Food Myths and False Nutrition Claims
Food Myths And Popular Health Claims
We live in an age where information is more accessible than ever. All you need to do is grab your phone out of your pocket, click a few buttons and hey presto, you have the answer to your questions…yay! Unfortunately, though, since the dawn of social media, a lot of misinformation has made its way onto the world wide web as unqualified people can post their thoughts and views without the need for verification. This has left a lot of people feeling confused about what they should be eating, what they shouldn’t be eating and how to maintain a healthy and balanced diet due to all the conflicting information. But don’t stress! We at Performance Ground are here to shed some light on these confusing times to help provide some clarity on what is actually fact and what is fiction in regards to nutrition. Here are the top 5 food myths that we hear the most from our clients and would like to debunk.
THE VIDEO: Food Myths and False Nutrition Claims – Popular Health Claims On Food
Food Myth 1- If I eat fat, I’ll get fat
Fat is an incredibly important nutrient and performs a number of important roles in the body. Some of these functions include: the production of steroid hormones such as testosterone, formation of the myelin sheath coating on your nerves to enable efficient transmission of electrical signals from the brain and insulation to keep us warm which, is particularly important at this time of year as the weather begins to get a lot colder. Subsequently, the answer to this myth relies entirely on the context. If you eat excessively high levels of fat, more than what is required to fulfill the above functions and are sedentary, then yes, you will likely begin to store the surplus fat and gain weight. Conversely, if you eat fat as part of a well balanced diet and you are active, then you will not gain weight as you are eating enough to fulfill the necessary functions so little will be stored.
Food Myth 2 – Eating more protein will mean I gain more lean muscle
Protein’s primary function is growth and repair. However, the act of just eating more protein does not result in the spontaneous growth of lean muscle tissue, there must be a stimulus for kick-start the process. If you are an active individual who regularly engages in resistance training, that stimulus of loading and force generation by the skeletal muscle causes localised damage. This then triggers the cascade of events associated with muscle repair. This draws amino acids, the building blocks of protein, from the plasma to assist in the rebuilding of the damaged muscle, expanding the structure bigger than it’s original size. Eating more protein would be beneficial for this person to service this increase in lean muscle to ensure the amino acid pool remains topped up for future damage through training. Interestingly though, if a person is completely sedentary and they eat lots of protein, they will increase their metabolic rate, as protein has the highest thermic effect of all the nutrients.
Food Myth 3 – Sugar is bad for you
Sugar in its simplest form, glucose, is the body’s preferred choice of fuel for producing energy in the body. Consequently, sugar cannot possibly be bad for you. This statement, like the myth about fat, is completely context specific. If you take an inactive person who eats a high carbohydrate (sugar) diet, then they will very quickly have a level of glucose in their system that is surplus to requirements. What do you do with something that you cannot find a use for at the time? You store it! High levels of stored glucose with continued high intake of sugar, is strongly correlated with long term illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes. At this point, and only then, could you say that sugar is bad for you. If however you are active and eat a well balanced diet then, sugar is not bad for you as it is essential!
Food Myth 4- Red meat causes cancer
Red meat is synonymous with certain methods of cooking, including barbequing and flame grilling. These cooking methods produce a lot of smoke, which transfers into the meat as it cooks, and smoke contains tiny chemicals called carcinogens. These are strongly correlated to cancer mutations, hence the existing link between cancer and smoking. As such when you consume that meat, although cooked and often looks absolutely scrumptious, you are consuming those harmful carcinogens, which will increase the likelihood of developing cancer. However, if you use alternative cooking methods such as oven baking and oven grilling, then red meat will not cause you to get cancer.
Food Myth 5- Fresh fruit and vegetables are better than frozen
When fruit and vegetables are picked, their nutritional content, such as their vitamin and mineral quantity begins to deteriorate. The longer the produce takes to get from farm to table and the more stages it goes through to get to your dinner plate, including cooking, the more that is lost. As such, by the time you actually get around to eating a carrot for example, it may have lost up to fifty percent of its vitamins and minerals. In contrast, if fruit and vegetable produce is frozen very soon after being picked, it does not have the opportunity to ripen as much so it retains more of its quality vitamins and minerals at the time of freezing. Furthermore due to the lack of ripening when frozen, this prevents fruit and vegetables becoming over-ripe by the time you eat them. Over-ripeness refers to the point at which the food becomes spoiled as the sugar content becomes higher than the content of any other nutrients within that food item. As a result, frozen fruit and vegetables may be both a more cost effective and nutritious alternative to fresh produce.
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! The world wide web is a wonderful thing but due to the unrestricted access that so many of us have these days it is becoming more and more saturated with misinformation. In the future, whenever you are researching anything nutrition related, always verify who the author of the information is and always check the references to ensure you are receiving the best and most accurate information.