You like to think of yourself as somewhat of a healthy person (er—maybe just a healthy eating enthusiast). You read up on the latest research, make the recommended changes, and make sure you drink enough water. But sometimes, you end up getting it all wrong.
One day, you’re being told you should eat less sugar and more artificial sweeteners; the next week your SO is grabbing the little yellow packet from your hand and screaming, “How could you eat that?! Don’t you know they just found out this stuff is horrible for you?!”
It’s pretty confusing and it’s hard to know where to get your information from. So-called “experts” claim to know what they’re talking about, only for you to realize that they’re just experts in marketing and don’t know a thing about your health.
Let us clear your mind, so you can clear your plate (with a clear conscience). Here are the most common myths about healthy eating.
You can trust food labels.
As much as you’d like to trust those very official-looking stamps on the side of your food packaging, the reality is, you can’t.
The FDA allows a variance of 20 percent deviation of the true ingredient amount and actually, no one’s even checking that that’s even true. There’s no agency that regularly audits food items and the FDA uses an honor system to police the accuracy of labels. Yep, that’s right. An honor system.
If that doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, well, it shouldn’t. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office checked to see how often manufacturers’ vitamin and mineral claims were accurate and actually fell within the FDA’s 20 percent rule.
Get this…of the 300 products tested, 47 percent were outside of the accepted range for vitamin A, 31 percent were outside of the accepted range for iron, and 12 percent were outside of the accepted range for vitamin C.
You should juice or cleanse to lose weight.
Juicing (relying only on the liquids extracted from fruits and vegetables to meet your caloric needs) is all the rage right now and “specialists” claim that adhering to a liquid diet will do miraculous things for your health, like: detox your body, boost your metabolism, make you lose weight.
Most of these claims are made by companies pushing their products and they’re unsubstantiated. The concept of needing to detox your body is a hoax because you already have a natural detoxing system set up in your liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. That’s what their jobs are!
Additionally, juicing a fresh product strips it of its’ fiber, which is important for gastrointestinal health and balanced blood sugar levels. Juicing programs are also typically really low in calories which causes your body to go into “starvation mode.”
When it thinks it’s starving, your body uses its’ own muscle for energy, which lowers your metabolism.
Drink kombucha for your good health.
You’ve read about it. You may have even been brave enough to try it. But what is it? Kombucha is a fermented tea that no one drinks for the taste (it’s been compared to “cough syrup that’s been in the medicine cabinet too long, or a lacrosse player’s inner thigh.”) But as bad as it tastes, experts tout is as being that good for you.
Some claim that it cures cancer, relieves you of your gastrointestinal issues, and cleanses your gallbladder (what??!) In actuality, studies have shown that it does none of these.
It can, however, make you dizzy, nauseated and cause you to vomit. So why do some people feel so great after drinking it?
The University of Maine tested several brands of kombucha and found that they contained between 0.5-2.5 percent of ethanol. That’s just enough to give you a good buzz (and it may help you forget the taste of it).
Egg yolks are bad for you.
New studies show that you shouldn’t be so quick to ditch the creamy, yellow middle of an egg. Although the yolk contains most of the egg’s cholesterol, it was found that foods high in cholesterol have little to no effect on your total blood cholesterol.
This means that whole eggs don’t contribute to heart disease, like previously believed. Actually, the opposite is true; yolks are actually really good for you! They contain phosphorus, calcium, zinc, folate, and loads of vitamins.
You’ll gain weight if you eat at night.
Ever find yourself searching the fridge at 10 p.m. thinking, “I really shouldn’t eat now. I’ll get fat.” That’s stinkin’ thinkin’!
Studies have shown that it’s a misconception that you gain more weight during certain times of the day. Your body is burning calories all day and night long to fuel your brain and other organs. As long as you’re in the daily caloric range for your body’s needs then you’re good!
Being a vegetarian is healthier for you.
We know what you’re thinking…”Those vegetarians have to be healthy; they eat so many fruits and veggies!” Ehh, not so fast.
A study in Austria found that even though vegetarians exercised more, drank less alcohol, and had lower body fat than their carnivorous counterparts, their diet of low saturated fats and cholesterol, and increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products actually carried elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders. Imagine that!
They observed a whopping 50 percent increase in incidence of heart attacks and cancer with vegetarians. Although this group proved to be less healthy, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t want you to ditch fresh produce altogether.
They stick by their recommendation of adding extra fruits and veggies to any diet to reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
High-fat dairy is awful for your body.
Eat fat and you get fat, right? New research shows that that may not be the case. Certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial and serve to lower risk of obesity and diabetes, not raise it.
Researchers believe there are a couple of reasons for this. One theory is that when people are instructed to to eliminate dairy from their diets, they replace it with high carbohydrate, body-inflaming foods that turn out to be worse for the hearts and cholesterol.
Another theory is that the fat in dairy actually acts to suppress your hunger by tripping the “satiety button” in your head (so you don’t eat more stuff that’s unhealthy for you).
A third theory is that the fats in the dairy interact directly with your cells and help your liver and muscles break down sugar from food more efficiently.
Coconut oil is the best oil for you.
It seems like everyone (and their mother, and grandmother) is coconut-crazy these days.
Everywhere you turn there’s a new coconut product: coconut water, coconut cream, coconut powder. Coconut oil is the newest obsession to add to the list and some professionals are touting it as a miracle food.
They claim it cures common medical issues like arthritis, urinary tract infections, kidney infections and diabetes but research results are still iffy. Considering that it’s super high in saturated fat (90 percent) compared to butter and lard (64 and 40 percent, respectively) you may wonder why it’s so darned good.
Good question! Researchers believe that the difference may lie in its’ unique chemical structure; it may give it the ability to absorb differently. But different doesn’t necessarily mean better. Some studies have shown that it does raise “good” cholesterol, but it can also raise bad cholesterol, as well.