With lots of information circulating from various sources, it can be hard to know who to trust. Here are some of the most common myths nutrition experts hear as well as the real facts.
Myth #1: Even if you eat junk food, you can just burn it off.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. All calories are not created equal. Many unhealthy foods contain harmful ingredients such as artificial colors and flavors as well as things like MSG and preservatives. All of these ingredients are linked to many serious health conditions like autoimmune disorders, cancer, neurological disorders as well as increased risk for heart disease, strokes, etc. In addition, exercising puts stress on the body and if you’re not receiving adequate nutrition, the wear and tear on your body is even more extreme. Therefore, a well balanced diet is very important.
Myth #2: All sugar is created equal.
Many people seem to think that all sugar is bad. However, there are different kinds of sugar. Foods with natural sugar like fruit are much better for you than foods like candy with loads of added sugar. Fruit is also high in antioxidants and several essential vitamins and minerals. Fruits like bananas that are rich in fiber in addition to antioxidants and vitamins/minerals are great post-workout snacks. They refuel the body and stimulate muscle repair.
Myth #3: Eating fat will make you fat.
Like sugar, not all fat is the same. Healthy sources of fat like nuts and avocados will help you feel fuller longer and eliminate the desire to binge on unhealthy foods. The healthiest fats are typically found in plants. Studies have shown that plant-based fats can reduce inflammation as well as boost the metabolism. Many plant fats are also great sources of antioxidants. Great sources of healthy fat include the aforementioned nuts and avocados as well as olive oil, tahini, hummus and dark chocolate.
Myth #4: Diet soda is healthier than regular soda.
While there may not be any calories in most diet sodas, that definitely does not mean that they are a healthier choice. In fact, they may actually be worse than regular soda and may cause weight gain rather than weight loss. Diet sodas typically contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. These harmful additives are linked to many heath conditions and disorders. In addition, diet sodas can induce harmful psychological effects. Many people think that because they chose a diet soda with dinner, they can eat that extra helping of fries. This completely negates the purpose of drinking the diet soda in the first place, and in fact can cause you to consume even more calories in the end.