7 Of The Most Common Nutrition Myths, Debunked

Cutting out carbs or opting to eat “little and often” are just two examples of nutrition fads that have been hugely popular in recent years. But which fads are rooted in fact? Often, eating healthily is simpler than you think. Below, we spotlight seven commonly held nutrition myths that aren’t actually true.

Eating after 6 p.m. is bad for you

Heard the myth about eating late at night making you more likely to gain weight? That’s not necessarily the case. Studies indicate that calorie intake is the decisive factor here, not the timing of a meal. However, there is some evidence to suggest that eating or snacking late into the evening makes you more likely to choose unhealthy foods.

Low-fat products are healthier

A “low-fat” label in no way indicates that a food has health benefits. Studies show that many low-fat products contain more sugar or artificial additives compared with food that has regular fat content. For example, “light” products often contain sweeteners used to boost flavor (just look to greek yogurt).

It is worth looking out for what type of fat a food contains, as well as the overall quality of the food. It should have as high a proportion of unsaturated fatty acids as possible. As a rule, the fewer ingredients a product contains, the less processed it is and therefore the healthier it is.

Carbs are bad for you

Cutting out carbs is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it isn’t necessarily the right thing to do for your health. Not all carbohydrates are created equal, as the German Nutrition Society explains. Complex carbohydrates–such as those found in nutrient-rich products like wholegrain products and fruit and vegetables–keep you full for longer. They also counteract cravings and strengthen the intestinal flora.

A vegan diet leads to nutritional deficiencies

Another myth is the notion that if you follow a vegan diet, sooner or later you will suffer from a nutritional deficiency. In fact, a balanced vegan diet can provide all the necessary nutrients like meatless protein. The important thing is to incorporate a variety of healthy foods. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products and omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish, so it’s important to incorporate these elements into your diet through vegan-friendly alternatives, and to consider supplements where necessary. Flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts are plant-based sources of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Algae oil can serve as a substitute for fish oil.

You should have protein straight after working out

Although a post-workout protein source can aid with muscle repair, you don’t necessarily have to consume it immediately upon leaving the gym. The body has been said to be particularly receptive to proteins and nutrients in the window between 30 minutes and two hours after a workout. However, recent studies have repeatedly shown that this “anabolic window” is broader and more flexible than originally thought. A study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition indicates that it’s not necessarily important to consume protein straight after working out, so long as the body is adequately supplied with protein throughout the day. There is one exception: If you train several times a day, it can be a good idea to refuel protein reserves quickly after training, to aid recovery.

Gluten is unhealthy

Gluten has had a lot of press in recent years. The protein, which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, has been linked to inflammatory reactions in the body. However, scientific studies show that gluten only causes inflammation in people with celiac disease, a wheat allergy or a specific intolerance. So the good news is, for most people, there is no real advantage in avoiding gluten. A gluten-free diet is also not necessarily healthier, as gluten-free products often contain more sugar, fat, and salt than conventional products in order to mimic the texture and taste of gluten-containing foods.

“Detox” diets actually detox you

Juicing or fasting programs often promise to “detox” the body, supporting organ function and generally improving overall health and wellbeing. However, the body is capable of detoxifying itself, thanks to the liver, kidneys and other organs. According to various studies, there is little scientific evidence to suggest that detox diets help the body to eliminate toxins.

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