Hey Angels and Alphas,
From all the topics in fitness, diet and nutrition have to be the most misunderstood ones.
Athletes, dieters, and gym-goers know how important healthy eating is, that’s exactly why there’s so much information about it floating around in the community. Everybody is trying to tell people what to do, what to eat, when to eat, etc.
Moreover, with so many people and companies sharing their views and ideas, the diet and nutrition world has become flooded with biased information.
Naturally, this means a ton of misconceptions, myths, and misinformation reaching the people that actually need the right guidance.
Today, that’s precisely what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to address the 5 biggest diet and nutrition myths in the fitness community, so you can get the right perspective on your dieting efforts and make the most out of them.
Let’s jump right in.
Myth #1 – Fat is bad for you.
This is probably the biggest misconception in the dieting world.
It’s really common for women to fall into this myth and make horrible diet choices based on it.
Fat has suffered an onslaught of bad media, and “low-fat” crazes are the next big thing in fitness because they claim everything with fat in it automatically puts fat on you. Thankfully, that’s not true.
Let me explain a little bit more about the different types of fat out there.
Saturated fat is a healthy energy source for the body. It keeps you feeling full for long periods of time. Your body naturally stores excess carbohydrates as saturated fats. Research has proven that diets high in saturated fat usually equate to lower total caloric intake. Research also shows that places in the world where saturated fat consumption increases, obesity declines.
Monounsaturated fat is well-known within the avocado lovers community (it’s a real thing). It’s mostly found in high-fat fruits and nuts (like almonds, cashews, etc.) Monounsaturated fats help your body manage cholesterol, and some research links them to fat loss.
Polyunsaturated fats are also labeled as good fats. They’re found in fish products like fish oil and salmon, and they’re also found in plants like quinoa. They contain essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6. They are absolutely vital to the proper functioning of our physiology and cannot be produced by our own bodies. They improve heart health, fight inflammation, promote bone health, and they even support your mental health.
Trans fat is where things get nasty. These are the fats found in deep-fried foods, French fries, pizza, margarine, and other highly processed foods. You should be wary of these. Coincidentally, there are the fats that are found most often in nowadays’ fast foods. They will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on your body, diet, and health.
Now that you know the different types of fats, it will be easy for you to realize that it’s *not* your enemy. Trans fats are definitely the nemesis of your fitness and diet journey, but other than that, other types of fats are wholly beneficial to your health. They help vital bodily processes, they help you maintain good health, they help you manage your weight, and so much more.
You *need* fat to be healthy. This brings us to our next point…
Myth #2 – Eating low-fat will help you lose fat.
This could not be further from the truth.
Fats are essential to the functioning of our physiology.
In an earlier post, I gave the example of research done off the coast of New Zealand. The native residents of the Tokelau area consume a diet consisting of over 50% saturated fat. Yet, they top the world rankings in cardiovascular health.
Many health organizations pointed the finger at fats because of alleged relations to cancer and heart disease. This, however, was entirely disproved.
As stated above, in countries where fat consumption rises, obesity drops. There could be many reasons for this, like the fact that fat keeps you satiated for longer, but the statistics support the fact that higher fat consumption equals in lower total caloric intake.
In a study involving around 50,000 women in the span of 8 years, half the participants went on a low-fat diet while the others didn’t. The study concluded that women on the low-fat diet didn’t really lose any weight. Moreover, they didn’t decrease their risk of heart disease.
Please remember – fat will not make you fat. Excess calories will. Don’t stay away from fat because of biased information, it’s healthy for you! (Not trans fats, though.)
Myth #3 – You should never ‘cheat’ on your diet.
Okay, no. What kind of message are you sending to yourself if you say this? That you should comfort to some standard while completely disregarding the things you enjoy?
We’ve talked about this a lot – the concept of sustainability. You will simply not have the willpower to stay loyal to a diet you don’t enjoy.
It’s perfectly okay if you decide to go off your strict eating plan every once in a while. If you can make the switch from a diet high in trans fats and processed carbohydrates to a diet that focuses on vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, you’re well on your way to healthy eating.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be strict and disciplined all the time. You know I’m a supporter of the 80/20 principle. If you do the right thing 80 percent of the time, you can allow yourself some indulgence in your favorite sweet and tasty foods.
What’s important is that you don’t let your cheat days turn into cheat weeks and cheat months. You do need discipline if you are following a healthy diet, but discipline doesn’t mean torturing yourself. It means doing what is optimal for you and your lifestyle. If this means eating sweets one day of the week, this is completely okay, and it’s *way* healthier in terms of your overall health.
Myth #4 – Good Nutrition is Expensive
The idea that healthy food costs more than junk food is a common one. I’ve had trainees tell me that they want to eat healthier, but can’t afford to.
In reality, cooking food yourself is the most affordable way to get your amount of healthy nutrients in. People believe junk food is cheaper because huge fast food chains charge a *lot* for salads and healthier fast food alternatives.
Some studies that compare the price per calorie of food suggest that unhealthy food is cheaper, but they’re not telling you the whole story.
It’s precisely these cost per calorie studies that are negatively influencing public perception. Using this measurement, the lower-fat dessert will *always* appear more expensive because it contains fewer calories. But studies that compare the price per unit weight of food suggest that healthy food is cheaper.
While good food *can* be more expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Delicious home-cooked meals can go for less than a few dollars, and a meal prep regimen will allow you to eat healthy, tasty, and affordable food throughout the entire week.
Overall, there is little-to-no support for the argument that healthy food is more expensive. Quite the contrary.
Here are a few super affordable and healthy food choices: broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, butternut squash, brown rice, beans, quinoa, edamame, bananas, oranges, canned fish, cottage cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
Myth #5 – The best way to start a diet is with a cleanse/detox.
While detoxes *can* be useful, they’re not really necessary for anyone.
Your body has a super-efficient system for filtering out harmful substances. Unless you’ve been poisoned or something. This system is made up of the liver and the kidneys. Our kidneys filter out any waste from our diet, and our livers can process and detoxify the chemicals we digest. Paired together, these two organs do wonders for cleansing your body.
Detox diets are often deficient in protein. While five glasses of juice a day will help you lose some weight, it will not help you maintain less muscle and will end up only hurting you in the long run.
The entire detox mindset is kind of silly. You sentence yourself to ten days of torture, and once they’re over, you can pretty much get back to eating whatever you want. Don’t fall for this, as it is not beneficial to your body. Nor is it useful to your mindset on proper nutrition.
We’ve reviewed the most common healthy eating myths out there. Just by taking in the right information and debunking these myths, you’ve already done more for your diet than most people.
- Fats are essential to you. Avoid trans fats and enjoy all other types of fat.
- Allow yourself cheat days if you’re on a strict diet. If you’re not on a strict diet, follow the 80/20 principle.
- Good food is more affordable than junk food if cooked at home.
- Detoxes are largely unnecessary.
That being said, I hope you take all of this advice to heart and make the necessary implementations in your diet, so you *can* achieve your fitness goals faster.
Trust me, your body will thank you for it.