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The top 17 nutrition myths of 2017

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Its a new year, which means youre probably reevaluating all your poor health choices and setting a
few tness goals for 2017.
(/refer/subid/nutrition-awful-nutrition-myths/
Alas, the internet makes it easier than ever to spread misinformation, often with the best of loc=store/reference)

intentions. Myths that were previously passed through word-of-mouth in gyms and health clubs now
spread like wildre through social media, blogs, forums ... This guide sums up over 5000 human
studies into a monster 1000+ page
reference that clearly tells you what work
and even the established media. Between a 24-hour news cycle, studies that are both long and
(and what doesn't)
dicult to read (https://a99d9b858c7df59c454c-
96c6baa7fa2a34c80f17051de799bc8e.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/learn/studyguide-erd2016.pdf), and
journalists scrambling for the latest viral hit, information often gets published without being veried
(https://io9.gizmodo.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800).
Show Me

Myth 1: Carbs are bad for you


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For decades, fat was the enemy, but today the media has found a new scapegoat: carbs. And
generalizing about carbs and insulin seems to get more popular by the year. In fact, in the eyes of
many, the glycemic index (http://www.glycemicindex.com/) and the insulin index

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(http://www.mendosa.com/insulin_index.htm) seem to rank foods by how dangerous they are. Like


cholesterol, insulin is misunderstood as being unilaterally harmful.

Yet our bodies need and produce both substances. Cholesterol serves to make pregnenolone, and
from there many other hormones, such as testosterone. Insulin is required to store glucose (the
sugar in your blood) or use it for energy; it was one of the very rst hormones to be discovered, and
the rst to be investigated in the context of sensitivity.

Early evidence suggested that carbs caused insulin insensitivity. This can be true in diabetics and in
insulin-resistant people overeating carbs, but not in healthy people on a healthy diet. This said, there
is no denying that modern society makes it very easy to overeat carbs: Processed carbs are often
delicious and seldom very lling, despite being high in calories.

Cutting carbs (especially processed carbs) can be a viable fat-loss decision, if it helps you eat less. But
if cutting carbs makes you miserable and always hungry (https://examine.com/nutrition/high-carb-
high-satiety), you should consider other options. If you wish to lose weight, what matters is not to
replace fat by carbs or carbs by fat (https://examine.com/nutrition/carbs-fats-and-carbs-plus-fats/),
but to end most days on a calorie decit (https://examine.com/nutrition/what-should-i-eat-for-
weight-loss/).

The Truth: Carbohydrates have been vilied long enough. As long as you dont
overindulge, starches are not inherently harmful.

More: High-carb, high satiety? (https://examine.com/nutrition/high-carb-high-satiety)

Myth 2: Fats are bad for you

Eat fat, gain fat, right? For many decades, the traditional way to lose weight has been to subject
oneself to a low-fat diet. But as studies pile on (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27903520),
research plods on, and old wisdoms sometimes must give way. Today, we know that, just like eating
cholesterol isnt likely to increase your cholesterol levels, eating fat isnt what makes you fat
(https://examine.com/nutrition/what-should-i-eat-for-weight-loss/).

Far from being healthy, shunning all fat from your diet can be dangerous, since your body needs to
consume at least some omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. As for the myth that saturated fat causes
cardiovascular disease (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-saturated-fat-bad-for-me/), it is just that: a

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myth. At the end of the day, trans fat is the only kind of fat that has been shown to be unilaterally
detrimental to health (https://www.nap.edu/read/10490/chapter/1) a little wont kill you, but avoid
it when you can.

The Truth: If you stay in a caloric surplus, a low-fat diet wont make you lose weight,
especially since it can decrease your testosterone production. You need some omega-
3 and omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fat wont give you a heart attack, but too much
trans fat may.

More: Is saturated fat bad for me? (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-saturated-fat-bad-for-me/)

Myth 3: Protein is bad for you

Carbs and fats often take the blame for various health issues, but the third macronutrient isnt
always spared by the media. Protein has often been accused of bone and kidney damage
(https://examine.com/nutrition/can-eating-too-much-protein-be-bad-for-you/).

Lets tackle those two claims one at a time. An early study reported that protein consumption was
linked to increased urinary calcium, which was thought to lead to bone loss over time. Later studies
determined that urinary calcium was a poor predictor of bone mass, and that protein actually had a
protective eect (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22127335) or no eect
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18665794) on bones.

