We are constantly receiving loads of fitness and nutrition information everyday, especially now that we are almost always connected through the Internet. As consumers we need to determine the authenticity of the information that is available online, and whether the claim is reliable and valid.
Let us look at the 5 most common claims that we hear often.
1. Eggs Are Unhealthy
Eggs are commonly regarded as bad because they happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol. Therefore, they are thought to increase the risk of heart disease.
But recently it has been proven that the cholesterol found in eggs doesn’t really raise the cholesterol in the blood.
Eggs contain complete proteins and they’re high in many nutrients along with unique antioxidants that protect our eyes.
In fact, an egg for breakfast offers you better nutrients as compared to just a bagel.
2. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Bones and Kidneys
A high protein diet has been claimed to cause both osteoporosis and kidney disease.
It is true that eating protein increases calcium excretion from the bones in the short term, but the long term studies actually show the opposite effect.
In the long term, protein has a strong association with improved bone health and a lower risk of fracture.
Additionally, studies don’t show any association of high protein consumption with kidney disease in otherwise healthy people.
In fact, two of the main risk factors for kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating a high protein diet improves both.
If anything, a high protein diet should be protective against osteoporosis and kidney failure!
3. Low-Fat Foods Are Good For You
Do you know what regular food tastes like when all the fat has been taken out of it?
Well, it tastes like cardboard. No one would want to eat it.
The food manufacturers know this and therefore they add other things to compensate for the lack of fat.
Usually, these are sweeteners… sugar, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
Even though artificial sweeteners do not have calories, the evidence does NOT suggest that they are better for you than sugar.
Read your food labels and make wise decisions, and avoid excessive intake of artificially sweetened foods.
4. High Omega-6 Seed and Vegetable Oils Are Good For You
Polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy because some studies show that they lower your risk of heart disease.
But there are many types of polyunsaturated fats and they are not all the same.
Generally, we have both Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and they lower your risk of many inflammation-related diseases. Humans actually need to get Omega-6s and Omega-3s in a certain ratio. If the ratio is too high in favor of Omega-6, it can cause problems.
By far the biggest sources of Omega-6 in the modern diet are processed seed and vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower oils.
Throughout evolution, humans never had access to such an abundance of Omega-6 fats. It is unnatural for the human body.
Eat your Omega-3s and consider supplementing with cod fish liver oil, but avoid the industrial seed and vegetable oils.
5. Sugar is Unhealthy Because it Contains “Empty” Calories
We have all heard that sugar is bad for us because it contains empty calories.
That is true, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sugar, primarily because of its high fructose content affects metabolism in a way that sets us up for rapid fat gain and metabolic disease.
Fructose gets metabolized by the liver and turned into fat which is secreted into the blood as VLDL particles. This leads to elevated triglycerides and cholesterol.
It also causes resistance to the hormones insulin and leptin, which is a stepping stone towards obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
This is just to name a few. Sugar causes a relentless biochemical drive for humans to eat more and get fat. It is probably the single worst ingredient in the standard western diet. The harmful effects of sugar go way beyond empty calories.
*Reference: Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition, Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition.