Fitness has become a fad today with a growing number of people becoming health conscious. Awareness about a healthy diet is spreading through numerous websites and social media that bombard us with information. With the abundance of information comes confusion and often, people develop misconceptions about foods, diet, and lifestyle. Here are the most common myths about nutrition and the truth behind them.
Myth 1: Fruits Are As Bad As Candies
Many people avoid fruit, thinking that natural sugars make you pile on the pounds. A recent Harvard study observed that avoiding fruits completely is unnecessary for weight management.1 The study analyzed over 130,000 adults and noted that the subjects who consumed an extra daily serving of fruit lost an additional half a pound over a four-year period. Although it may not sound significant, it may help offset typical age-related weight gain.
Fruits are also rich in vital nutrients, water, and fiber and the natural sugars in fruits are less concentrated than other sweet foods. Other studies also reveal that compared to vegetables, fruit have a more powerful effect on weight loss.2 The reason for this is because fruits tend to replace higher-calorie goodies and treats, while vegetables tend to be add-ons. So, fruits are definitely worth including in your daily diet, as long as you consume them in moderation.
Myth 2: You Can Consume As Much Protein As You Want
First of all, eating too much of anything is bad for you. Many people are concerned about overconsuming any macronutrient, including protein. The protein you consume helps in maintaining, healing, and repairing tissues in the body made from protein. But your protein intake should ideally be only as much as you require to accomplish these tasks. When you exceed the required quantity, the excess protein can either cause weight gain or prevent weight loss.
For an ideal balance, include some protein in each meal, but don’t overdo it. For instance, if you’re active, aim for half a gram of protein per pound of your ideal weight. So, if your goal is 130 pounds, you don’t require more than 65 grams per day.3 To enable your body to optimally use the protein you eat, spread the intake throughout the day.
Myth 3: You Can Eat Junk Food And Then Just Burn It Off
There is a reason why experts tell us to avoid junk food. The quality of the food we eat matters a lot. The damage caused because of eating junk food can’t be reversed even with a rigorous workout. One particular study found that artificial additives that are present in processed foods may increase your risk of developing autoimmune diseases.4
So, no amount of exercise can prevent the damage caused by unhealthy foods. On the contrary, trying to compensate for junk food intake by working out actually causes more harm than good. As workouts exert stress on the body, inadequate nutrition only further weakens the body instead of making it stronger. So, consuming a balanced, whole foods diet is crucial.
Myth 4: Consuming Fats Makes You Fat
It is a common misconception among most people that consuming fats makes you fat. In reality, eating the right kinds of fats helps in weight loss as healthy fats are extremely satiating. Research shows that plant-based fats like nuts, olive oil, and avocado can increase appetite-suppressing hormones and they keep you fuller for a longer duration. Plant fats are rich in antioxidants and also help reduce inflammation and boost metabolism. Hence, it is important that you include healthy fats in every meal.
Myth 5: Eating After Your Exercise Eliminates The Workout Benefit
This is another common myth among fitness enthusiasts. The calories you consume after your workout are not sent right back into your fat cells. Experts suggest that you should eat healthy foods after a workout. That’s because working out saps the energy from your body and it needs energy for recovery.
Consuming a healthy, nutrient-rich diet supplies your cells with the energy it requires to heal and recover. This recovery process is crucial as the healing after the workout builds and maintains muscle mass, increases metabolism, and improves your fitness level. Consider foods that provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lean protein, and healthy fats.
|↑1||Bertoia, Monica L., Kenneth J. Mukamal, Leah E. Cahill, Tao Hou, David S. Ludwig, Dariush Mozaffarian, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu, and Eric B. Rimm. “Changes in intake of fruits and vegetables and weight change in United States men and women followed for up to 24 years: analysis from three prospective cohort studies.” PLoS medicine 12, no. 9 (2015): e1001878.|
|↑2||Schroder, Kerstin EE. “Effects of fruit consumption on body mass index and weight loss in a sample of overweight and obese dieters enrolled in a weight-loss intervention trial.” Nutrition 26, no. 7 (2010): 727-734.|
|↑3||Wu, Guoyao. “Dietary protein intake and human health.” Food & function 7, no. 3 (2016): 1251-1265.|
|↑4||Lerner, Aaron, and Torsten Matthias. “Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease.” Autoimmunity reviews 14, no. 6 (2015): 479-489.|