Living Fit: Nutrition myths proven wrong by science


Holding the belief that skipping breakfast is bad, many Americans go out of their way to eat breakfast in the morning in hopes that it will boost their metabolism or expedite weight loss. However, skipping breakfast can have many health benefits, and it is one of the many nutrition myths that have been proven wrong by science.

Sydney Smith, Co Editor-in-Chief

  There are countless conflicting recommendations about diet, exercise, and overall health that cause the popularization of false claims about things you should or should not be eating, Depending on what sources you trust, there are plenty of mainstream nutrition misconceptions that you may have been fooled by.

  The first is the debate between white and whole wheat bread. Beginning when you were younger, you may have been advised to eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread because it is widely believed to be healthier. Whole wheat bread actually contains mostly refined flour which has hardly any nutrients and is full of additives. This enriched flour also may give you a sugar spike and crash. While whole wheat bread has been linked to a decreased risk of type two diabetes and some cancers, it does not have as many health benefits as you may have previously thought.

  According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 25% of Americans skip breakfast, which might be labeled as a problem by those who stand by the stigma around avoiding the most important meal of the day. However, with the rise of intermittent fasting in recent years, skipping breakfast has been proven to have several health benefits, including the improvement of metabolic health, despite the common belief that eating breakfast boosts your metabolism. Senior Ashlyn Smith skips breakfast at least three times a week because “it’s more convenient, and I don’t always have time to eat something before school. It doesn’t ever affect my performance in a negative way.” With that said, it is important to note that choosing not to eat breakfast is not for everyone, and while it has come with many positive effects for many, it has caused others to develop headaches and a lack of concentration before their next meal.

  It is commonly agreed upon that you should avoid fats if you are trying to lose weight, but this is not completely true. There are good fats and bad fats, and some diets that are used for weight loss actually entail eating more fats and fewer carbohydrates. There is no need to avoid fats such as avocados, eggs, nuts, salmon, leafy green vegetables, olive oil, and more. It is still probably not a good idea to excessively indulge in junk food like french fries, donuts, cookies, and other food items that have little to no nutritional value.

  Finally, one of the most widespread misconceptions that cause people to change their diets is that calories are bad for your health. This can be linked back to the American standard way of dieting, which first arose around the 1950s. People believed that calories and fats should be avoided and that things we now know are not that healthy, such as dairy and red meat, should be consumed often. Science has since proven these ideas mostly incorrect, but many people still believe them. It does not help that the food industry often caters to people who still hold these beliefs, advertising low-calorie foods as healthier alternatives. A more reliable approach is that everyone needs calories, and judging whether or not a food is healthy, although “healthy” looks different for everyone, should be based more on the composition of the food, such as how many carbs it contains. All in all, counting calories is not necessary to make changes to your health.

  So, there are many “facts” about nutrition that are accepted by society but are not necessarily true. Now that you know more about how food actually affects your health, you can make changes accordingly and avoid useless strategies.