When I tell people I’m a nutritionist, they often say things like “Oh God. I swear I don’t normally eat like this!” or “My friend told me that [insert false statement here] — is that true?”
Others sometimes rattle off various diet-related tidbits that they’ve heard or believe which have no scientific backing and/or make no sense. I certainly don’t blame people for being confused — nutrition can be complicated and research is always evolving. Plus, there’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. But I have to giggle at times, because some diet myths are so wrong, they’re funny. Here are a few recent gems:
1. Sugar is the #1 enemy of the bowel movement. (Doesn’t get any better than this).
2. Protein is the healthiest thing you can eat because it has no calories. (Truth: Protein is one of the four nutrients that provides us with calories a.k.a energy – the others are carbohydrate, fat, and alcohol. Thus this statement makes no sense).
3. Beets make you fat because of all the sugar. (Truth: Beets are a vegetable, and believe me – vegetables are not what’s making you fat).
4. You should only eat raw almond butter. Regular almond butter isn’t even good for you. (Truth: not sure why it matters whether a nut is raw or toasted when you spread it on your toast).
5. It’s best to sweeten everything with agave, honey, and maple syrup. Sugar is toxic. (Truth: All sweeteners are empty calories and should be eaten in moderation).
6. We should all be on the Paleo Diet. (Truth: There’s a reason cavemen died before age 30. Another truth: some aspects of this diet are good – like it emphasizes whole foods not processed and refined ones – but it’s not practical or healthy to cut out entire food groups like this diet recommends).
…and many more. I will be adding to this list when I remember other goodies!