There is A LOT of common “healthy” eating advice. But who says? Why is it accepted as fact? And what is the truth?
Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Who says? Most likely started by the cereal industry.
Why do we believe it? Because it has been repeated so often it has become part of our culture.
The Truth: Break-fast is whenever you first eat after fasting overnight. With all the science on how good intermittent fasting is for humans, we can all stop forcing ourselves to eat within two hours of getting up. Instead, hydrate with water and eat real food (not sugary cereal) when you’re hungry.
Myth #2: Lunch is at noon
Who says? Old-time unions because it was halfway through the workday.
Why do we believe it? Because industry has run our lives for so long we just go with it.
The Truth: Lunch shouldn’t be a time-driven thing. It’s just the label we put on a mid-day meal. Keep your body hydrated with water and eat real food (not deep-fried processed food-like products) when you’re hungry.
Myth #3: Eating carbs makes you fat
Who says? Atkins made it popular first but anyone trying to make money on the low-carb craze.
Why do we believe it? Because there’s a lot of noise about it in the press.
The Truth: The human body burns carbs as fuel and is really inefficient at converting whole-food carbs into fat. But animal protein and fat are easy to convert into human fat. Don’t blame the potato (real food) for making you fluffy. Blame the “loaded” you put on it.
Myth #4: Skipping meals slows your metabolism
Who says? Popular knowledge
Why do we believe it? Because it sounds right
The Truth: If skipping meals slowed our metabolism humans would have never made it out of the Paleolithic era. Our bodies hum along just fine if we miss a meal or even two. That’s why intermittent fasting works and is even healthy. Don't stress about it.
Myth #5: Meat is the best source of protein
Who says? 100+ years ago science found that rats and dogs grow faster when feed animal-based protein. It was presumed that faster growth and animal protein were better for humans too.
Why do we believe it? Because it’s been repeated for 100+ years; even though science since found otherwise. Plus, the meat and dairy industries want us to believe it.
The Truth: Humans don’t need nearly the protein intake we think we do. 10% of calories is plenty. And faster growth isn’t better. Plant-based proteins can give us plenty of everything we need with nothing we don’t like cholesterol and saturated fats.
Myth #6: A calorie is a calorie
Who says? Seems like everyone
Why do we believe it? Because everyone keeps saying it.
The Truth: The human body burns or stores different fuels differently. While the measurement of how much energy a calorie creates is stable, how we use them varies. Extra animal fat and proteins are easily stored as fat in fat cells. Extra whole-food carbs are burned as heat or stored as glycogen (energy) in the blood, liver and muscles to be burned later.
Myth #7: You have to eat red meat to get iron
Who says? It’s just “common knowledge” (even doctors say it)
Why do we believe it? Because medical doctors say it
The Truth: Heme iron, found in red meat, gets into our bodies more easily than the non-heme iron found in plants (green leafy being the best source). BUT, in this case easier isn’t better. Heme iron is more difficult for the human body to regulate. The percentage of people who are anemic is about the same between those who eat red meat and those who don’t. So, eat your greens and don’t take in all the extra bad stuff that comes with red meat and your iron levels will be fine.
Bottom line: Don’t believe all the “common knowledge” you hear about nutrition. If you fuel your body when you’re actually hungry with whole, plant-based foods and throw in some intermittent fasting you’ll reach and maintain your ideal body weight and be healthier than ever.
If you are ready to address how your food choices are negatively affecting your health, let’s set up a free get-to-know-you chat. Send me an email and let’s get you on track to taking control of your stress eating. Health@RnRJourney.com
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.