Close this search box.

10 Nutrition Myths Debunked By Experts –

This article ran in today’s New York Times, “10 Nutrition Myths Experts Wish Would Die.” If you have access to the Times, you can see the full article. For those who don’t I thought I’d do a brief summary.

Myth No. 1: Fresh fruits and vegetables are always healthier than canned, frozen or dried varieties.

Non fresh can be just as nutritious, sometimes better if fresh isn’t so fresh. One caveat: they can contain added sugars, saturated fats and sodium so read the label.

Myth No. 2: All fat is bad.

This myth was published in the 1940s when experts found a correlation between high fat diets and high cholesterol. In the 1980s everyone reported a low fat diet could benefit everyone even though there was no solid evidence. Food manufacturers replaced fat with sugar, remember SnackWell’s? (I do!). Now the experts say while saturated and trans fats (red meat, cheese) can increase your risk for heart disease, monounsaturated fats (nuts, fish, flaxseed, avocados) can decrease it. Don’t assume “fat free” means healthy.

Myth No. 3: ‘Calories in, calories out’ is the most important factor for long-term weight gain.

Yes and no. Follow the above and you will lose weight for the short term, but not the long term. Stay away from refined carbs (cereal, starchy snacks, crackers, baked goods, soda) they digest quickly, raise your blood sugar and turn into fat in the body. Eat healthy overall, quality over quantity.

Myth No. 4: People with Type 2 diabetes shouldn’t eat fruit.

Everyone benefits from the nutrients in fruit — fiber, vitamins, antioxidants. Even people with diabetes. Always choose fruit over fruit juice.

Myth No. 5: Plant milk is healthier than dairy milk.

Not true. Cow’s milk has more protein. (Still, personally, while I do put light cream or half n’ half in my coffee, I drink almond milk for the lesser carbs.)

Myth No. 6: White potatoes are bad for you.

Yes, they can spike your blood sugar, but they are rick in vitamin C, potassium and fiber, especially consumed with the skin.

Myth No. 7: You should never feed peanut products to your children within their first few years of life.

Surprise! Experts say it’s best to introduce kids to peanut products early on – unless your baby has eczema. Also feed baby a diverse diet the first year to prevent food allergies.

Myth No. 8: The protein in plants is incomplete.

All plants contain all the amino acids necessary for building protein. But to a greater or lesser degree. So eat a variety of plant based foods every day. Most Americans get more protein than they realize or need.

Myth No. 9: Eating soy-based foods can increase the risk of breast cancer.

While isoflavones found in soy stimulate breast cancer in animal studies, it’s not been verified in humans. So for now, scientists are not linking the two. Instead, soy products may be protective toward breast cancer.

Myth No. 10: Fundamental nutrition advice keeps changing — a lot.

Dr. Marion Nestle, food guru and professor of nutrition, points out that in the 1950s people were advised to stay away from saturated fat, high sugar and salt products, and that hasn’t changed. Author Michael Pollan says in his book Food Rules (which I loved) “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and Nestle agrees.