Myths and misinformation about food are like the 3-headed Hydra of the diet world — you knock one down and two more pop up! But we’re certainly still going to try and bring you the best information possible so you can make informed decisions about your own health.
With that in mind, here are some common myths we’ve routinely seen pop up over the years.
Dietary supplements are safe
Dietary supplements can be safe, but not all of them are. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is primarily responsible for regulating supplements, but the regulations are such that some less-than-reputable products can find their way into the hands of unsuspecting consumers.
The best way to ensure you’re getting a high-quality supplement is to purchase those that have been tested by third-party companies. We have a whole article dedicated to helping you find high-quality supplements that you can read here.
Skipping breakfast is the best way to lose weight
Breakfast skipping and various forms of intermittent fasting can be an effective method for losing weight, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best method for you. A study of 49 women who did not normally eat breakfast found that, when made to eat a breakfast meal, they consumed an extra 266 calories a day and gained nearly 2 pounds over the 4-week study!
So what does this tell us? When it comes to fasting or skipping breakfast, it’s probably best to listen to your body’s natural desires. Do you feel better when skipping breakfast? That’s great! Feel sluggish and off when you don’t consume a morning meal? It’s probably best to listen to your body.
You should eat protein immediately after a workout
This idea has been floating around for some years now. Commonly referred to as the “anabolic window”, this concept gave rise to the idea that you must consume some protein within 30 minutes of completing your workout or your workout will be wasted.
The reality is a little more forgiving. While you should consume some protein around your workout time, the window to do this is a bit wider. As a rule of thumb, try to consume at least ~25 grams of protein 2 hours before or after your workout to help maximize recovery and muscle building.
Fresh foods are better than frozen
While it is true that there are some nutrient differences between fresh and frozen produce, when looked at overall the nutritional content is very similar between them. The more important factor is that you are consuming enough fruits and vegetables to maintain your health — either fresh or frozen.
As a bonus, frozen foods can help to cut down on food waste and prevent the growth of some pathogens and bacteria that can present food safety issues. Microbes like E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella cannot grow in the temperatures of a typical freezer (-18°C, 0°F).
If a food is labeled “natural”, it’s better
If it’s natural, it must be better … right? This answer comes down to a technical distinction of how the term “natural” is regulated when it appears on food labels.
For meats, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that for this label to be used, cuts of meat must be minimally processed and free of artificial ingredients.
For all other foods, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not maintain a formal definition of the word. Here is what they have to say on the matter.
“The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.”
So in essence, a food sporting the “natural” label might be a healthier option, but it’s not a foolproof guarantee.
New myths pop up every day!
It can be hard to stay on top of all the new and conflicting nutrition information. Do you have any burning food and diet questions? You can search our site or contact us and we’ll try and help you out!
Photo credit: Brooke Lark on Unsplash