Another early study determined that high protein diets increased glomerular ltration rate
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3207474) (GFR), a marker for waste ltration in the kidneys. It
was argued that increased GFR was a sign that undue stress was put on the kidneys, but later
research has shown that kidney damage does not occur
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12639078) as a result of diets high in protein
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10722779).

In conclusion, randomized trials thus far have not shown high protein diets to have harmful eects
(https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2016/9104792/).

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The Truth: Protein, even in large amounts, isnt harmful to your bones. It isnt harmful
to your kidneys either, unless you suer from a pre-existing condition.

More: Can eating too much protein be bad for you? (https://examine.com/nutrition/can-eating-too-
much-protein-be-bad-for-you/)

Myth 4: Egg yolks are bad for you

If theres one thing the media is good at, its scaring you away from perfectly innocent foods.

Eggs have been demonized because their yolks, which are chock-full of nutrients, contain high levels
of cholesterol. Does that scare you? It shouldnt, because eating foods high in cholesterol does not
translate to increased cholesterol levels (https://examine.com/nutrition/will-eating-eggs-increase-my-
cholesterol/) in most people.

More to the point, in clinical trials, no association was found between eggs and cardiovascular
disease (https://examine.com/nutrition/are-eggs-healthy/), except maybe in some people with
specic pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23676423)
or hyperglycemia),

The Truth: Eggs are a great source of proteins, fats, and other nutrients. Their
association with high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease has been severely
overblown.

More: Are eggs healthy? (https://examine.com/faq/are-eggs-healthy)

Myth 5: Red meat is bad for you

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because red meat causes cancer (https://examine.com/nutrition/scientists-just-found-that-red-


meat-causes-cancer--or-did-they/).

Absolute statements like this one are the nutrition myths best friend. Cancer is particularly dicult
to discuss in absolutes. After all, almost everything we eat has the potential to be involved in cancer
development (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23193004). For example, antioxidants can both
promote and hinder cancer growth, but the eect is usually too small to notice.

Some compounds, like polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), found in smoked meats, have been found
to damage the genome, which is the rst step to potential cancer. Current evidence suggests that red
meat can pose a cancer risk for people with poor diets
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24842864) and lifestyle choices
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24659930). If you have a consistent exercise schedule, eat
your vegetables, and dont smoke, red meats eect on cancer isnt something to worry about
(https://examine.com/nutrition/does-red-meat-cause-cancer/).

The Truth: Fears about cancer and red meat are exaggerated. Making healthy lifestyle
choices (such as staying at a healthy weight, exercising, and not smoking) is more
important than micromanaging your red meat intake. If youre going to lay o red
meat, start with avoiding too much processed/cured/smoked red meat.

More: Does red meat cause cancer? (https://examine.com/nutrition/does-red-meat-cause-cancer/)

Myth 6: Salt is bad for you

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Most myths are rooted in a grain of truth. Its true that people with salt-sensitive hypertension
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27566757) should avoid too much salt because it raises their
blood pressure. In most people, however, there appears to be little to no association between salt
consumption and hypertension (http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/09/03/ajh.hpu164)
when controlling for other factors. Instead, evidence suggests an association between high blood
pressure and high body weight, as measured by BMI.

Salt (sodium) is an essential mineral; its consumption is critical to our health. The problem is that the
average North American consumes double the recommended intake
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56068/table/summarytables.t3/?report=objectonly), so
quite a bit more than the tolerable upper intake
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56068/table/summarytables.t8/?report=objectonly). Excess
sodium may not raise blood pressure, but it is associated with other health issues, such as kidney
damage (http://www.worldactiononsalt.com/salthealth/factsheets/kidney/) and an increased risk of
cognitive decline (http://www.medicaldaily.com/too-much-salt-how-diet-too-high-sodium-can-aect-
your-heart-brain-and-even-bone-330910).

The Truth: Salt (sodium) isnt strongly associated with high blood pressure, except in
people with salt-sensitive hypertension. Still, anything in excess is harmful, and
sodium is no exception.

Myth 7: Bread is bad for you

Carbs in general have taken a pounding of late, but critics have been especially tough on bread,
claiming that any amount of gluten (not a carb, ironically) is a danger to all. However, whereas small
amounts of gluten can indeed produce symptoms in people with intestinal disorders, in other people
the dose-response relationship for eects hasnt been well studied.

