5 Nutrition Myths: Debunked

1. The Myth: Carbs cause weight gain.

The Truth: Eating too many calories of any macronutrient can cause weight gain. This is why portion control is so important! Refined (or processed) carbohydrates such as white breads and rice, pastries, pastas, and sugars are stripped of natural nutrients. These nutrients (i.e., fiber) are found in unrefined carbs and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, fruits, and vegetables. Carbohydrates are the body's main energy source and must be part of a regular diet in order to maintain healthy levels of blood glucose and muscle glycogen.

2. The Myth: Sugar is bad.

The Truth: Naturally occurring sugars (such as those found in fruit) are essential for a well-balanced diet. Fruits contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber, which can reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease. Don't skip out on your fruit just because you're afraid of the added sugar!

3. The Myth: Eating egg yolk raises cholesterol levels.

The Truth: Yes, the yolk contains cholesterol. However the yolk is also where most of the nutrients are found in an egg. Cholesterol gets a bad rap when it is actually a fundamental component of daily life. When we consume cholesterol in the diet, our liver produces less of it. (And vice versa: when we don't consume enough dietary cholesterol, we make more of it.) This is our body's way of balancing out levels of total cholesterol in the blood. It is because of this biological phenomenon that trans fats and sugars found in greasy, fatty foods are a much greater contributor to rising levels of "bad" cholesterol, thereby increasing your risk for heart disease. Whole eggs are a great source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins, which are actually predicted to prevent heart disease.

4. The Myth: Snacking throughout the day is bad for you.

The Truth: Eating a balance of healthy snacks throughout the day can help maintain stable blood sugar levels. We tend to overeat when we go for hours on end without food. This is because blood sugar drops, causing an increase in hunger hormones. In order to avoid this, we need to be eating satisfying sources of whole foods throughout the day such as lean proteins and healthy fats. Snacks only containing carbohydrates (i.e., cereal, chips, etc.) cause spikes and drops in the hormone insulin, ultimately leaving you more hungry within a short amount of time. The bottom line here is to listen to your body; eat when you feel hungry and stop when you feel full.

5. The Myth: Eating fat makes you fat.

The Truth: Not all fats are created equal! Fats are a major source of fuel for the body but must be consumed in healthy amounts; this is determined by the context of your meal. For example, eating a handful of almonds as a snack, baking a filet of salmon for dinner, or spreading avocado on a piece of whole wheat toast for breakfast - are all great ways to prevent heart disease by increasing your intake of healthy fatty acids.

The biggest thing to take away from this is simple: take everything with a grain of salt. Read your research and don't be persuaded by pseudoscience articles or social media to eat, live, and breathe a certain way because it's "good" for you and everything else is "bad." The science of nutrition is not black and white, and no food is just plain "good" or "bad."

Just like foods are not created equal, neither are our bodies. That is why I put such a large emphasis on personalization and individuality in each health plan I create - we are not all the same, so why should we eat and workout the same? Contact me via the tab above, or follow me on Instagram (@fit.bybrit) to learn more.

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