5 Lies & Common misconceptions spread by mainstream nutrition
Many mainstream sources of information about nutrition are guilty of spreading dietary myths and misconceptions that lead to poor health outcomes. Is it any wonder people are confused? Here, I review five common, widespread lies and misconceptions that have been refuted by science.
LIE #1 – SATURATED FAT CAUSES HEART DISEASE
As recently as 2002, the “expert” Food & Nutrition Board issued the following misguided statement, which epitomizes this myth: “Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial role in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the diet.”Hydrogenated fats & oils and ‘trans fats’ cause coronary heart disease (CHD) whereas naturally occurring saturated fats do not.
Furthermore, naturally occurring saturated fats provide:
- The building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones & hormone-like substances
- Trans fats are the dangerous fats and are known to increase your LDL levels (commonly called “bad” cholesterol) while lowering your levels of HDL (also known “good” cholesterol)
Sources of trans fats include all processed fats (margarines both animal and vegetable), fried foods, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats & oils. A much better choice for frying is pure butter, ghee or good quality, cold pressed extra virgin, coconut oil as these fats do not turn into trans fats when heated.
LIE #2 – ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS ARE SAFE SUGAR-REPLACEMENTS FOR DIABETICS & HELP PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS
Nearly all the studies that have carefully analyzed their effectiveness show that those who use artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners. Studies have also revealed that artificial sweeteners can be worse than sugar for diabetics and that a sweet taste alone that is calorie free appears to increase hunger. Artificial sweeteners appear to simply perpetuate a craving for sweets and overall sugar consumption may therefore not reduced. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count calories,” as evidenced in a study in 2004 from Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids.
LIE #3 – SOY IS A HEALTH FOOD
Thousands of studies have actually linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility, cancer and heart disease. Regarding thyroid function, soybeans contain goitrogens and this is a concern because goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. Spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cassava, rapeseed, turnips, mustard, radish, peanuts and millet also contain goitrogens. It is therefore recommended to cook or choose the fermented versions of these foods whereby the goitrogens will be neutralized.
Regarding reproductive disorders & infertility: Soy contains chemicals that mimic estrogen and lower testosterone levels. These plant strogens (phytoestrogens) can’t be wholly removed from any variety of soy food. There is much reason to be concerned about the widespread promotion of soy formulas for infants. Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel has a chapter entitled. “Soy Infant Formula-Birth Control for Baby?” in her book “The Whole Soy Story.”
Healthy Soy Choices include: Fermented soy products, tempeh (bean cake), miso (soup), natto (sticky beans)
LIE #4 – EGGS ARE A SOURCE OF UNHEALTHY CHOLESTEROL
Unfortunately, eggs are demonised due to the misguided idea implied by the lipid hypothesis that eating egg yolk increases the cholesterol levels in your body. Organic, Free Range Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and they do not have a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels. Numerous nutritional studies have dispelled the myth that you should avoid eating eggs. A study @Yale Prevention Research Centre published 2010, showed that egg consumption did not have a negative effect on endothelial function – a measure of cardiac risk – and did not cause a spike on cholesterol levels. The participants of the Yale study ate two eggs per day for a period of six weeks.
In addition, egg contains 9 essential amino acids (protein building blocks) and most of our main nutrients except for vitamin C. When choosing eggs go for free-range organic eggs, avoid Omega-3 eggs as these do not optimize your Omega-3 levels because these hens are usually fed poor-quality sources of Omega-3 fats that are already oxidized.
LIE #5 – MILK IS GOOD FOR YOU
Depending on which country it originates from, conventional, pasteurised cow’s milk that is not certified organic contains growth hormones and antibiotics. Pasteurising changes the physical structure of milk in a way that can cause allergies and immune problems. The lactase which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose (milk sugar) is destroyed during the pasteurisation process which makes it harder to digest for many and this creates excess mucous & inflammation. About 20% of the general population don’t produce lactase and this percentage is much higher in ethnically Chinese people. Furthermore, consider this, a cow’s milk is designed to grow a 90lb calf at birth to a 1,000lb adult 2 years later. In comparison, a human infant is born 6-8lbs and reaches physical maturity at 100-200lbs 21 years later! Whilst good quality cow milk has a role in a balanced diet for those that tolerate it well, it can be over consumed. Consider plant-based alternatives instead, such as coconut, almond and rice milk, yet check the labels for additives such as sugar and carrageenan.