholesterol which is believed to contribute to heart disease risk. That’s not really correct as eggs don’t lead to increased chances of developing heart disease and they raise levels of “good” cholesterol, not the bad kind.
A study whose findings were published in the journal Metabolism showed that: “Incorporating daily whole egg intake into a moderately carbohydrate-restricted diet provides further improvements in the atherogenic lipoprotein profile and in insulin resistance in individuals with MetS (metabolic syndrome).”
The Journal of Nutrition also featured a research which showed similar results: “Eighteen subjects were classified as having the metabolic syndrome (MetS) at the beginning of the study, whereas 3 subjects had that classification at the end. These results suggest that including eggs in a CRD results in increased HDL-C while decreasing the risk factors associated with MetS.”
Further commentary: not all cholesterol is the same. We have LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good). I mentioned only two out of many studies confirming that consumption of eggs (along with yolk) contributes to higher levels of HDL cholesterol and, actually, decreases risk factors linked with metabolic syndrome, which is primarily a consequence of overweight or obesity. End of commentary
Despite all those warnings about eggs during last few decades, scientists have discovered that they’re not likely to have an association with heart disease. A research from the Nutrition Bulletin found: “To view eggs solely in terms of the effects of their dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol is to ignore the potential benefits of egg consumption on coronary risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Cardiovascular risk in these conditions is largely independent of LDL-cholesterol.”
Further commentary: It’s needless to mention that eggs are abundant in a variety of much-needed nutrients our body needs to function properly. For instance, eggs are an excellent source of choline, essential for brain health. And you’ll be also surprised to find out that eggs can enhance weight loss. One study found that “the egg breakfast enhances weight loss, when combined with an energy-deficit diet, but does not induce weight loss in a free-living condition. The inclusion of eggs in a weight management program may offer a nutritious supplement to enhance weight loss.” So, if you’ve ever felt guilty for eating eggs, don’t.
Myth 2: Saturated fat is unhealthy, stay away from it
Find your favorite health and lifestyle website and type saturated fat in the search bar, I dare you. You’ll find a bunch of results claiming how dangerous it is and you should stay away from it. However, numerous scientific studies discovered that it’s not dangerous like people firmly believe.
For example, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published results of the review that analyzed data from 21 studies with a total of 347,747 individuals. It showed that: “Meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.”
Further commentary: besides this, many other studies also discovered that saturated fat isn’t, actually, dangerous and the war on this type of fat was based on an unproven theory that somehow became common knowledge. Butter, meat, coconut oil, are all branded as harmful as well only because of saturated fat content. Of course, eating in moderation is always the key. End of commentary
Myth 3: Eating a lot of protein is harmful to your health
Although it is correct that increased protein enhances calcium exertion from bones in the short-term, the long-term studies show the opposite effect. In fact, eating more protein is strongly associated with better bone density and a lower risk of fracture in old age.
Research from the Current Opinion in Lipidology published a study which showed: “Dietary protein works synergistically with calcium to improve calcium retention and bone metabolism. The recommendation to intentionally restrict dietary protein to improve bone health is unwarranted, and potentially even dangerous to those individuals who consume inadequate protein.”
Scientists at Tufts University discovered: “In contrast to the widely held belief that increased protein intake results in calcium wasting, meat supplements when exchanged isocalorically for carbohydrates, may have a favorable impact on the skeleton in healthy older men and women.”
Myth 4: Coffee is also bad
Just like eggs, coffee has also been demonized and branded as extremely harmful for one’s health. But, I can’t imagine starting my day without a cup of coffee and I’m sure you do the same. That’s not so bad because coffee, in fact, can be good for you.
This research showed that: “a high level of coffee consumption was associated with a reduced risk of deterioration of glucose metabolism over an average 7.6 years of follow-up” meaning that coffee intake could lower risk of diabetes.
The European Journal of Neurology published results of the study which found: “Caffeine intake was associated with a significantly lower risk for AD (Alzheimer’s disease), independently of other possible confounding variables. These results, if confirmed with future prospective studies, may have a major impact on the prevention of AD.”
A study from the Annals of Epidemiology revealed: “that coffee, but not other beverages containing caffeine, may inhibit the onset of alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis.”
Further commentary: these are just a few examples confirming incredible benefits of coffee consumption. I don’t even have to mention that coffee can improve your athletic performance and help lose weight. To get the most out of coffee, get informed about best species, Arabica coffee is always better than robusta. End of commentary
It became quite common to blame health problems on meat consumption with emphasis on red meat, especially with the rising trend of celebrity vegans and vegetarians who make multiple accusations without solid evidence. In fact, meat is abundant in nutrients that aren’t available in other food groups e.g. Vitamin B12, which is why vegans and vegetarians are usually deficient in this vitamin.
A journal Circulation featured results of a massive review from 2010 that looked at data from 20 studies with a total of 1,218,380 individuals revealed that: “Red meat intake was not associated with CHD (coronary heart disease) or diabetes mellitus” meaning that consumption of unprocessed meat isn’t harmful at all.
Myth 6: Regular soda is unhealthy, but diet soda is okay
It’s a common scenario, people go to a fast food place, order a big burger, French fries, and diet soda assuming it’s a healthier choice. Well, soda isn’t a good choice regardless of the “diet” label or not. One study discovered that diet soda intake was “associated with escalating abdominal obesity, a potential pathway for cardiometabolic risk in this aging population.”
This research found that “consumption of diet soda at least daily was associated with significantly greater risks of select incident metabolic syndrome components and type 2 diabetes.”
Further commentary: Nutrition myths will never stop circulating mostly because it’s easy to jump on a bandwagon simply assuming that someone’s telling the truth about certain food groups. If we go by the logic that everything’s bad and we should eliminate a majority of foods from our diet, we’ll die of starvation. Eat a well-balanced diet enriched with a variety of foods that deliver different nutrients, remember that moderation is the key, and that’s about it. End of commentary.
by Amna El Tawil