top nutrition myths

There’s a reason that the US diet industry is worth $66 billion (yes, with a “b”!). We are so hungry (pun intended!) for a “miracle cure” to all of our health problems that we eagerly jump on board with new diet trends … only to realize, after just a few days or weeks, that restriction and deprivation masked by sexy marketing and alluring testimonials is still … restriction and deprivation.  Amidst all of these ups and downs, we propagate nutrition myths and start to believe almost anything we hear or read about nutrition … and then wind up overwhelmed and confused about what true nutrition is.

Sound familiar?  If you feel confused or overwhelmed, I’ve come to put your mind at ease.  Here are the 5 top nutrition myths I hear regularly, along with the truth behind the claims.  Enjoy!

  1. Carbs are bad. Every time I hear this, I shudder.  First, labeling foods “bad” (or “good”) creates something moral about a subject we already beat ourselves up over enough.  As my clients have heard me say a million times, you’re not a bad person if you eat fried chicken, just like you’re not a good person if you eat a salad.  But even if we replace “bad” with “unhealthy,” the statement is still untrue!  In fact, some of my favorite foods are carbs!  Did you know that broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, apples, and peppers are all foods that are technically “carbs”?  And very few people argue that vegetables are quite healthy.  When most people refer to “carbs,” they think of refined carbohydrates like breads and pastas, which can certainly spike blood sugar and have negative health effects if consumed in excess.  But a healthy carbohydrate intake coming from whole foods that are virtually all vegetables is a great thing!  So let’s stop labeling foods “bad,” and stop demonizing all carbohydrates.
  2. Gluten-free products have super powers to make you healthy. Food marketers are paid to get you to buy their product, so it’s no wonder they’re plastering “gluten-free” labels on everything in supermarkets lately.  I recently bought a bag of cauliflower rice with a big “gluten-free” label on the front … but cauliflower has never had gluten!  Naturally-occurring gluten-free foods (like my cauliflower rice, and other vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole foods) are healthy options, but gluten-free cookies, pastas, and cakes are still cookies, pastas, and cakes.  The amount of sugar is the same (or often, more).  The amount of low-quality oils and preservatives is often the same (or often, more).  And refined flours made from grains (gluten-free or not) will still spike your blood sugar if not carefully balanced.  If you have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just know gluten doesn’t make you feel great … then of course, a gluten-free cookie will be less inflammatory then a “regular” cookie.  But don’t fool yourself – it’s still a cookie, and should be eaten in moderation.  There are no magic super powers in a product just because it’s labeled gluten-free!
  3. Nutrition is just about weight control. Have you heard anyone say, “I don’t need to lose weight, so I don’t really watch what I eat,” or seen a friend who stays slender but eats junk food like it’s going out of style?  If so, listen up so you can help them out!  Most people think that healthy eating is just about weight, but I can’t be more vehement about telling you that is not the biggest benefit.  I help clients achieve non-scale victories every single day: they have come off dozens of prescription medications (for things as widely ranging as psoriasis to blood pressure, acid reflux to Type 2 diabetes).  They have proven doctors who said they would “always be bloated” or were “just that way because of genetics” wrong.  They have beaten emotional eating, grown more confident in their own skin, learned how to ditch the afternoon energy slump, and SO much more.  Nutrition is a powerful tool towards whole body health, and some of the biggest benefits have nothing to do with the scale.top nutrition myths
  4. Eating healthily is expensive. Have you ever walked into Whole Foods, and walked out with $200 of fancy health products … that don’t even make a complete meal?  I have (full disclosure here!).  It’s no secret that many trendy “health” products are quite expensive, but while they may be fun, they are certainly not necessary for your health.  Before you dismiss healthy eating to save your wallet, consider these facts:
    • If you shop smart, healthy eating can be remarkably cheap! Check out these tips for healthy eating on a budget and these 44 healthy foods under $1!
    • This study by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine showed that the average daily cost of healthy food (made up of vegetables, fruits, meats, and the arguably-necessary dairy and grains) cost $7.48 / day when made at home, and the average daily cost of eating a fast food diet was $15.30 / day … nearly double the price!
    • Of course, this doesn’t consider theremarkable costs of chronic health conditions, the majority of which can be improved or eliminated with a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Meal prep takes too much time.  Yes, it does take a chunk of time initially, but it is a huge time saver overall!  Consider this representation of saving over 7 HOURS of time per week!  This is the #1 reason I am so dedicated to my meal planning and food prep (which you can see each week on Facebook and Instagram!).
Without Meal Planning / Food PrepWith Meal Planning / Food Prep
Breakfast15 minutes x 7 days = 105 minutes5 minutes x 7 days = 35 minutes
LunchDriving to pick-up, ordering, driving back = 30 minutes x 7 days = 210 minutes5 minutes x 7 days = 35 minutes
DinnerFiguring out what to make, cooking = 45 minutes x 7 days = 315 minutes5 minutes x 7 days = 35 minutes
Grocery Shopping120 minutes (because you need an extra trip!)60 minutes
Meal PlanningN/A20 minutes
Food PrepN/A120 minutes
Total750 minutes305 minutes

 

If you need more help with meal planning and food prep, listen to my free webinar here!

One more myth I didn’t cover here … Is {Paleo / Whole30 / Keto / insert-your-diet-of-choice-here} the miracle I’ve been looking for?  If you want the answer to that myth, join my free webinar on April 26th!  I’ll be describing each of the most popular diet trends, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each.  You’ll leave understanding which diet approach is best.  Register free at bit.ly/whattoeatwebinar!

Now it’s your turn … Do any of these top nutrition myths surprise you?  What other myths would you like busted?

 

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2 Comments

  1. Anuva on April 10, 2018 at 7:47 am

    So often people tell me they don’t get how I meal prep every week when I do because it’s “so time consuming” but it REALLY isn’t!

    I also get “healthy food doesn’t taste good”… which is just not true (in my opinion anyways). There are tons of ways to season food that are still healthy and make food taste amazing!

  2. Victoria Pagan-Wolpert on April 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

    MYTH NUMBER 5: One time I was really tired after work and thought, “Ugh, I just can’t chop a salad.” Meanwhile, I made my kids some mac-n-cheese. So I set the timer on my iPhone and you know what? It took LONGER to make the mac-n-cheese! By the time you boil the water, add the pasta, drain, stir in your stuff, etc. I was able to chop an entire salad in the same amount of time. Next time you think you are too tired, just set your timer for seven minutes. I guarantee you’ll be surprised! And, you will feel better and have MORE energy after eating the salad.

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