Conventional wisdom has told us our whole lives that if we eat plentiful grains, stay away from red meat and only consume products that are low in fat, we will live long and healthy lives. This is, in fact, far from the truth.
Recently, movies like Fed Up and Fat Head and books like Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis or Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It by Gary Taubes are all shedding light into this controversial topic.
Let’s look at the top 10 beliefs about nutrition that everyone thinks are healthy, but in fact, could very well be ruining your health.
1. Follow the Food Pyramid To Live A Healthy Life
In the 1980’s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted the food pyramid, which promotes variety, moderation and proportionality in what you eat. This notion of eating most of your calories from carbohydrates like pasta, bread and rice and limiting your portions of red meat is still taught in today’s school as the standard to a healthy diet.
Although the Food pyramid has radically changed the shape to The Healthy Plate, it still advocates for a disproportionate amount of carbohydrates and lumps healthy fats like avocado and olive oil with bad oils like refined-seed and vegetable oils.
If you don’t already know, the 11 servings of carbohydrates the USDA wants everyone to consume daily, is the main reason that obesity and diabetes has increased at alarming rates in the past 30 years.
You might not think you are consuming up to 11 servings a day, but you know that bagel you have in the morning? That’s 5 servings of carbohydrates. And if you have spaghetti for dinner, most people take 5 or 6 servings of pasta to feel satisfied, which fulfills your quota for the day. Don’t forget, though, all the crackers you ate in the afternoon for a snack. Now you’ve gone over the recommended servings of carbohydrates.
Next time you want cereal for breakfast or a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, you might be on your way to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or any host of chronic ailments.
2. Saturated Fat is Bad For Your Health
I’m sure you grew up hearing that saturated fat from meat, butter and cheese is unhealthy and if you’re going to eat it, to not eat a lot of it.
The foundation of today’s medical knowledge rests on the idea that saturated fat is associated with cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association still promotes this wrong belief about saturated fat and only recommends you get around 6% of your calories from it.
Many recent studies have looked into this belief and from looking at a Meta analysis of over 21 studies, researchers have found no association between the amount of saturated fat a person eats and the risk of heart disease.
There is also evidence stating that saturated fat does not raise your “bad” LDL, but in fact, raises your “good” HDL cholesterol.
So when you decide whether to have bacon and eggs or yogurt and fruit for breakfast, know that choosing bacon and eggs is also a healthy choice. The nutrition, protein and minerals found in bacon and eggs are just as nutritious as yogurt and fruit, making it an impactful breakfast that will fuel you all the way until lunch.
3. Soy Milk is a Better Choice Than Drinking Regular Milk
Soy milk is by far one of the top milk alternatives for consumers. It’s also a popular choice for those who are lactose intolerant or don’t like the taste of cow’s milk.
Soy milk is derived from a plant, and when compared to cow’s milk, it’s less nutritionally superior as it only has some B vitamins and not as much calcium. Therefore, soy milk is fortified with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamins E, B12 and D in order to make it more comparable to cow’s milk.
Lately, there has been illuminating evidence suggesting that soy products are extremely harmful to our bodies, making that cup of soy milk you drink every day not very desirable.
One of the harmful effects of consuming soy is the large amount of phytoestrogens inhabiting your body. This disrupts your endocrine system by simulating your body’s own estrogen hormones.
It’s particularly damaging for men because it can lead to a host of hormonal problems such as infertility, low sperm counts and even testosterone imbalance.
Consuming soy milk on a regular basis can also inhibit absorption of important minerals like iron, copper, zinc and magnesium because it contains high levels of phytic acid.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, avoid the soy milk. Instead, opt for lactose free milk or other milk substitutes that don’t contribute to infertility.
4. Low Fat Foods Help You Lose Weight
Low fat foods were the rage back in the day and are still marketed as a healthy alternative to high fat foods.
Since the early 1980’s, this notion of cutting your fat, eating less meat, and increasing your carbohydrates, directly coincided with the rising epidemic of obesity in the country.
People were taught if you cut the fat, you lose the weight. I mean, don’t you know eating fat, makes you fat?
Since saturated fat has been vilified most of our lives, it’s no wonder low fat foods are a popular choice for snacks and meals. But we now know that fat from animals is quite healthy to eat on a regular basis.
Low fat foods, on the other hand, are manufactured and are not natural foods. These products have the fat removed and do you know what manufacturers put in its place? They replace it with sugar or a host of chemicals, including aspartame, which has been linked to seizures and even cancer.
But, besides the fact that it’s harmful to our bodies, does it help us lose those unwanted pounds? The Women’s Health Initiative looked at women who ate a low fat diet, and those who ate a standard western diet.
After 7 years of following these women on a low fat diet, it was concluded that those in the low fat group only weighed1 lb. less than the other group.
Now you know, a low fat diet does not contribute to weight loss.
5. Eating Green Leafy Vegetables Every Day Are Good For Your Body
Eating green leafy vegetables are good for you every day, but if you are one of many who are unknowingly suffering from oxalate toxicity, think twice before ordering your next green smoothie.
