Nutrition is a mess. There is so much information and so much conflicting advice. and so many nutrition myths. It’s really hard to know what’s true, what’s a myth and what’s just marketing cr@p?
There’s at least 2 good reasons for this:
Reason number 1: the Food Industry sucks.
This is dominated by a handful of super-global conglomerates. Which means big revenue and big marketing bucks. Just 10 companies – Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods – control almost every packaged food and drink that is available. They earn billions in revenue and this allows them to spend billions in promoting their processed, packaged and interfered-with foods, and trying to convince us that they are good for us.
I’m not gonna dwell on this too much, it gets me annoyed!
Reason number 2: The health and nutrition industry is relatively immature.
Once upon a time, we all thought the world was flat. Then Pythagorus (about 500BC) suggested that, actually it must be round. Later Aristotle also agreed and scientifically proved that it must be round. But when Columbus set sail in 1490ish still many were convinced that they would sail off the edge of the (flat) world. Over the next 500 years, and helped by space technology and pictures most (but still not all) of us would agree that the world is round.
What’s this gotta do with nutrition myths. Well, we first started discovering the concept of metabolism and the oxidation of food as a source of body heat in 1770 with Antoine Lavoisier. And this was effectively the starting point of understanding food and how it affects our body. So just 250 years ago effectively… It was William Prout in 1827 that was the first person to divide foods into carbohydrates, fat, and protein and in 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term vitamin.
So you see, the history is really short and immature. We’re still learning, and getting things wrong. We’re kinda still at the “the world is flat stage.” With a handful of people trying to prove that no, it’s actually round.
And so for these 2 reasons nutrition myths tend to prevail…Myths like these:
Nutrition Mуth #1. Eating fat makes you fat
In the 1970s, a twat by the name of Ancel Keys came up with a theory that eating fats makes you fat. And circumstances at the time (i.e. political meddling) led this to become THE prevalent theory. In the subsequent decades many other great scientists proved him wrong. That in fact, the original study was completely flawed or worse, that the data used had been specifically selected to give a particular result.
This is equivalent to the flat earth theory. People still buy low-fat items. People still swap butter for spreads, which contain unhealthy trans fats. People still discard the fats from their bacon or the skin from their chicken. All of these behaviours have been drummed into us as a result of one study. The FDA and UK equivalent have all been complicit in changing our eating habits. Our health has suffered as a consequence an there is only been one winner. The agricultural industry – wheats and sugar producers and everyone else who produces items using wheat and sugar!
It’ll take several decades more before we destroy all the food myths this single study has created.
Nutrition Myth #2. Carbs are the enemy
This is quite a recent one. Probably Dr Atkins was the first to propose a carb-free diet. So where to start…
Are carbs inherently bad? Not at all. Carbs are a fundamental energy source. The body’s preferred source, in fact. The problem with carbs is that they are sooooo easy to overeat. Especially in the sweet, sugary, over processed variety. I mean, you don’t really binge eat on jacket potato do you? Crisps and biscuits on the other hand… Easy. Most of us (me included) could admit to eating more sugary snacks that we should.
So carbs: not the enemy. Too many sugary treats: yes, the enemy. Yes of course, we know that.
Nutrition Myth #3. Dо nоt eat аftеr 7 / 8 / 9 pm
Thе imроrtаnt thing аbоut weight lоѕѕ diet iѕ hоw mаnу саlоriеѕ уоu соnѕumе in a day оr in a сусlе period of 24 hоurѕ, nоt when уоu еаt thеm. In a given day if уоu соnѕumе fеwеr calories during thе dау timе, it is аbѕоlutеlу finе tо еаt late at night.
The problem with eating late at night is that this is generally mindless eating, of the snack variety.
And while we’re at it: your body doesn’t really care whether you eat 2 big meals or 6 little ones. You cannot boost your metabolism by snacking all the time, despite widespread belief of this myth. So snack or don’t snack depending on whether it works for you or not. Not because of some article you read once!
Nutrition Mуth #4. Yоu саn lose wеight with a рill
Or a drink.
No, you can’t. Because it you could, we’d all be slim. In the UK we spend more than £3 billion a year on fitness, weight loss and so on. And if there was one thing that actually worked, consistently, we’d have heard about it and obesity wouldn’t be a problem!
There iѕ no such thing аѕ a quiсk fix when it соmеѕ tо wеight lоѕѕ. It takes consistent effort, consistent good habits, a healthy active lifestyle over several months and years…
But you knew that already, right?