Furthermore, while gluten gets all the attention, other compounds may be more important for
people without celiac disease who suspect they have gluten sensitivity. For example, some of the
same researchers who did an initial study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23648697) on
gluten intolerance did a follow-up study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24740495) and
concluded that gluten was not necessarily to blame in those with irritable bowel syndrome. They
suggested that compounds falling under the category of FODMAPs
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25982757) (which are present in a variety of plant foods) may
be a greater issue.

Nevertheless, gluten research is still in the very early stages, with evidence mounting of non-celiac
gluten sensitivity having a reliable biological basis
(http://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2016/07/21/gutjnl-2016-311964.full).

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The Truth: While some people are sensitive to wheat, the gluten content isnt
necessarily to blame, and other foods may also be implicated.

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Myth 8: Whole-wheat bread is far better


than white bread

White bread (made from wheat our) and whole-wheat bread both contain gluten and related
proteins. They provide a similar number of calories, but whole-wheat bread has lower glycemic
(http://www.glycemicindex.com/) and insulin (http://www.mendosa.com/insulin_index.htm) indices,
and so its consumption results in a lower insulin release. For that reason, and because of its higher
ber and micronutrient content, whole-wheat bread is claimed to be healthier than white bread.

What the media frequently fails to mention is that the actual dierences between white bread and
whole-wheat bread are relatively small (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-whole-wheat-bread-better-
than-white-bread). Yes, whole-wheat bread has a higher ber content but this content pales
compared to that of many fruits and vegetables. You most denitely dont have to eat whole-wheat
products to get enough ber in your diet! And yes, white bread does lose more micronutrients during
processing but those micronutrients are often reintroduced later (the bread is then called
enriched).

If anything, what makes whole-wheat bread markedly dierent is its higher phytic-acid content.
Phytic acid binds to dietary minerals, such as iron and zinc, and can thus slightly reduce their
absorption in the body (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2821800). On the plus side, phytic acid
has a protective and anti-inammatory eect on the colon
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8383315). So theres a little bit of bad and a little bit of good.

The Truth: Though whole-wheat bread is claimed to be far healthier than white
bread, they arent that dierent, and neither contains high levels of ber or
micronutrients.

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More: Is whole-wheat bread better than white bread? (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-whole-


wheat-bread-better-than-white-bread/)

Myth 9: High-fructose corn syrup is far


worse than sugar

Glucose, the sugar in your blood, is your bodys preferred source of energy. Fructose, another sugar,
can also be used for energy until the liver is full of glycogen. Once fructose can no longer be used for
energy, it is converted into fatty acids.

Early evidence led to the belief that fructose could cause fatty-liver disease, as well as insulin
resistance and obesity. By extension, high-fructose corn syrup (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-hfcs-
high-fructose-corn-syrup-worse-than-sugar/) (HFCS) is frequently said to be unhealthy, since it is high
in fructose.

Depending on the production method, liquid HFCS has a fructose content of 4255%. Sucrose, also
known as table sugar, is 50% fructose. The dierence (-8% to +5%) is too slight to matter.

The Truth: HFCS and table sugar are very similar from a health perspective. Though
HFCS may sometimes contain more fructose, the dierence is negligible.

More: Is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-hfcs-high-fructose-corn-


syrup-worse-than-sugar/) worse than sugar?)

Myth 10: Foods are always superior to


supplements

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How often have you heard the claim that whole foods are better than supplements? Its been
repeated so often that the word natural has a positive connotation whereas synthetic or
chemical has a negative one.

The truth, of course, isnt so clear-cut. Some compounds are more eective in supplemental form.
One example is the curcumin (https://examine.com/supplements/Curcumin) in turmeric
(https://examine.com/supplements/Turmeric), which is often supplemented with piperine
(https://examine.com/supplements/Black+Pepper) (a black pepper extract) or taken in liposomal
form (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25500488) to increase its otherwise low bioavailability.

The same goes for vitamins. For instance, phylloquinone


(https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+K) (K1) is tightly bound to membranes in plants and so is
more bioavailable in supplemental form (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8813897). Likewise,
folic acid (https://examine.com/supplements/Folic+Acid) (supplemental B9) is more bioavailable than
folate (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-Consumer/) (B9 naturally present in foods), though
that may not always be a good thing (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-
HealthProfessional/#h8).

Many supplemental vitamins have natural and synthetic forms. This makes them accessible to more
people. For example, if B12 (https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+B12) could not be
synthesized, it would be prohibitively expensive as well as unsuitable to vegans.

The Truth: With regard notably to vitamins, foods are not always superior to
supplements.

