Health advice can be confusing to say the least. One day we are told that something is good for us, the next a new study tells us it is bad for us. No wonder confusion reigns and myths are formed and widely shared. There are many of them, too many to mention and below we are taking a quick look at the worst of them, here is our top five most destructive health and nutrition myths.
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Breakfast is the healthiest, most important meal of the day
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is a mantra we’re all familiar with. It kick-starts your metabolism, gets those cognitive processors whirring and generally sets you up for a good day, or so they claim. But is breakfast really the nutritional superhero it’s made out to be?
In fact, the type of breakfast you’re eating is more important to worry about than whether or not to have breakfast at all. While it’s possible that eating a morning meal can give your body a jump-start to reaching its daily nutrient needs, this is only true of a meal adequately packed with said important nutrients. So really, you’re better off skipping breakfast if you don’t have time for a bowl of oatmeal or a fruit smoothie, rather than wolfing down some sugary cereal for the sake of it.
Another important thing to consider is consistency. Skipping breakfast is often associated with increased hunger later on in the day, which can lead to binge eating and snacking. This may be true for someone who has suddenly cut breakfast out of their daily routine, but isn’t true of everyone who chooses not to eat breakfast. It’s all about what your body is used to So if skipping breakfast is something you’re considering, be sure to give your body a week to adjust to your new regime.
Artificial Sweeteners Are Safe Sugar Replacements for Diabetics
Diabetics are told it’s ok to substitute artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, but how sound is this advice? Well the answer is that it depends on what type of artificial sweetener you go for.
There are two main types of sugar replacements available. One raises blood sugar levels the other doesn’t. The latter is OK for diabetics to consume, but in moderation, the former should be avoided in the same way sugar is.
The first category is known as low calorie alternatives. These products make something taste sweet, but contain less than half the calories that sugar does. Included in the list are isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol and mannitol. This isn’t an exhaustive list because more products are being discovered and added to the list. These low calorie sugar alternatives are often found in products that are labelled as sugar-free. The problem with these sweeteners is that they are actually sugar alcohols. When you consume them, they raise your blood sugar levels, which is the last thing diabetics need.
The other group of artificial sweeteners are actually chemicals that are made in the lab. These products taste sweet, but contain virtually no calories. Importantly they don’t raise blood sugar levels, so they can be OK for diabetics to consume. However, they need to be consumed in moderation. This is because it’s very important for people with health issues to eat a natural diet. Doing so keeps the body in balance.
The last thing you need to do is to fill your body with chemicals. The main types of artificial sweeteners that don’t cause blood sugar levels to spike are Saccharin, Acesulfame potassium or ace-K, Aspartame, Sucralose and Advantame.
Whole Grains Are Good for Everyone
For example, for someone who is wheat intolerant eating even whole grain wheat is a bad idea, it’s also not a healthy thing for someone who is gluten intolerant to do. Wholegrain foods are also very bad for people with ulcerative colitis because the bran irritates the bowel.
The same is true for someone who suffers from diarrhoea-predominant IBS. It’s hard for the whole grain to be broken down enough in a bowel that is weakened by disease. This makes it impossible for the body to extract the nutrients it needs before the grains pass out of the body.
In the early stages of diverticulitis treatment people also have to avoid whole grains. This is because the partially digested grains tend to become stuck in the loose pockets of bowel where they rot and increase inflammation. A diet that flushes these pockets of old faecal matter and undigested food has to be followed. This means eating foods that pass quickly through the bowel, something that does not happen with whole grains.
Eggs Are Bad for Your Heart
The idea that eggs could be bad for your heart arose from the fact that they contain cholesterol. At one time, it was believed that consuming dietary cholesterol raised the levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
This has proved not to be the case. In fact, it’s eating too much saturated fat and too many trans fats that leads to a build up of cholesterol in the body. One study even found that the cholesterol in eggs helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood (LDL).
Besides which eggs also contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which are extremely good for your heart. The cholesterol in eggs and meat helps your body to make testosterone, which is important for your energy levels. This helps you to find the stamina you need to exercise and maintain good heart health.
Carbs should be your n°1 source of calories
The idea that you should eat the majority of your calories as carbohydrates sounds strange now, but it was believed for decades. Today, we understand that eating too many carbs is just about the fastest way to put on weight.
This is because carbohydrates are digested rapidly and are converted very quickly into blood glucose. To deal with the glucose spike your pancreas produces insulin. The production of insulin in large quantities then triggers your body to store fat. Simply put, the more carbohydrates you eat the more likely you’re to put on weight, so the idea that you should take in the majority of your calories in the form of carbohydrates is a bad one.
However, you do have to eat some carbohydrates and a low carb diet is definitely not good for everyone. Some people are left too drained of energy, and it can be very bad for an athlete, pregnant women or people with thyroid problems. In fact, it can be dangerous for them to do so.
These are just five of the most common health myths and in all likelihood, there will be more added to the list as scientific understanding advances.
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