What’s the biggest misconception of nutrition?
I’m following a Twitter discussion where the OP asked: What’s the biggest misconception about nutrition that you wish you knew 5-10 years ago? The answers are interesting coming from people who’ve done a lot of research and embarked on diets that differ from the Eatwell plate.
The misconceptions include:
- All calories are equal
- Whole grain and healthy carbs are good for you (coming from a type 2 diabetic)
- One needs fruits and plants to survive (coming from a carnivore)
- The food pyramid isn’t a solid guide to anything except the basic shape of a triangle (coming from someone with a sense of humor)
- Eating the same thing every day will make you miserable
- Red meat is bad
- Eggs are unhealthy
- Animal fats are dangerous
- Eat seed oils and refined carbs
- Eat six times a day
- Eat every three hours to keep your metabolism going
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you start your day by eating cereal
- Low fat is good
- Low carb is bad
- Plant-based is good
- Vegetable oils are heart-friendly
- Bread is healthy
So what conclusions can we draw from this discussion? It’s obvious that a lot of people are turning away from the high-carb diet based on the food pyramid and recommended by so many nutritionists. Whole grain and healthy carbs are not so good for patients with diabetes and perhaps not brilliant for anyone. After all, the high carb load is a probable contributor to type 2 diabetes.
Followers of the popular carnivore diet have figured out that plants are not essential to fill nutritional needs. Instead, they turn to animal foods, going against the idea that plant-based is good and juice is healthy. You can even get vitamin C from meat, providing you don’t overcook it. Animal products are back on the menu.
Another thing we’ve figured out is that eating often to keep your metabolism up is not good advice. If you want to lose weight, you want to switch your body to a fat-burning mode, which you do by fasting. Not eating six times a day. Skipping breakfast is not a bad idea. The notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is a myth sold to us by the cereal industry.
It will take years before we get any reliable data from studies that investigate popular diets, such as carnivore or LCHF, and their potential health benefits. In the meantime, eating a little bit of everything and going light on the carbs seems like the safest bet. At least if you have diabetes.