Dispelling Common Myths About Nutrition

When hearing about nutrition, you hear a variety of different tips and advice that promise to be full-proof. You’ll hear people say things like “The best way to lose weight,” or “A magic food that provides everything you need.” Despite these misleading statements, it’s important for you to understand that there’s no magic food for weight-loss, and the only way to eat healthy is through maintaining a balanced diet.

Here’s some common food myths you may have heard about at some point, and the right information about them:

Myth: Eating only one meal a day can help you lose weight.

So many people feel that by skipping meals, you get fewer calories in and will lose weight over time. This can be true in theory, but here’s the problem: When you only eat one meal per day, your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs to function daily. Food is fuel, and how can you expect your body to perform its daily functions without fuel? It’s like asking a car to run without gas.

The other problem with eating only one meal per day is when people do this, that one meal per day turns into one huge meal per day, because they’re so hungry from not eating earlier. This has the potential to result in even more calories consumed than if they had eaten their regular three meals throughout the day. When skipping meals, others might also begin eating snacks more frequently, or “grazing” to compensate for the fact that they’re so hungry.

Do it the RIGHT way: Eat three meals per day to provide your body with the fuel it needs. A mix of all the food groups can provide you with the energy you need. Try to eat every 4-5 hours. For some people, this can be challenging, so if you have to go a little longer between meals, consider adding a snack to make sure you don’t get overly hungry.

Myth: If you take a vitamin, you don’t need to eat right.

A multivitamin can be a great insurance policy to make sure you get the nutrition you need, but it’s in no way a replacement for a healthy diet. Some people think if they take a multivitamin, they can down a bag of chips with a soda. No such luck!

Do it the RIGHT way: Eat a variety of foods every day. A mix of vegetables, fruit, protein and dairy will provide you with the nutrition your body needs. It’s a good idea to take a multivitamin, because we all know, no one has a perfect diet. Just don’t use vitamins as a complete replacement for getting proper nutrients out of your diet.

Related: Multivitamins —Are they Worth it? (An article from Your Weight Matters Magazine) 

Myth: If you eat low-sugar or low-fat items, you can eat all you want.

The nutrition label may say no added sugar or low-fat food, but it’s important to review the entire label before making a decision about whether or not a food item is good for you. For most foods, if manufacturers take out sugar, they’ll add extra fat. And if they take out fat, they’ll add extra sugar! Typically, the calorie amount is the same. When consumers see these foods, the foods that seem so healthy, it’s easy to overdo it on consumption. Sometimes, people eat 3 or 4 times the amount of the serving suggestions because a food item appears to be more healthy.

Do it the RIGHT way: Eat everything in moderation. A low-fat treat is okay. A full-fat treat is even okay. It’s just important that you balance these foods out with other healthful choices. All foods can fit!

Myth: A low-carbohydrate diet is the best way to lose weight.

Any diet that limits a specific food group is not a plan that can be followed in the long-term. Limiting all fat, all protein or all carbohydrates from your diet will leave you short of a variety of nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

Do it the RIGHT way: All the foods you eat can fit in your nutrition plan. Develop a balanced meal plan that contains all the nutrients you need.

Photo via Visual Hunt

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