Navigating the information and recommendations in the nutrition industry can be tricky. More often than not, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are three busted nutrition myths you may have heard.
Myth #1: Eating before bed results in weight/fat gain
When it comes to weight gain, it’s more about the quantity of calories consumed versus the timing. Our bodies can track time with circadian rhythms, so our meal timing does have some influence, but not as much as some claim. Typically, the foods we lean on as late-night snacks could be higher in calories (ice cream, cookies, chips, etc.). These could also be similar foods we reach for when we’re tired but not necessarily hungry. Depending on how much we’ve already eaten during the day, a bedtime snack can still fit in your eating pattern to support your goals of weight loss/maintenance.
You can read more about this myth here.
Myth #2: You should eliminate food groups (grains, meat, carbs, fats, etc.) to be healthy
The only time you should eliminate or avoid certain foods is when your body has a negative reaction to those foods. For example, it would be advised to avoid gluten if you have celiac disease, or avoid certain dairy products if you are lactose intolerant. Elimination of entire food groups or macronutrients can potentially lead to deficiencies and health complications down the road. If you have food sensitivities or allergies that warrant elimination in your diet, it’s important to talk with the right health professionals to make sure you can meet your nutrient needs.
Myth #3: Whole, fresh produce is the healthiest
There’s been a lot of hype on “whole” foods in the health and nutrition realm. Although whole and fresh foods are nutritious, that doesn’t mean frozen or canned varieties are unhealthy and should be avoided at all costs. Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness and then flash-frozen to retain the nutrients. Canned foods are often more economically friendly but sometimes have a bad reputation for being high in salt or sugar. Most brands have low-sodium and sugar-free options to choose from that can still provide your body with important nutrients. Eating a whole food can offer more in that all of the nutrients, like fiber, remain with it as you eat it. In comparison, a more processed version may have some of those nutrients removed (e.g., eating an orange versus drinking a glass of orange juice).
You can read more about this topic here.