One of the challenges of being interested in the field of nutrition is the constant flow of information we are being exposed to; super foods, weight loss techniques and a BUNCH of new nutritional breakthroughs. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that nutrition is such a growing and undecided field. I am well aware that there are some topics I will learn in school that will be completely false by the time I am older. I have no problem with that, if anything I think it’s awesome.
However, with nutrition being such an ever changing field, it’s easy to see how false information can creep up on us. Over the past year, I’ve noticed that several nutrition related topics I once believed to be true were false in one way or another. Nutrition is not a book of guidelines and rules, which is why a lot of statements regarding weight loss and health should not always be taken so literally.
With that in mind, let’s get into the business of myth busting.
1) Being Gluten free is healthier
As a general rule, gluten is usually a problem for people with celiac disease (condition where the digestive system is incredibly sensitive to gluten and leads to complications) or with a wheat intolerance. It’s funny how gluten has been having such a bad rep lately; it seriously doesn’t deserve it! Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye or barley, and that is pretty much it. Not so scary after all! Some people are incapable of eating it, but for others, it’s super safe and super good (without gluten, bread wouldn’t have the amazing texture it has!).
2) You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday
Hydration is totally subjective and there isn’t one rule that can work for us all. If I drank 8 glasses of water everyday, I would be constantly running to the bathroom, which is not exactly something I can permit myself to do when I am at work or at school. My best advice is to carry around a water bottle and to drink when you feel the need. If you work out or do sports that day, you will simply need more water than on a day where you didn’t do physical activity.
3) Low fat/fat free foods are healthier
This one is debatable. If you compare, for example, a 0% yogurt with a 2% one, you will notice several differences. Yes, the low fat yogurt has no fat, no sugar and barely any calories, which sounds healthy, but the ingredient list is a little scarier because it is SO long. When food companies remove fat and sugar, they have to compensate in order to make a good product and this is where all the weird stuff comes in; artificial sweeteners, additives, starch to thicken etc… To me, I’d rather have a little bit of fat in my yogurt. This way, the ingredient list stays short, the yogurt is more filling and, honestly, it just tastes so much better.
4) Late snacking causes weight gain
This one is also debatable, because I guess it can depend on the snack. The overall message, however, is that your digestive system is completely unaware of what time it is, and whether you eat an apple at 2 pm or 2 am, your body will handle it the same. The same goes for junk food, if you polish off a bag of chips for lunch or you do it while watching a late night movie, your body will digest it the same no matter what. I guess the reason this myth is believable is that late night snacking usually causes an excess of calories for the day, which may lead to weight gain. For more on this subject, click here.
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post, I have many more of these myths and would be happy to share more of them in the future!