The world of fitness and nutrition is filled with all sorts of misinformation. Sometimes, people are putting out false information on purpose because they’re trying to scare you into buying their product, but most of the time it’s just a matter of ignorance being passed on unintentionally. Since science seems to be telling us the opposite with each new study that comes out, it can be really tough to keep on top of things.
It wasn’t all that long ago that actual doctors were telling us that it’s healthy to smoke cigarettes. That was probably a combination of ignorance and malicious companies trying to make an easy buck. When it comes to nutrition, what’s good and what’s bad for us seems to change on a yearly, if not weekly, basis.
Here are the top 3 reasons that people are often misinformed about nutrition:
1. Common sense isn’t always correct: The best example of this is that “fat” isn’t healthy for us. Over the years, fat has been stigmatized because people think that eating fat in their diet directly correlates to gaining fat, so that if you don’t eat fat you’ll be healthier. That’s just common sense, right? Wrong. That’s not really how it works, but we’ll cover that in a lot more depth in just a few minutes.
2. We’re bombarded with advertisements: A lot of people get their nutritional advice from advertisements, even if they don’t realize it. You could be watching a certain celebrity Doctor on television who is praising a certain diet or a particular product, without realizing that he is being paid money to promote these things, maybe not directly but through sponsors and advertisements.
3. The goal line is always moving: How can you hit the target for perfect nutrition and a great diet if the goal line feels like it’s always moving and changing? One study will tell us that something is healthy to eat every day, then another study comes out and says to avoid that food… how do you know who to trust, and how can you stay on top of things?
The Cholesterol Debate
One of the biggest changes to nutrition information is the pivot between cholesterol being the worst thing ever, and then discovering that there are different types of cholesterol and it’s not necessarily as bad as people originally thought.
Butter and eggs got a really bad reputation thanks to the US government’s recommendations to be weary of them, and studies that claimed they were dangerous for our hearts, however, they’re starting to pull back on those concerns and updating their recommendations.
After decades of warning against saturated fats and cholesterol as the biggest dietary concern, the focus is starting to shift elsewhere. Here’s what Dr. Steven Nissen, from the Cleveland Clinic, has to say about the fact that experts are starting to change their tune on cholesterol and dietary fats:
“It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.”
Not all fats are created equal, and some are actually proving to be not only essential but healthy. Later on in this article, we’ll show you some high-fat foods that are actually good to eat, along with some low-fat foods that you should be avoiding in your day-to-day diet.
So, if fatty foods aren’t the culprit for America’s expanding waistlines over the decades, what is? The way we treat our diets and eat in general has come a lot way in the past few decades. On the one hand, modern farming and the whole grocery system has meant affordable and easy to obtain foods for hundreds of millions of people, but on the other hand processed foods are causing their own set of issues that need to be addressed.
When the giant food conglomerates raced to cut the fat in their foods, they had to replace it with something else otherwise people wouldn’t buy their products because let’s face it – fat is delicious. When you cut the fat, you still need food to taste good, so they started replacing fat with something much, much more dangerous.
People have had the wool pulled over their eyes, even people who have been trying to eat healthier, because of sneaky ingredients and because people will only look at the calories or the fat in a food, ignore much more dangerous ingredients.
By replacing fat with things like sugar and excessive amounts of salt, food companies were able to keep their food tasting good and found out that they could literally make their foods addictive.
5 Reasons That Sugar is VERY Dangerous
Let’s not kid ourselves, nobody thinks sugar is healthy, but many people don’t realize just how bad sugar is for their bodies – and they definitely don’t realize how much sugar they’re eating in a day, even from foods that you wouldn’t expect to have very much sugar at all. Remember, certain food brands are cutting fat so that they can stick that “LOW FAT” label on their food, but they’re replacing that fat with sugar, instead, and they’re doing it in very sneaky ways.
1. Your brain on sugar is like your brain on drugs: Remember those commercials that showed your brain, and then showed what your brain looks like on drugs? Some of you will. Anyways, researchers have said that the immediate effect of our brain when we’re eating sugar triggers a similar reaction to a drug addict who is getting their fix – which makes sense – because sugar is the most widely available and widely consumed drug on the planet. (source)
2. There’s no positive aspect to eating sugar: With a lot of other additives to food, there can be pros and cons. Fat, for example, can be good but also bad depending on the type and the amount you’re eating. Sugar, on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities – only negative ones. There’s no plus side to eating sugar whatsoever, besides that it tastes good. (source)
3. It’s bad for your teeth: Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth, but it might be even worse than you think.
4. It’s not FAT that makes you FAT, it’s SUGAR: Our bodies can process fat very well, it turns into energy and helps keep us moving throughout the day. Sugar can also give you a quick spike of energy, known as a “sugar rush” or more aptly called a “sugar high”. But our bodies don’t burn sugar into energy the same way they burn fat. Not all calories work the same way.
