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Nutrition Myths and Fallacies

Posted on 10/22/2013

There are so many nutrition myths and fallacies out there, where does one start in breaking down the untruths to get to reality? Here are a few of my favorite myths I hear often and I would like to set the record straight, once and for all!  

Diet is about restricting your food. FALSE! Diet is what you consume, what you eat and drink, that’s it. It has nothing to do with changing your eating habits. If you are not “on a diet” then you will die! Everyone is on a diet – young and old, men and women. Some people are on healthy diets and others choose to be on unhealthy diets. That’s the only difference. A diet should not be about deprivation, it should be something you can consume for the rest of your life.

Natural is better.  FALSE! Natural labels have been popping up, unregulated might I add, in greater frequency over the course of the past decade. If something is labeled as natural, it must be good? Not so fast people, again, this term is unregulated so it can be used generically and generously as the marketers see fit. Did you realize arsenic is natural? Wood chips are natural. Grass is natural. Do you want to eat any of these things? Enough said!  

Fat is bad.  FALSE! Every body needs fat to properly maintain function. While too much of something is not good, this has been taken to extremes and people were vilifying fat as bad. If you do not consume enough fat in your diet, you can have serious health consequences, including eventually death. Most people skew to the other extreme of the spectrum and consume more than the recommended amount of no more than 30 percent of daily calories from fat. One food that contains fat has gotten such a bad rap for years…it’s eggs. I like to think of them as the nearly perfect food. I’m so glad to see eggs reemerging and becoming popular again.  Fat is not bad, in moderation.  

Organic is best.  FALSE! Much like the natural food labeling, it has exploded in recent years. Everywhere you turn, it’s organic, organic, organic. But, how do we know for certain it is truly organic? I realize organic food is overseen by entities that certify it is organic.  But what about the land, what about the land next to it. There has been much debate that farming practices are not consistent across the board and when one farm may be organic and another may be so-called conventional, air and wind can cross contaminate the organic land. So, is the food really organic then if it is labeled as such? Also, the land, can it be confirmed without any doubt that it has always been farmed organically? If not, wouldn’t common sense link past farming practices to current farming to have some impact on the organic produce of today? I think so, but I’m not a farming expert of course.  

Metabolisms can be changed with a pill.  FALSE! A pill cannot change a person’s metabolism. So-called metabolism improving pills are hogwash. The only way a person can change their metabolism is to get up and move. That is how one can burn calories.  

Alcohol is bad for you.  FALSE! In small quantities, alcohol has been shown to be beneficial for preventing disease, including cardiovascular (heart) disease. In particular, red wine, in small daily doses has had positive impacts. But before you belly up to the bar, remember, this is not a case of “some is good, so more is better”….use your thinking rights people, and do NOT over indulge.  

I hope I’ve broken down a few nutrition fallacies out there for you, dear readers. There are so many out there, I know I only scratched the surface. But, these are a few big ones in my book that need correcting. 

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Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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