There are lots of nutrition myths out there. Just when you think your diet is on track and you are living a healthy lifestyle a new study or fad diet surfaces upending everything you thought. The news, internet and even friends and coworkers are constantly buzzing about what diets, foods and trends are the healthiest. Whether you are trying to lose weight, stay hydrated, reduce stress, sleep better or just improve your overall health we need to separate fact from fiction.
Here are some common nutrition myths that we need to address…
- If I eat late at night, will all the food I eat be stored as fat?
The short answer here is NO. But, we do need to understand a few things here- If you set a daily calorie goal for yourself and you stay in that range (even if you eat a late meal at night), you will not hinder your progress and not gain weight. If eating late is the result of you skipping meals throughout the day and leaving yourself starving late at night you may be more likely to overeat. Also, while eating late at night may not directly lead to you gaining weight it may disrupt your sleep. As the day gets later, our bodies naturally start to wind down. When we eat late at night, or just before we sleep our digestive system revs up which increases our body temperature and may disrupt sleep. But remember, if we set a calorie goal for ourselves each day and consistently stay in that range, it does not matter when we eat (even late at night) and late night eating will not be the cause of your weight gain.
- All carbohydrates are bad and I need to avoid them so I don’t gain weight.
This is simply not true. Carbohydrates an essential part of our diet that make us function at the top of our game each day. Specifically, carbohydrates are the fuel source for our muscles and provide glucose to the brain for optimal function. Of course we need to be mindful of the carbohydrates we consume. Complex carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains that can all be found in a healthy and clean diet. Simple carbohydrates like refined sugar found in processed foods and baked goods can be a sneaky way to add calories with very little nutritional value.
- Does craving certain foods mean I have a deficiency?
Not so much. The most common deficiencies are calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber. Do you ever find yourself craving milk, salmon, broccoli or shredded wheat? I didn’t think so. If we are eating a clean balanced diet, you are very unlikely to have serious deficiencies. Craving foods like pizza and ice cream are likely an emotional or physical craving. Don’t be so hard on yourself, enjoying these foods once in a while may actually help you stay on track. If we allow ourselves to enjoy these foods in moderation, you will not feel so deprived of them and a lot less likely to overeat these foods when your cravings set in!
- Do I need to drink 8 glasses of water each day?
The rule of thumb for water consumption in a day is half of your body weight in ounces. This may seem impossible for many, but note that this is just a guideline. Remember that fruits and vegetables are mostly water. If you are having a hard time reaching half of your body in ounces of water each day, make sure to add some fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Do detox juices and cleanses work?
Detox juices and cleanses definitely provide the body with plenty of vitamins and minerals that are great for the body. However, our liver detoxifies our body each day. A clean diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will keep inflammation down and allow our body to go through its own detoxification process each day (with plenty of water of course).