5. Sugar is the leading cause of obesity: That’s right, it’s not fat. It’s sugar. Are you starting to notice a trend? Studies have shown that sugar is the highest contributing factor to obesity in America, and that includes the SNEAKY sugars that we’re about to discuss. (source)
The Low-Sugar Trap
Simply looking for foods that are low in sugar, however, isn’t the answer either. This is where things get even more complicated. You practically need a Ph.D. in nutrition to feed yourself these days, it feels like, but if you just follow some basic principles and pay more attention to the labels, you’ll be doing a lot better than the average person.
As people wise up to the dangers of sugar, brands are finding new ways to capitalize. They’re replacing sugar with all sorts of different types of artificial sweeteners, and even using clever yet misleading ways to trick people who are reading the labels.
For example, if people are trying to avoid foods that have sugar as one of the top 3 ingredients, these companies might put 3 or 4 different types of sugar in the product, so that none of them are one of the main ingredients, but when you add them all together it would be one of the top ingredients. It’s basically taking the same amount of sugar, but dividing it into different names so it seems like there’s less of it. It’s completely misleading, it’s dangerous for consumers who are trying to eat healthily and are being misled, and it’s completely legal.
5 Fatty Foods That Aren’t As Bad As People Say
It’s one thing for us to go on and on about how bad sugar is and about how fat can actually be healthy, but how about we go over some actual examples? Here are 5 foods that are fatty and widely considered unhealthy by people who use common sense instead of facts to dictate their nutrition.
1. Avocados: An avocado has as much fat as a burger from a fast food joint, but it’s mainly monounsaturated fat that you’ll find in an avocado, which can actually help to lower your LDL cholesterol along with other types of bad fats. Remember, not all fats are created equal (Just like calories.) Avocado oil also makes a great alternative to olive oil, because it tastes great and it doesn’t smoke as easily, making it much better for cooking.
2. Nut butter: Peanut butter, almond butter, and other types of nut butter can be really good for you, or they can also be bad. Some brands don’t contain anything except for the actual nut, whereas others add a lot of sugar to make it tastier, and other ingredients to make it smoother. Stick to the all-natural stuff, and you’ll be doing great. Just because nuts have a lot of calories and fats, that doesn’t mean they’re bad for you.
3. Cheese: Here’s one that you’ll want to eat in moderation. Cheese has a surprising amount of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. It is very calorically dense, so make sure you’re minding your intake.
4. Chocolate: The darker the better. The milk chocolate that you’ll find in the candy bar aisle of the grocery store isn’t what we’re talking about here, you’ll want to find the darkest chocolate that you can possibly enjoy. Lighter chocolate
usually has a lot more sugar, whereas the darker it is – the more bitter it tastes, but it’s the kind of bitterness that you’ll get used to. It’s great because darker chocolate is a lot less addictive, you won’t want to sit there and eat the entire bar – just a piece will fix your craving. Dark chocolate has a lot of fat, but it’s also loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants.
5. Whole Eggs (Yes, even the yolks!): Eggs took a real beating (no pun!) during the
years that people believed that all cholesterol was bad for you, which had people taking the yolks out of their eggs and only eating the whites. When you discard the yolk, you’re getting rid of the good cholesterol and a lot of other nutrients.
5 Foods That Are Way Worse Than People Think
So there are some foods you might have thought were bad for you, that aren’t as bad as many people believe. On the other hand, there are a lot of foods that masquerade as health foods that aren’t healthy at all (Or, aren’t nearly as healthy as they would have you believe.) So, before we finish things off here, let’s take a look at some of those foods that you should try to avoid eating, or at least eat a lot less of. Most of the foods that made this list are here because they have a lot of “hidden” sugar.
1. Salad dressing: Do you think eating a salad is a healthy choice? Unless you’re every careful about what you put in that salad, it can be just as unhealthy as a double cheeseburger from a fast food place. Seriously! Many dressings are filled with sugar, especially the “low calorie” ones. They’re filled with fat and not the good kinds of fat. Then you start adding bacon bits, processed cheese, croutons, and everything else, a salad can have more calories than a lot of junk foods.
2. Smoothies: Here’s another healthy choice that isn’t always healthy. If you’re adding juice, handfuls of fruits, protein powders, and everything else that it takes to make a delicious smoothie – you could be eating 100 grams of sugar in a large serving without even realizing it. Granted, sugars from the fruits are unavoidable but consider adding a fewer berries and a little more greens. Consider using water instead of juice, or better yet – use a cucumber if your smoothie is too thick.
3. BBQ Sauce: This stuff can have upwards of 10-15 grams of sugar per serving, which might not seem like a lot but that’s extra sugar that a lot of folks don’t even realize is there. The daily recommendation for sugar is less than 25 grams, so a few tablespoons of BBQ sauce and you’re well on your way already.
4. Dried Fruits: They’re often chosen by people thinking they’re a healthier alternative to candy, but a lot of dried fruits have added sugar – and that’s in addition to all of the natural sweetness! Since dried fruits have the same amounts of sugar as the regular version, in a much smaller size (Since all of the water and moisture has been dried out of them), it’s easy to eat a lot more of the fruit, thus consuming more sugar by orders of magnitude.
Hopefully, this article has helped clear up some of the misconceptions about nutrition that we often come across. It’s important to be your own advocate when it comes to health because at the end of the day you have ultimate authority and responsibility for which foods enter your body.