Common Nutrition Myths

Proper nutrition should not be as complicated as it’s been made by all the conflicting information out there.  When reading about the ‘latest’ study keep in mind that quite often these ‘stats’ are mean to steer you towards buying certain products.  Let’s look at a few nutrition myths that probably have you a bit confused.

Nutrition Myths

  1. Fat makes you fat.

Fat has gotten a really bad rap over the years.  You’ve been told that fat makes you fat so everyone did their best to cut out fat and look what happened.  The obesity rate continued to rise and people continued to become more and more unhealthy.

The truth is you need fat in your diet in order to be healthy.  When food manufacturers want you to buy their product they’ll steer you towards it by making you think that the alternative will make you fat.  When food is made into a low fat or non-fat products manufacturers add sugar and other artificial ingredients to make the food palatable.  Sugar and chemicals wreak havoc in the body and affects your brain/mood negatively.

You need natural fats in your diet.  Even saturated fats such as butter have health benefits, just watch your portions.  Avoid trans fats.  When in doubt ask yourself if the fat you’re about to consume came from nature or a lab.  If it had to be manipulated in a lab leave it in the store.

  1. Carbs make you fat.

Carbs have also gotten a really bad rap.  It’s true that highly processed carbs should be avoided but natural whole carb sources are a healthy part of your diet.  Processed carbs are made to be super flavourful and addictive and they’re rarely very filling despite being high in calories.  Whole food carbs such as minimally processed grains as well as fruits and vegetables are an essential parts of a healthy diet.  When you eat whole foods, you won’t feel the need to binge on them because they’re providing the nutrients and the fibre you need.  Processed carbs are stripped of their good components and are basically just sugar.

  1. Too much protein can damage your kidneys.

If you already have kidney disease you should cut back on protein.  If you’re healthy you don’t have to worry that a high protein diet might cause kidney damage.  Numerous studies done on athletes who consume a high protein diet has shown it to be perfectly safe.  In fact, a higher protein intake lowers blood pressure and helps fight type 2 diabetes.  Protein also reduces appetite which supports weight loss.  Healthy people are fine to eat 0.8 to 1g of protein/pound of body weight.

  1. All calories are created equal.

This is simply not true.  If you took two people and one was eating 2000 calories/day of healthy whole foods and the other was eating 2000 calories/day of highly processed junk you’d have two very different bodies and minds.  Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and have very different effects on your hormones.  For instance, eating a diet high in protein can increase your metabolic rate and reduce your appetite.  Highly processed foods and foods high in sugar cause blood sugar spikes and dives which increases your appetite.  Because processed foods are stripped of their nutrients your body will signal you to eat more because it needs more nutrients.

  1. Only people with celiac should avoid gluten.

People with celiac have a very severe gluten intolerance and have to avoid gluten in order to avoid becoming very ill.  But they’re not the only ones who should avoid gluten.  A lot of people have a degree of gluten intolerance and don’t even know it.  They don’t realize that certain symptoms such as low grade inflammation that are bothering them are actually caused by eating gluten.  There have been studies that have shown that a gluten-free diet can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy.

Keep in mind though that you should be searching out foods that are naturally gluten free such as plants and animals, not gluten free ‘products’.  Gluten free junk food is still junk food – even if it’s organic!

  1. One diet fits all.

As a health and fitness professional I get asked quite often what I eat.  I’m happy to tell people but just because my diet works for me does not mean it will work for another person.  Everyone has different genetics and different food sensitivities.  Everyone needs to figure out what works for them.  Start with a whole food diet and then try manipulating your macronutrient intake to see what works for you.  Pay close attention to how your body reacts to certain foods and keep a diary.  Be prepared to spend a bit of time figuring this out and don’t get frustrated.

Keep It Simple

Proper nutrition means eating natural foods in the correct amounts.  If you’re eating whole natural foods you won’t have that urge to binge because you’ll be supplying your body with what it needs.  Eat like you have to hunt and gather your food.  In other words, if food has been manipulated in a lab do not put it in your body.  Only eat what you could find in nature if there were no such things as grocery and convenience stores.

It may be tough to give up processed foods at first.  They’ve been made to be addictive!  Believe me though, the effort is totally worth it.  Don’t you want a healthy mind and body?

How To Read A Nutrition Label

Do you take the time to read the nutrition label on the food you buy?  Do you know which ingredients are good and which are bad?

