Top 5 Misconceptions about NutritionMay 06, 2022
Today, we're going to talk about the top five misconceptions surrounding nutrition that I think need to be debunked. So let's talk about it.
The first misconception is near and dear to my heart, it is that carbs make you fat. So when I changed my mind about this thought it changed everything. So carbohydrates in themselves are not going to make you fat. A lot of people have a fear of carbohydrates, I went through a period of time where I was afraid to eat a sweet potato and a piece of fruit, I promise you carbohydrates in themselves don't make you fat.
So don't get me wrong, you know, there are some people who absolutely will benefit from a lower carbohydrate diet or a low carb lifestyle, especially if you struggle with blood sugar dysregulation or some insulin resistance. So, you know, a low carb diet can be very beneficial for a lot of different reasons. But carbohydrates in themselves are not going to cause you to gain weight, what will cause you to gain weight, or body fat is being in an excess of calories, or just eating a lot in general, and eating a lot of food that will actually cause you to over consume that food. So eating a lot of food that is hyper palatable, that makes you just want to eat more. So a lot of processed and packaged foods, those are the things that are probably going to be what leads to the most, you know, fat gain or body fat gain. But it's not carbs themselves, we have to realize too, that you know, a lot of people associate carbs with, like, you know, processed things like cookies, and chips and ice cream and things like that.
But what a lot of us don't realize is that those things also have a lot of fat in them. So it's not that ice cream and chips are just carbohydrates, they're actually a combination of carbs, and fats. And if you're eating foods that are hyper palatable, that are highly processed, that have a large combination of just carbohydrates, and fat, and not enough protein, those tend to be the foods that you're going to consume more of. So carbohydrates in themselves don't make you fat. It's if you're over consuming foods that are easier to eat. If you you know, tend to lean more towards carbohydrates, when you're having, you know, sugar cravings or cravings in general, then yes, they can contribute to that, but in themselves are not going to cause fat gain. So you have to be in a calorie surplus in order to gain fat. And so that's going to come from a lot of different factors.
So just in themselves, carbs don't make you fat, you shouldn't fear carbs, especially whole food, carbs that have a ton of nutrients. And they can actually be super, super beneficial, especially if your goal is to build muscle, and you know, have good exercise performance. Not that carbs are absolutely necessary for that. But they can be beneficial, especially for someone who is, you know, on the leaner side looking to optimize their body composition. And even those who may be you know, on the heavier side and looking to lose body fat, some taking out some carbohydrates can be beneficial to help with maybe reducing insulin levels.
Like I mentioned before, you know, if you are overweight or obese, you might have some struggles with insulin resistance, you might have some blood sugar dysregulation. So limiting carbs in that sense could be beneficial. But it all comes down to the person and where you're coming from and what your goals are.
The next misconception is that high salt or sodium is bad for you. So we've kind of debunked this pretty recently, over the last few years, we're starting to get away from fearing salt and fearing sodium rich foods. A lot of people are still though, kind of in that mindset that high salt or high sodium foods are bad for us, when in reality they're not. So if you're not getting enough sodium in your diet, you're actually going to be doing yourself a disservice because you could be messing with your electrolyte levels and your hydration levels, it's going to cause a reduction in energy levels, potentially some brain fog and a lot of other things that you don't want to happen.
So making sure your sodium is in check is really going to help balance a lot of the different processes within your body. And also a lot of people don't realize that sodium is super important for exercise, right. So if your sodium levels are out of whack, you're going to be not having a great pump in the gym. So we know that when you consume enough sodium, it actually pulls water into your muscles and makes them more full so you actually get a better muscle pump. We also know that sodium is super important for nutrient absorption. So if you're not actually salting your food or eating food that has some sodium in it, you actually might not be getting as much of that absorption from those nutrients. So there are a ton of reasons why salt is important, and you really shouldn't fear it.
The next misconception would be high protein causes kidney disease. So I feel like we've debunked this one a lot over the recent years. Same with sodium, but a lot of people still fear higher protein. So there's been some misconceptions and misinterpretation of the literature that you know talks about kidney disease and higher protein. But what we know from the current research is that higher protein does not cause kidney disease, the only people who should potentially think about or think about even worrying about higher protein is those that may have an existing kidney disease. But even in that regard, it's even in that regard, it's still minimal. So, misconception that high protein causes kidney disease that is completely false, and you shouldn't believe it.
The next misconception would be that dairy is bad for you. So dairy in itself is not bad. It's not bad for you. This comes back to people getting a little bit fear mongering by the media, by you know, the news saying that dairy causes inflammation or whatever it may be. But the issue is that some people are sensitive to dairy, like some people are lactose intolerant, some people don't tolerate dairy, you know, yogurt, milk, things like that very well. But we have to consider the individual when we're talking about this. So dairy in itself is not universally bad. It's really based off the individual it's based off of how you personally respond to the different types of dairy you're eating, we want to focus on getting high quality dairy.
So if you're buying, you know, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt at the grocery store, just make sure that you trust the brand that you're getting it from, make sure you're paying attention to that. And, you know, you can do this by simply testing out different types and seeing how you personally react to them. But in itself, dairy is not bad. It's actually very nutrient dense, and can be a really great addition to your diet. I know for me, I eat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, cheese, cream, all of that stuff, and I am still alive. So dairy is not bad. It's very, very individual. So if you're eating dairy and you're tolerating it, well, then there's no need to cut it out of your diet. So kind of just test and assess and see what works for you. But in general, dairy is not universally bad.
Last but not least, the fifth misconception would be that artificial sweeteners are harmful. So this is very controversial in the nutrition space. There's a lot of fear mongering in the media and the news about artificial sweeteners. A lot of that is coming from studies that have been done in rats. So we need to consider whenever we're, you know, listening to the media or reading newspapers or hearing things about nutrition, we have to consider the source so with artificial sweeteners, just to so artificial sweeteners in themselves, there are some common ones are aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, those would be things that you find in like diet sodas, and maybe diet foods. Artificial sweeteners in themselves are not harmful. In those rat studies that I mentioned, they're giving them artificial sweeteners in super, super high amounts, like astronomically high amounts that do not translate to what humans consume.
So I don't know the exact numbers, but you would have to literally, I think it's like, drink 100 cans of Diet Coke in one day to like, get even close to the amount that they gave these rats. I don't know if that's the exact numbers, don't quote me on that. But it's like an astronomically amount, an astronomically high amount. So that in itself just tells us that there's some issues there when we look at some rat studies and the amount that they're giving them to actually make it quote unquote, toxic or cause cancer, for example, we also have to consider that a lot of these studies were correlational versus causational studies. So that just means that if something is correlated with something, it doesn't mean that it actually causes that. So that's another downfall of these studies that have been done in rats.
Another quick thing to note on this is that for me, personally, I you know, I generally don't try to consume artificial sweeteners. But if I'm going to go have a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi now and then like, I do that and I'm totally fine with it, but on a daily basis, I like to stick more with the natural sweeteners and I say that those are things like stevia monkfruit, they're coming from more of a natural source versus the sucralose and aspartame which are more like factory chemical sweeteners. So that's personally what I like to stick to but again, everybody's different. Just choose what works for you what you feel good with, but don't necessarily fear that artificial sweeteners are going to cause cancer or be harmful, because that is pretty much a lot of BS.
Thanks so much for watching. If you want to learn more about nutrition, fitness or metabolic flexibility, you can check out our website met Flex life.com. There you can find our podcast and Netflix and chill our nutrition and exercise programs, our latest blog posts, free recipes and much more
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