Let’s talk nutrition myths! In the day and age where you can find information on nearly any topic in a matter of seconds it’s important to figure out if what you’re reading is FACT or FAD. We are going to look at three common nutrition myths that you have probably heard….and may even believe!
#1 – Eating at Night Causes Weight Gain
- It’s a common belief that eating food at night somehow affects your body differently than eating food throughout the day. The fact of the matter is a calorie is a calorie, whether at 8AM or 8PM. We often try to overcomplicate our efforts of weight loss when it simply comes down to the number of calories eaten versus the number of calories burned. Regardless of when you eat, what’s really important is the types of foods you are choosing and how much you are consuming. Your weight gain may be because you ate 3x the serving of those delicious chips, not the fact that they were eaten at 10pm.
#2 – Fruit has too much sugar
- In my opinion, the belief that fruit contains too much sugar stemmed from a misunderstanding of the different types of sugars and how they affect the body. When you think of sugar you most likely think of added sugars, which are the sugars found in a piece of cake or a soda. Added sugars are added to foods or beverages during processing and do not provide any nutrients (other than calories). Contrary to this, the natural sugar found in fruit is accompanied by a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Fruits tend to be high in the vitamins and minerals that are lacking in our diet (such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate). Another way natural sugar differs from added sugars is in the way it affects our glycemic index, which is the rate at which a specific food raises our blood sugar. While added sugars are known for causing a spike in blood glucose, the fiber found in fruit slows the release of sugar into the blood stream and therefore prevents any sudden spikes in blood sugar. Fruit is sweet and delicious and provides our bodies with so many beneficial nutrients!
#3 – Always avoid carbohydrates
- How did carbohydrates gain such a negative reputation in the nutrition industry? I don’t know about you, but I LOVE carbs and I especially love all they do for my body. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used as the main source of energy for our body’s cells, tissues, and organs. Glucose is actually the preferred fuel for the brain and nervous tissue. Because they provide so much energy to our body, they are perfect for keeping us fueled and energized throughout workouts and physical activity. There are two types of carbohydrates found in foods: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) are typically added to candy, desserts, soda, and processed foods. There are also simple carbohydrates found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and milk. It is smart to limit the amount of simple carbs we consume from highly processed foods. The two complex carbohydrates are fiber and starch, both of which provide more nutrients than simple carbs. Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to digest and therefore keep us feeling full for longer. Because these carbohydrates take longer to digest, they do not cause a spike in our blood glucose. Carbohydrates can definitely fit into a healthy diet, but it is important to choose your carbs wisely. Emphasize complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fiber-rich fruits and veggies, and naturally occurring simple carbohydrates such as low-fat dairy products.
Let me know in the comments if this helped you bust any myths you may have had…
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Stay tuned for next months blog post where we will bust three common exercise myths!