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10 Most Common Nutrition Myths That have Been Debunked By Health Experts

You are what you eat, nutrition experts commonly say to stress the importance of paying attention to daily diet. Although the world is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of healthy eating, there is no overlooking the uprise of nutrition myths. Below, we outline some common myths alongside scientific findings to debunk them.

By Cookist

With the raving attention to web content like on social media platforms and forums, it is no surprise to find that there is a wealth of information about nutrition, and health so easily accessible. Although such awareness about health and lifestyle should be encouraged, it is imperative that such information shared to the general public is factual to prevent misinformation.

Here are ten (10) common nutrition myths you should know have been debunked by experts:

Myth 1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day 


This saying has stood the test of time but that doesn't make it factual. While scientists once thought that breakfast was the best way to start off a healthy day, new research reports that it typically isn't the case for adults.

Now, the benefits of skipping a morning meal have been found to include helping to reduce calorie intake as optimized in intermittent fasting and other diet plans. However, this doesn't apply to children and teens or people with increased need for nutrients, such as pregnant women and those with certain health conditions.

On the other hand, some evidence shows that eating breakfast and consuming more calories earlier in the day rather than at night, coupled with reduced meal frequency, may benefit health by reducing inflammation and body weight.

Bottom line: eating breakfast shouldn't be based on your need for healthy eating as every meal of the day can be enjoyed even so. If you enjoy breakfast then eat it, if otherwise don't feel burdened by the need to add or to your routine.

Myth 2: Non-nutritive sweeteners are healthy


Sugar is widely recognized as the bane of healthy eating thus the rapid surge in the consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). However, scientists say they are also dangerous to human health as they can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by leading to negative shifts in gut bacteria and promoting blood sugar dysregulation.

However, more research is required to confirm the link between NNS and such diseases.

Myth 3: Probiotics are good for everyone 


Probiotics have also recently become popular on the market and this is associated with practitioners generally overprescribing them. Yet, research studies report that not everyone can benefit from probiotics.

This is linked to some people’s digestive systems which may be resistant to probiotic colonization. So ingesting probiotics through supplements may lead to negative changes in their gut bacteria, and even cause bloating and other negative side effects.

Therefore, it is advised that prescribing probiotics should be made specific to each person and not assumed to be for general consumption.

Myth 4: Supplements are ineffective  


When used correctly, supplements can be very beneficial to human health. This especially applies to people with health conditions like type 2 diabetes, as well as those who frequently take medications such as birth control, statins, proton pump inhibitors, and antidiabetic medications.

So, unlike this myth says, supplements are actually very useful and may often be made necessary for specific populations.

Myth 5: Creating a calorie deficit is all that matters when it comes to weight loss


Although creating a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss, nutrition experts say it should only be a small fraction of a weight loss plan as there are numerous other factors that may slow down such a plan. Some of these factors are genetics, use of certain medications, hormonal imbalances, health conditions like hypothyroidism, and metabolic adaptations.

This famous concept also draws attention away from the nutritional value of meals, making people more focused on the calorie content instead. This inevitably influences many people to choose less nutritious meals because of their calorie content.

Myth 6: Fiber supplements are a good substitute for high fiber foods 


The experts say that although fiber supplements are beneficial to gut health and digestion, they should never be used to substitute whole high-fiber foods like fruits, beans, and vegetables. Such whole foods are highly nutritious and contain plant compounds that work jointly to benefit  human health.

Myth 7: Only women have eating disorders  


It is a common assumption that women are the only population at risk of developing eating disorders. However, research shows that adolescent and adult men are also at great risk. In the United States, studies have it that over 30% of adolescent men in the United States report body dissatisfaction and the use of unhealthy methods to attain their ideal body type.

It’s also crucial to raise awareness that eating disorders present differently in men than women, and they’re more prevalent in adolescent and young adult men who are gay or bisexual, highlighting that there is a need for treatments that are better modified to fit the male population.

Myth 8: High fat foods are unhealthy 


This is another saying that has stood the test of time. Although it has become less popular than other nutrition myths, there are still many people who shy away from high fat meals in fear and stick to low fat diets.

What such persons do not understand is that dietary fats are vital to human health and even effectively promote weight loss. On the other hand, low fat diets are continuously associated with a greater risk of health issues, including but not limited to metabolic syndrome. 

Myth 9: You need to eat small, frequent meals for optimal health


This is a trendy saying regarding weight loss which overemphasizes that eating frequent meals throughout the day can promote metabolism and help you lose weight.

Experts say otherwise. According to reports, healthy persons don't need to follow such requirements as long as they're able to consume enough meals for their energy needs. However, pregnant women as well as people with certain medical conditions, including diabetes, coronary artery disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may benefit from such regulated meal plans.

Myth 10: Macronutrient ratio matters more than diet quality 


Last but not least is this saying which spreads the belief that the ratio of macronutrients in a diet is all that matters when it comes to weight loss and overall health. Nutritionists say that although playing around macro ratios can be beneficial, the most important factor in any diet is actually the quality of the foods.

So it is best advised that you follow a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, regardless of the macro ratio, to promote overall good health.

What other nutrition myths do you know of?

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