Approximately 20% of individuals are prone to oxalate toxicity from consuming too much oxalate rich foods. Alarmingly, many individuals are unaware of this association and suffer, whilst still drinking their green juice.
Foods high in oxalate acid, like green leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard or kale, can cause kidney or gallbladder stones if you are sensitive to kidney problems, gall bladder problems or gout.
These oxalate crystals can form on any tissue in your body. Although they normally concentrate in and around your kidneys and gall bladder, they have been known to show up in skeletal muscle, making working out or moving excruciating.
There is reason to believe that fibromyalgia, widespread pain in the body, is partially attributed to oxalate toxicity.
Overall, when trying to be healthy, it’s better to ditch the green juice and eat your greens sparingly after they’ve been cooked.
6. Olive Oil Is A Healthy Alternative To Other Vegetable Oils
While this is a true statement, the olive oil that’s in your pantry, is likely fake.
According to Tom Meuller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, 70% of the Olive Oil sold in today’s supermarkets worldwide, is actually a combination of inferior GMO oils and taste enhancers.
Manufactures are splitting Olive Oil and watering it down with soybean oil, canola oil and sunflower. Other manufactures are mixing vegetable oils with beta-carotene and chlorophyll to make fake Olive oil.
This issue is so bad that there is actually a division of Olive Oil Police, raiding refineries that produce illegitimate Olive oil.
So, how do you know if what you have is true Olive oil?
- It’s in a dark bottle
- It has certification from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC)
- It costs more than $10 a liter
- It doesn’t have the words light, blend or pure on the bottle
7. Eggs Are High In Cholesterol, Making Them A Bad Food To Eat
I’m sure everyone has been taught their whole lives from their parents, the media and from the government, eggs are full of cholesterol and eating them can increase your chances of heart disease.
New evidence is suggesting that although eggs are full of cholesterol, it doesn’t raise your “bad” cholesterol, only your “good” cholesterol. And it is not a culprit to the incidence of heart disease in the country.
Eggs, in fact, are chock full of dense nutrition, that it would be a sin not to eat it. Not only does it contain a healthy amount of vitamins A, B, D, E and K, it also has a healthy dose of good fat.
Final note: eggs are incredibly healthy and you can have them every day.
8. Whole Wheat Bread Is Better Than White Bread
What, eating white bread is actually healthier than whole wheat? How can this be true when white bread is void of any fiber and stripped of healthy vitamins, only to be fortified with them again?
Some say whole wheat bread is better because it contains the whole grain, which is full of nutrients. The whole grain consists of
- The bran – the outermost layer of the wheat berry
- The germ – the innermost layer
- The endosperm – which is the starchy layer between the other layers.
But when you use the whole grain, you are taking more away than just the good nutrients. You are also taking away the anti-nutrients, which covers 80% of a whole wheat berry.
Anti-nutrients, like lectin and phytate, plague your body and can cause a host of health problems. Consuming large amounts of whole grain products can contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Leaky Gut and any other intestinal permeability problems.
White bread is stripped of all nutrients and anti-nutrients. So if you want to have bread, white is a better option.
9. Juice Is A Healthy Alternative To Soft Drinks
Who doesn’t like a glass of orange juice with their breakfast? It’s considered part of a balanced breakfast by many people mainly because it’s viewed as a healthy option.
Orange juice, however, is also loaded with sugar. In fact, a glass of orange juice has the equivalent amount or more of sugar as a can of soda.
Ultimately, your body knows no difference between a glass of fruit juice, a bagel, or a soft drink. They all contain sugar, or fructose or high-fructose corn syrup, which all converts to fat in the body.
When you drink your fruit, you absorb large amounts of fructose. Your liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose and oftentimes, when it gets too much too quickly, it converts any leftover fructose into fat.
Over time, your body may become insulin resistant, thus contributing to metabolic syndrome, which puts you at risk for serious health problems.
So the bottom line is, eat your fruit and if you’re thirsty, stick to low sugar drinks like water or coffee.
10. Gluten Free Is Better And Healthier Than Gluten-Filled Carbs
A small percent of the population has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that damages their small intestine due to eating gluten rich foods. As such, this population must avoid eating gluten at all costs.
Recently, though, gluten-free products have become more popular as a healthier option rather than a necessity for certain people. Those who aren’t gluten sensitive also believe eating gluten free products can help with weight loss.
What some people don’t know is, most gluten-free products are highly processed and not that nutritious. When companies remove gluten they have to put something in its place. Most likely, this is rice or corn flour, which isn’t a better or healthier option for non-celiac individuals.
Furthermore, replacing gluten filled breads and cookies with gluten-free versions of them does no good for your health or your waistline.
If you don’t have celiac disease, consider avoiding any gluten free versions of pasta, bread or sweets. Instead, eat whole foods instead of processed foods to stay healthy and slim.
I certainly don’t know all the nutritional lies that are out there. What have we missed? What food beliefs do you adopt?