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Healthy Eating Myths and Facts You Should Know

Healthy Eating Myths and Facts You Should Know

Before you start a new diet, there are some healthy eating myths and facts that you should know. Are low-carb diets really the best way to lose fat? Is it true that doing keto means you can eat unlimited bacon and cheese? We will give you answers to these questions and many more. Some of the information here may even surprise you.

6 healthy eating myths and facts

#1: Avoid carbs at all costs

Myth

This is one of the biggest myths when it comes to dieting and nutrition. People cannot live without the energy that is provided by carbs. In addition, the brain prefers glucose over all other sources of energy. This is why when you don’t eat enough carbs or have low blood sugar, you get moody, lethargic, and foggy.

However, people oftentimes consume too many carbs and this leads to weight gain and diabetes down the road. Cut down on refined sugar and starchy food. Instead, choose complex carbs and eat more protein. These will help you lose stubborn weight, curb cravings, and improve insulin response.

#2: Intermittent fasting can prevent cancer

Truth

Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet per se, but rather an eating pattern. There are no particular food restrictions for fasting, although it is best to still eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. IF works by not eating or drinking anything with calories for a certain period of time (typically 12 to 24 hours), then reserving a smaller window of time for meals.

IF is popular not only because it helps people lose weight, but because it has many health benefits. During fasting, the body uses up sugars and starts to burn fat. In addition, autophagy starts to happen, which is essentially the body clearing out old and tired cells.

Because of autophagy, fasting reduces the risk of cancer growth, inflammation, visible aging, and improves blood sugar control. However, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor to determine if this is right for you.

#3: Bacon, burgers, and cheese are okay for keto

Myth

The keto diet is one of the most popular fad diets today. While cutting carbs is one factor, keto is unique because it requires dieters to eat very high amounts of protein and fat. This may sound like a free pass to eat a bacon cheeseburger whenever you want. Unfortunately, this is a huge misconception.

A clean keto diet is the best way to go. Stick to higher quality sources of meat and protein, over processed meat. In addition, choose “good” fat that is unsaturated and contain less cholesterol.

Why Choose the Keto Diet?

#4: Eating slowly can help you lose weight

Truth

By taking time to savor your food and chew slowly, you get several benefits. Firstly, meals become more enjoyable. You will feel more satisfied with your food, reducing cravings and hunger later on. Secondly, chewing your food more thoroughly makes digestion much easier. Lastly, studies have shown that people who eat more slowly end up eating less. This translates to less calories and more weight-loss over time.

#5: Spicy food burns more fat

Myth (and truth)

This myth is tricky because there is some truth to it. Capsaicin and piperine are compounds found in chili peppers and black pepper, respectively. These substances are what give these spices their kick. Studies have shown that the spices can help people burn more calories by encouraging thermogenesis. This is why we feel hot and sweaty after eating something spicy.

However, some people make the mistake of drinking soft drinks or eating more food to quell the burning sensation in their mouth. In addition, too much spicy food can cause gastrointestinal distress that you may regret a few hours later. Therefore, adding some spice to your food can help stimulate your metabolism but you won’t just melt away fat on its own.

#6 – Artificial sugar can cause cancer

Myth

Artificial sugar or sugar-free sweeteners have been controversial from the get-go. For many, it seems too good to be true and the word “artificial” is scary. There was even a time when saccharin, one of the earliest artificial sweeteners, was banned because it was linked to bladder cancer in lab rats in one study.

However, the Nation Cancer Institute and other health authorities have deemed saccharin and other sugar-free sweeteners to be safe. Just like any food, these sweeteners should be used in moderation. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame, and sucralose are some of the most commonly available. These are ideal for people with diabetes or are on low-sugar and carb diets.

Key takeaway

In summary, there are many healthy eating myths and facts out there. If you are currently doing some of these myths, now is the time to stop. It is best to do your research or better yet, talk to a doctor or registered dietician regarding what is right for you.

 

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Sources

The truth about carbs https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/why-we-need-to-eat-carbs/ Accessed January 27, 2021

Cancer and fasting/calorie restriction https://osher.ucsf.edu/patient-care/integrative-medicine-resources/cancer-and-nutrition/faq/cancer-and-fasting-calorie-restriction Accessed January 27, 2021

Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/ Accessed January 27, 2021

Three reasons why you should eat spicy foods https://www.journals.elsevier.com/food-research-international/news/three-reasons-why-you-should-eat-spicy-foods Accessed January 27, 2021

Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and observational studies https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.k4718 Accessed January 27, 2021

Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936 Accessed January 27, 2021

Slow Down: Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Reducing Eating Rate https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357517/ Accessed January 27, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Jan 28
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