5 Common Nutrition Lies

12-Dec 2014, by Lee Sandwith

I found a great article recently written by Kris Gunnars, CEO and Founder of Authority Nutrition. If you aren’t familiar with Kris’ work please check out his website as he has built a great reputation and an immense following on the back of a boat load of quality content in the nutrition field. Kris has also kindly offered up all of his content for republishing on other sites which is an awesome way of building a trusting community (not everyone in the field is likeminded).

This means I can share some of his insights on the most common nutrition lies. His original article covered what he believes to be the Top 11 Biggest Lies of Mainstream Nutrition, but to keep this article a bit shorter, I’ve pulled out my favourite 5 which fit nicely with our philosophy.

Here they are, in Kris’s words, pulled directly from the original article.

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1. Eggs are unhealthy

chicken and quail eggsThere’s one thing that nutrition professionals have had remarkable success with… and that is demonizing incredibly healthy foods.

The worst example of that is eggs, which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol and were therefore considered to increase the risk of heart disease.

But recently it has been proven that the cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise the cholesterol in blood. In fact, eggs primarily raise the “good” cholesterol and are NOT associated with increased risk of heart disease .

What we’re left with is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re high in all sorts of nutrients along with unique antioxidants that protect our eyes.

To top it all of, despite being a “high fat” food, eating eggs for breakfast is proven to cause significant weight loss compared to bagels for breakfast.

2. Saturated fat is bad for you

saturated fatA few decades ago it was decided that the epidemic of heart disease was caused by eating too much fat, in particular saturated fat.

This was based on highly flawed studies and political decisions that have now been proven to be completely wrong.

A massive review article published in 2010 looked at 21 prospective epidemiological studies with a total of 347,747 subjects. Their results: absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease.

The idea that saturated fat raised the risk of heart disease was an unproven theory that somehow became conventional wisdom.

Eating saturated fat raises the amount of HDL (the “good”) cholesterol in the blood and changes the LDL from small, dense LDL (very bad) to Large LDL, which is benign.

Meat, coconut oil, cheese, butter… there is absolutely no reason to fear these foods.

[Lee: Of late, I’ve also been convinced that this is one of the most common nutrition lies. However, I think it’s important to point out that saturated fat is high in calories so it’s important to control your intake if you’re looking to lose weight. As we’ve said many times before, it’s all about hitting your calories and macronutrient targets so as long as it fits within your targets then saturated fat can easily be included in your diet]

3. Everybody Should be Eating Grains

white breadThe idea that humans should be basing their diets on grains has never made sense to me.

The agricultural revolution happened fairly recently in human evolutionary history and our genes haven’t changed that much.

Grains are fairly low in nutrients compared to other real foods like vegetables. They are also rich in a substance called phytic acid which binds essential minerals in the intestine and prevents them from being absorbed.

The most common grain in the western diet, by far, is wheat… and wheat can cause a host of health problems, both minor and serious.

Modern wheat contains a large amount of a protein called gluten, but there is evidence that a significant portion of the population may be sensitive to it.

Eating gluten can damage the intestinal lining, cause pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and tiredness. Gluten consumption has also been associated with schizophrenia and cerebellar ataxia, both serious disorders of the brain.

4. Eating a Lot of Protein is Bad For Your Bones and Kidneys

A high protein diet has been claimed to cause both osteoporosis and kidney disease.

It is true that eating protein increases calcium excretion from the bones in the short term, but the long term studies actually show the opposite effect.

High Protein Foods

In the long term, protein has a strong association with improved bone health and a lower risk of fracture.

Additionally, studies don’t show any association of high protein with kidney disease in otherwise healthy people.

In fact, two of the main risk factors for kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating a high protein diet improves both.

If anything, a high protein diet should be protective against osteoporosis and kidney failure!

5. Low fat foods are good for you

yoghurtDo you know what regular food tastes like when all the fat has been taken out of it?

Well, it tastes like cardboard. No one would want to eat it.

The food manufacturers know this and therefore they add other things to compensate for the lack of fat.

Usually these are sweeteners… sugar, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

We’ll get to the sugar in a moment, but I’d like to point out that even though artificial sweeteners don’t have calories, the evidence does NOT suggest that they are better for you than sugar.

In fact, many observational studies show a consistent, highly significant association with various diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, premature delivery and depression.

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To read about Kris’ other 6, and for references please check out the original artcile

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