Myth 11: Supplements are superior to


foods

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Unlike its opposite, this myth is seldom voiced out, yet it is often assumed and acted upon. One
argument is that intensive agriculture has led to soil depletion
(https://www.scienticamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/), so that natural foods
(vegetables and grains and the animals fed on them) fail to provide enough vitamins and minerals.
Another argument is that foods are a mess of unknown compounds, in addition to known poisons
such as the dreaded saturated fat (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-saturated-fat-bad-for-me/),
cholesterol (https://examine.com/faq/are-eggs-healthy), gluten
(http://gut.bmj.com/content/early/2016/07/21/gutjnl-2016-311964.full), and FODMAPs
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25982757). And to top it all, sticking to a low-carb or low-fat
or high-protein diet with only foods is a daily challenge.

No wonder that more than one-third of North Americans take a multivitamin


(https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional/). Better cover ones bases, or so the
thinking goes. Alas, there is no evidence that taking a multi will increase your life expectancy
(https://examine.com/faq/do-i-need-a-multivitamin), and while it may support your health in some
ways, it could hurt it in others (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682456/).

Fact is, multis are seldom well conceived. Due to cost and space considerations (people willing to
take one pill a day may balk at taking ten), multis are often rich in micronutrients abundant in a
healthy diet and poor in others you are more likely to need. You are usually better served by focusing
on what you actually need such as vitamin B12 (https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+B12) if
you are vegan or a senior, or vitamin D (https://examine.com/supplements/vitamin-d) if you seldom
see the sun.

In fact, many foods youll nd at the supermarket are already fortied with the micronutrients youre
most likely to lack. Milk, for instance, is frequently fortied with vitamin D, whereas salt is iodized
(https://examine.com/supplements/Iodine), and enough foods are fortied with folic acid
(https://examine.com/supplements/Folic%20Acid/) that youre as likely to get too much as not
enough (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/#h8). In that light, many of our
foods also act as supplements; it is therefore tempting to take the next step and live on meal
replacements (https://examine.com/nutrition/soylent-is-made-from-hype/), with all the necessary
vitamins and minerals added in and none of the aforementioned poisons.

That could work if we actually knew all the necessary. We learn a little more each day, but theres
still much we ignore about food components and their interactions with dierent systems in our
bodies (and with dierent people). So until we reach a perfect understanding of the human body and
its nutritional needs, youre safer eating a varied diet of little-processed foods than ingesting the
same meal replacement day after day after day. And itll taste better.

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The Truth: Supplements have their use. You can benet from supplementing specic
vitamins or minerals, and a protein powder can make it easier to increase your daily
protein intake. But supplements should complete a healthy diet not replace it.

More: Do I need a multivitamin? (https://examine.com/faq/do-i-need-a-multivitamin)

Myth 12: You should eat clean

This statement is not so much a myth as a jumble of misconceptions. First of all, people seldom
agree on what clean actually means. For some, it means avoiding everything that isnt natural. For
others, it means avoiding all risky foods even at the cost of living on meal replacements and other
supplements. One common point of clean diets is their negativity: They tell you what clean eating is
by telling you what not to eat.

Veganism can be considered the prototypal clean diet, as it shuns all meat products both for ethical
reasons and for better health. But although vegans and vegetarians do live longer
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23836264), this may be inuenced by reasons unrelated to
food. For instance, people who stick to a vegetarian diet are more likely to also stick to an exercise
regimen, practice relaxation exercises (meditation, yoga ), and neither drink in excess nor smoke.

In fact, compared to people eating a varied omnivorous diet, vegans (and, to a lesser extent,
vegetarians) are more likely to get less than the optimal amount of some nutrients
(https://examine.com/nutrition/what-benecial-compounds-are-primarily-found-in-animal-
products/), such as carnitine (http://examine.com/supplements/L-Carnitine) or vitamin B12
(https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+B12). However, those nutrients can easily be
supplemented (https://examine.com/store/stack-guides/#pricing) nowadays, there are even plant-
based options for EPA, DHA, and vitamin D3 (https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D).

But animal products arent the only unclean foods for clean-diet proselytizers. You cant simply eat
your veggies you need make sure theyre organic. This is presented as self-evident, on the
principle that natural is good whereas synthetic is bad; yet research has hitherto failed to link
organic foods, vegetal or animal, to better health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22944875).
It doesnt mean a link cannot exist, but the organic-versus-not debate is complex and can change
both with the foods under scrutiny and with the individuals eating them.

