3 Mainstream Nutrition Myths (Debunked by Science)

3 Mainstream Nutrition Myths (Debunked by Science)

Myth 1: The Healthiest Diet Is a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet With Lots of Grains
Several decades ago, the entire population was advised to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet (1Trusted Source).

At the time, not a single study had demonstrated that this diet could actually prevent disease.

Since then, many high quality studies have been done, including the Women’s Health Initiative, which is the largest nutrition study in history.

The results were clear… this diet does not cause weight loss, prevent cancer OR reduce the risk of heart disease (2, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).

BOTTOM LINE:
Numerous studies have been done on the low-fat, high-carb diet. It has virtually no effect on body weight or disease risk over the long term.
Myth 2: Salt Should Be Restricted in Order to Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes
The salt myth is still alive and kicking, even though there has never been any good scientific support for it.

Although lowering salt can reduce blood pressure by 1-5 mm/Hg on average, it doesn’t have any effect on heart attacks, strokes or death (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Of course, if you have a medical condition like salt-sensitive hypertension then you may be an exception (8).

But the public health advice that everyone should lower their salt intake (and have to eat boring, tasteless food) is not based on evidence.

BOTTOM LINE:
Despite modestly lowering blood pressure, reducing salt/sodium does not reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes or death.

Myth 3: It Is Best to Eat Many, Small Meals Throughout the Day to “Stoke the Metabolic Flame”
It is often claimed that people should eat many, small meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism high.

But the studies clearly disagree with this. Eating 2-3 meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned as eating 5-6 (or more) smaller meals (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

Eating frequently may have benefits for some people (like preventing excessive hunger), but it is incorrect that this affects the amount of calories we burn.

There are even studies showing that eating too often can be harmful… a new study came out recently showing that more frequent meals dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat on a high calorie diet (11).

BOTTOM LINE:
It is not true that eating many, smaller meals leads to an increase in the amount of calories burned throughout the day. Frequent meals may even increase the accumulation of unhealthy belly and liver fat.
Myth 4: Egg Yolks Should Be Avoided Because They Are High in Cholesterol, Which Drives Heart Disease
We’ve been advised to cut back on whole eggs because the yolks are high in cholesterol.

However, cholesterol in the diet has remarkably little effect on cholesterol in the blood, at least for the majority of people (12Trusted Source, 13).

Studies have shown that eggs raise the “good” choleserol and don’t raise risk of heart disease (14Trusted Source).

One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants showed that eating eggs had no effect on the risk of heart disease or stroke in non-diabetic individuals (15Trusted Source).

However… keep in mind that some studies have found an increased heart attack risk in diabetics who eat eggs (16).

Whole eggs really are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.

Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition.

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