Read The Label!

If you’re not reading the nutritional label on the foods you’re buying, how can you know what you’re putting in your body?  Most processed foods that are marketed as healthy have a lot of added sugars and trans fats. For example, did you know that a chocolate peanut butter PowerBar Performance Bar has 20 grams of sugar? Another shocker is Raisin Bran coming in with 15 grams of sugar. That’s twice the amount of sugar in a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut!

You need to reading labels if you want to take control of what you’re putting in your and your family’s bodies.

What To Look For

  •  Notice how many ingredients are listed – the larger the list the worse it is. Can you pronounce the ingredients and do you know what they are.  If you don’t, don’t eat it!
  • Always look at the serving size. In many cases, it’s a lot smaller than you might assume.
  • Look for an adequate amount of fats, fiber and protein.
  • Look for added sugars – if sugar is added leave it in the grocery store.
  • Compare the amount of potassium to sodium. You want to have at least double the amount of potassium to sodium.
  • Look at the fat content. If it’s high in saturated fat you might not want to eat it, or at least not a lot of it.  If there are any trans fats leave it at the store!

Sneaky Stuff

Did you know that even if the front of the package says “no trans fats,” there might actually be trans fats in it?  They can get away with saying that a product is trans fat (or sugar) free if there is less than 1g per serving.  That means that if you were to eat 2 servings of this particular trans fat free product, you’ve actually just injested 1 gram of trans fats!  Check the ingredient list for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

Avoiding added sugars is also important. Natural sugars in milk and fruit are fine. But added processed sugars and sugar alcohols (added to low carb foods to give them flavour) are not good.

If you see any of the following DON’T buy it:

Corn sweetener

  • Corn Syrup or Corn Syrup Solids
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Invert Sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt Syrup
  • Maltose
  • Raw Sugar
  • Rice Syrup
  • Sucralose
  • Sorghum or Sorghum Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Xylose

Tips For Grocery Shopping

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store avoiding the bakery area. Look for produce, meat, seafood and dairy.  Frozen section for frozen fruits and veggies.
  2. Choose real foods. Avoid processed boxed foods.
  3. Always read your food labels. Avoid foods with long ingredient lists. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient: DO NOT BUY IT. The ingredients are listed in descending order from the most to the least. The first 3-5 ingredients are the most important.
  4. Avoid foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup or other refined sugars.
  5. Plan your grocery list ahead of time, and stick to it.
  6. Try to find produce that is local and in season for best prices.
  7. Try not to go food shopping on an empty stomach.
  8. For portion sizes: 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate and 400 calories is too high.


Confused About Nutrition?

People Are Confused About Nutrition

Are you confused about nutrition?  Do you frustrated by all the mixed messages out there regarding nutrition? Remember being told that fat makes you fat and that saturated fat was the worst culprit? Now we know that that was one of the BIGGEST nutritional myths of all time. Our bodies need fat! When people cut out fat from their diet we saw a huge increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.

What To Do

With all the false info out there it becomes really confusing as to what nutritional advise to follow. Here are some tips to help you figure out what advice to pay attention to.

  1. When you read an article that cites a specific study, you need to look deeper into a few things. First of all, who funded the study? What do the funders stand to gain if you believe this info? When it comes right down to it, money is always a part of the picture. Big corporations can fund studies that will prove whatever they want in order to make financial gains. It’s also important to know that media will quite often only portray and publish parts of a particular study and therefore you are not getting all of the information. This is how they can steer consumers in the direction they want.
  1. Use common sense. Your body instinctually knows what to eat in order to achieve optimum health.  Listen to your body’s signals. What happens when you eat sugar? For most people they feel sluggish and gross and then experience a sugar crash and feel even more sluggish and grumpy. This is your body telling you that sugar is not good for you so if you then see an article that says sugar is good for you, you know that this information is false.
  1. Rates of obesity, diabetes and cancer have been skyrocketing. If all of the nutrition advice we have been given, including the Canada Food Guide and My Plate was true, then why are we seeing deteriorating health in our population?

Let Me Help You!

There’s always going to be a ton of misleading information out there regarding nutrition. Most of it is misleading for the purpose of getting you to spend your money. What you need to do is find someone who has a nutrition background and has worked with hundreds of clients to help shed some light on what information you should pay attention to and what information that you should ignore. Please don’t be shy to reach out to me.