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One misconception is that no synthetic substance can be used to grow organic crops, whereas the
National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-
regulations/organic/national-list) makes some exceptions. Another misconception is that no pesticide
can be used to grow organic crops, whereas natural pesticides exist, are used to grow organic crops,
and are not always better for the consumer or the environment
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20582315).

Pesticide residues in food are a valid concern, though it should be noted that the Pesticide Data
Program (https://www.ams.usda.gov/datasets/pdp) (PDP) of the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) has consistently found that the vast majority of the food on the market contained
residues below the tolerable limits (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-tolerances) set by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, rinsing, peeling when possible, and cooking can
all reduce the amount of pesticide left on your food.

Is our food clean enough yet? Not quite. Some clean eating gurus recommend that you only eat
your food raw, so as not to denature (see a trend, here?) its nutrients. As an absolute, this rule is
bunk. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria (https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-
questions-and-answers.html). Raw eggs contain avidin (https://examine.com/nutrition/are-eggs-
healthy/), a protein that can bind certain B-vitamins, such as biotin. Cooking can reduce the nitrate
content of vegetables (bad) but also their oxalate content (good). You cant generalize.

Its easy to see how one can push the clean eating obsession too far, even all the way into
orthorexia (http://www.orthorexia.com/). It doesnt mean that all foods are equal, and you certainly
should favor whole foods over processed foods most of which are nutrient-poor, calorie-dense,
and easy to overeat but you shouldnt fear that eating anything but raw organic veggies is going to
drastically shorten your lifespan.

The Truth: Clean eating is the new fad, but gurus dont even agree on which foods
are clean and which are not. Stick to the basics. Favor whole foods (but dont feel like
any amount of processed foods will kill you), eat organic if you want and can aord it,
peal or wash your vegetables and fruits (especially those with higher levels of
pesticide residue, such as strawberries), and avoid stressing too much about what you
eat, since stress can shorten your lifespan
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805089/).

Myth 13: You should detox regularly

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Detox diets (https://examine.com/nutrition/detoxes-an-undened-scam/) are the ultimate


manifestation of the clean eating obsession. Such diets commonly limit foods to plant-based juices,
sometimes seasoned with a supplement. After a few days of that regimen, youre supposed to be
cleansed of

Of what? Good question. A 2009 investigation


(http://archive.senseaboutscience.org/data/les/resources/48/Detox-Dossier-Embargoed-until-0001-
5th-jan-2009.pdf) of ten companies found they couldnt name the toxins targeted by any of their
fteen products let alone prove those products ecacy. Strictly speaking, toxins
(https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002331.htm) are plant- or animal-based substances poisonous
to humans; but for many detox gurus, toxins also include heavy metals and everything synthetic:
not just toxicants (https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=687391)
(man-made poisons, such as pollutants or pesticides (https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-tolerances)), but
also preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-hfcs-high-fructose-
corn-syrup-worse-than-sugar/), etc.

Alas, even when a substance really is noxious, a detox diet wont help. Acute toxicity would likely
constitute a medical emergency, whereas chronic toxicity is best addressed by a well-fed body not
one weakened by a severely hypocaloric diet. The liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs toil around
the clock to remove harmful substances and excrete the waste products of metabolism; dont hinder
their work!

But if detox diets are more likely to harm than help, what explains their current popularity? One
answer is: quick weight loss. Deprive your body from carbohydrate and you can exhaust its glycogen
stores in as little as 24 hours. The resulting loss of several pounds
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1615908) can convince you the diet had a positive eect.
When the diet ends and you resume your regular eating habits, however, the glycogen and
associated water come rushing back in, and with them the pounds you had shed.

The Truth: Focus on sustainable health habits, such as eating nutritious food on a
daily basis. Ample protein, leafy greens, and foods chock-full of vitamins and minerals
are not just tastier than anything a detox diet has to oer, theyre also way better for
you (and your liver detoxication pathways, ironically).

More: Detoxes: an undened scam (https://examine.com/nutrition/detoxes-an-undened-scam/)

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Myth 14: To lose fat, eat more often

Its easy to trace this myth back to its origin. Digestion does raise your metabolism a little, so eating
less food more often (https://examine.com/nutrition/do-i-need-to-eat-six-times-a-day-to-keep-my-
metabolism-high/) should keep your metabolism elevated. In theory. In practice, evidence shows
that, given an equal amount of daily calories, the number of meals largely makes no dierence
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17413096) in fat loss. Moreover, some studies suggest that
having smaller meals more often makes it harder to feel full, potentially leading to increased food
intake (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23404961).

