Men's Health, Nutrition and Fitness, Women's Health, Your Health Ben Brown | 7 years ago

5 Common Diet Myths Busted

by Tricia Azra, RD, LDN We’ve all heard the catchy clams, such as “lose 10 pounds in 10 days”, and we all know that coworker who is loading up on chicken and tuna, to build muscles, or your sister-in-law who is so happy she switched to agave syrup because it’s more nutritious. Why are we so quick to believe in the next nutrition fad? Most of us want easy and fast solutions to problems that have taken years to develop. Even against common sense, we tend to believe what we want to hear. Nutrition myths can be more appealing to our senses than a common sense message. Just remember this catchy phrase, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Myth #1: Agave, honey and brown sugars are better than white sugar

For starters, the brown sugar sold at grocery stores is actually white granulated sugar with added molasses. Yes, brown sugar, honey, and agave may contain minute amounts of minerals. But unless you eat a gigantic portion of these sugars every day, the mineral content is absolutely insignificant. The sugar you choose should be more a matter of preference and always a matter of moderation. The idea that alternate sugars and white sugar have big nutritional differences is common nutrition myth.

Myth #2: Eliminate carbs and you’ll lose weight

We all need carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber that our body needs. Carbohydrates are also the body’s preferred fuel source. Therefore, eliminating carbohydrates will leave you feeling tired and sluggish. With that said, it is true that Americans tend overeat and add unhealthy fats to carbohydrate foods. When was the last time you ate a plain baked potato? To help your weight loss efforts, concentrate more on making healthy carbohydrate choices such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid carbohydrates that are processed, fried or laden with unhealthy fats. When it comes to weight loss, it’s more about the total amount and quality of the foods you choose to eat, and less about focusing on any one food group.

Myth #3: Eating extra protein builds muscle

Building muscle requires a proper diet, a proper fitness regimen and proper rest. A proper diet for building muscle requires a positive energy balance, which means that you have to take in more calories than you burn. Your body cannot build muscle mass in the absence of calories. Within these calories, you will need the right amount of protein. Protein is vital in building and repairing muscle tissue, however protein needs are often widely overestimated. For a personalized nutrition regimen designed to meet your specific needs, consider speaking with a Registered Dietitian.

Myth #4: Detox diets are a great way to cleanse toxins from your body.

The idea that your body needs help getting rid of toxins is a myth. Your body has its own brilliant systems for removing toxins such as the liver, kidneys and spleen. Although detox diets are popular, they don’t lead to long-term success and most people don’t feel good on low-calorie, low-nutrient diets. Potential side effects include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy and nausea. Detox diets seems to be a trendy “marketing term” used to sell books and supplements, making big promises with no real science to back it up.

Myth #5: Everyone can benefit from a gluten-free diet

Avoiding Gluten has become a popular nutrition trend. Some celebrities have endorsed gluten-free diets as a way to increase energy levels and lose weight. So what is gluten? And should you be avoiding it? Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten has amino acids that the body uses to build tissue such as muscles, skin and nails. Gluten is used in foods to give structure and mouth-feel to breads, pastas, cakes, cookies, muffins and cereals. Unless you are the 1% of the population that has Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance you do not need to avoid gluten. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body cannot digest the protein gluten. This leads to damage of the small intestines and nutritional deficiencies. A blood test is used to diagnose celiac disease. Gluten intolerance, on the other hand, may be diagnosed when abdominal distress, and fatigue, regularly occurs after consuming gluten, and when Celiac disease has been rule out. Many people who have Celiac disease do not know it. If you suspect you have trouble with gluten, don’t self-diagnose, see your medical doctor.   Azra_Patricia Pic Profile

Tricia Azra is a Registered and Licensed Dietician with Carolinas HealthCare System LiveWELL Health Center