In the Internet Age, there’s no shortage of bad, wrong, and just plain dangerous information out there for all to see. Unfortunately for us, that information just takes one click from grandma to share with the masses! When it comes to nutrition advice, it’s no less true. You would be astounded to know just how much bad advice is out there. You might be even more surprised to know how much bad advice we've fallen for over the years.
While bad nutrition advice didn’t start with the internet, it sure helps it spread.
These are 6 pieces of advice on health and nutrition that might be ruining your health.
6 Pieces of Health and Nutrition Advice That Are Just Plain Wrong
1) Calories are calories.
I don’t understand this one! For some reason, there’s this idea that calories are just calories and that is doesn’t matter where they come from. Maybe it comes from our cultural obsession with counting calories (If you want to lose weight, it really is as simple as energy in, energy out. Eventually, your body can’t help but lose weight).
Regardless, this myth has us looking to calorie content first before looking at the nutritional breakdown of our foods. As a result, we might be picking lower-quality foods for fuel, things that won’t give us the vitamins and nutrients we really need, in an effort to hit calorie goals.
Remember, the quality of your calories matters. For example, protein can boost your metabolism and help you feel fuller faster. Most of us aren't picking empty calories versus vegetables in the name of "calories are calories," but we often make poor trade-offs just the same.
2) Only eggs white allowed.
At some point, the idea that eggs raise cholesterol started spreading. And while this is true, the whole egg is high is good HDL cholesterol, and even so, it doesn’t raise said cholesterol for most people.
Despite this and despite the fact that eggs are perhaps the perfect food and one of the most nutritious things you can possibly eat, the fear of cholesterol led many to toss out the yolks (the nutritious and cholesterol-rich part of the egg) in favor of the whites.
It defeats the purpose of eating an egg in the first place! When you eat whites only, you're skipping the nutrient-rich part of the egg entirely.
3) Low-fat foods are good for you / Fat is the enemy.
We’re collectively afraid of fat, and it’s really taking a toll on our health. While fat should be consumed in moderation, our low-fat substitutions aren’t doing any of us any favors. Why? Many are much higher in sugars and carbs so that they’re palatable in taste and texture. This can make our blood sure spike and, because we digest carbs quickly, cause the hunger to return and make us consume more.
Something with full fat would keep us fuller longer and wouldn’t fling cravings on us! A low-fat diet full of substitutions can be fraught with overly processed foods that are dangerous in their own ways. Instead of looking to remove fat, think more about moderation and eating whole foods.
4) Only organic vegetables will do.
Somehow, there’s an idea spreading that organic vegetables are the only vegetables worth eating. There’s a myth that non-organic fruits and vegetables are somehow lacking in nutrition, inferior, or even bad for you. As a result, people who can’t afford to eat organic wind up skipping them altogether, which is definitely a bad idea.
There’s no nutritional difference between the two, and it comes down to personal choice and conviction.
5) If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
The idea behind this one isn’t bad. It’s rooted in the thought of eating whole foods and cutting out processed ones for a simpler, more natural diet. Not bad in theory. However, the issue arises in that there are plenty of good things in our foods that most of us can’t pronounce because we’re just not nutritionists. Pick up a box of bran flakes and you’ll see what I mean.
Sometimes ingredients in our foods aren’t listed in layman’s terms. Just because there’s a scientific name doesn’t mean your food is processed or dangerous. If you are concerned, research it! Just don’t blacklist everything that has something you don’t recognize on the list. Otherwise, you may be missing out on essential nutrients.
6) Insert any detox/cleanse here.
Our bodies don’t need help to detox. That’s why we have a liver and kidneys. Whether it’s tea, juice, or whatever the new and trendy cleanse is, we have no need to participate. All you will get from a cleanse is GI distress and a severe lack of appropriate nutrients.
What’s the worst piece of health advice you’ve ever received? Tell me in the comments!