The Truth: Digestion does slightly increase your metabolic rate, but meal frequency
has less eect than the total caloric content of the food consumed.

More: Do I need to eat six times a day to keep my metabolism high?


(https://examine.com/nutrition/do-i-need-to-eat-six-times-a-day-to-keep-my-metabolism-high/)

Myth 15: To lose fat, dont eat before


bed

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Some studies show a fat-loss advantage in early eaters, others in late eaters. Overall, early eaters
seem to have a slight advantage nothing impressive.

Trials, however, imperfectly reect real life. In real life, there are two main reasons why eating at
night might hinder fat loss (https://examine.com/nutrition/does-eating-at-night-make-it-more-likely-
to-gain-weight/), and both are linked to an increase in our daily caloric intake. The rst reason is the
simplest: If, instead of going directly to bed, we rst indulge in a snack, then the calories from that
snack are calories we might have done without. The second reason is that, when we get tired, we
tend to eat to keep going with a predilection for snack foods or sugary treats. So if we stay awake
at night, especially to work or study but even just to watch TV, were more likely to eat, not out of
hunger, but to help ght sleepiness.

The Truth: Eating late wont make you fat, unless it drives you to eat more.

More: Does eating at night make it more likely to gain weight? (https://examine.com/nutrition/does-
eating-at-night-make-it-more-likely-to-gain-weight/)

Myth 16: To lose fat, do your cardio on


an empty stomach

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Lets get one thing out of the way. If you exercise near maximal capacity (sprints, HIIT, heavy lifting ),
eat rst, or youre more likely to underperform. Most people who choose to work out in a fasted
state (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-it-better-to-do-aerobic-exercise-fasted/), however, opt for
some form of cardio (aerobic exercise), such as jogging.

During cardio, performance and energy expenditure while fasted are about the same as in a fed
state. In a fasted state, youll burn more body fat, but that wont make it easier for you to use body
fat as fuel during the rest of the day (when youre fed). Youll also burn a tiny bit more muscle, but
youll grow it back faster afterward, too, so that it seems to balance out (as long as you get enough
protein (https://examine.com/nutrition/second-look-at-protein-quantity-after-exercise)). Finally,
cardio suppresses appetite less on a fasted state than on a fed state, but that doesnt translate into a
signicant dierence in daily caloric intake.

The Truth: Theres very little dierence between cardio on a fed or fasted state with
regard to fat loss, muscle preservation, daily caloric intake, or metabolic rate. What
really matters, then, is you. Some people feel lighter and energized when they do
cardio on an empty stomach, while others feel light-headed and sluggish.

More: Is it better to do aerobic exercise fasted? (https://examine.com/nutrition/is-it-better-to-do-


aerobic-exercise-fasted/)

Myth 17: You need protein right after


your workout

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When you exercise, you damage your muscles, which then need to be repaired (and possibly made
more resilient, thus bigger). The raw material for this repair is the protein you ingest, yet the
existence of a post-workout anabolic window (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24299050) for
this ingestion remains a contentious topic (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23360586) in the
literature.

You need protein right after your workout may not be a myth so much as an exaggeration.
Consuming 2040 g (https://examine.com/nutrition/second-look-at-protein-quantity-after-exercise) of
protein within the two hours following your workout may be ideal, but it isnt necessary. What
matters most is your daily protein intake. To maximize muscle repairs, aim for 1.52.2 g of protein
per kilogram of bodyweight per day (0.681.00 g/lb/day).

The Truth: You dont need protein immediately after your workout, but you might
benet from 2040 g within the next couple of hours (and before bed). What matters
most, however, is how much protein you get over the course of the day.

More: A second look at protein quantity after exercise (https://examine.com/nutrition/second-look-


at-protein-quantity-after-exercise/)

Pervasive Misinformation
Youve likely heard all 17 of these myths repeated at one time or another somewhere in the media.
Misinformation is pervasive, which makes identifying it very dicult.

And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can just look at the way the media handles the latest
studies for instance the recent low-carb vs. low-fat study
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27903520). You need a team of experts to really look into the
evidence and gure out what has practical relevance.

Evidence-Based Information
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Its based on what our experts have found over years of research. Evidence-based, no bull.

Published By Kamal Patel on 2017-01-12 10:25:30

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