As a Registered Dietitian, I come across nutrition myths on a daily basis. Thanks to social media and so-called experts in nutrition, these myths travel like rapid fire. Read on for the top 5 nutrition myths that I come across:
1. Carbs make you fat
When calorie intake is the same, weight loss can be achieved on either a high carbohydrate or low carbohydrate diet. Excess calories lead to weight gain regardless if the excess calories come from carbohydrates, protein, fat, or alcohol. There is no reason to avoid good sources of carbohydrates such as fruit, whole grain breads, pasta, potatoes and milk products. Carbohydrates are an importance source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals and are critical for brain function.
2. Honey and maple syrup are better than table sugar since they’re natural
Nutritionally, honey, maple syrup and sugar are all the same. Honey contains 64 calories/tablespoon and maple syrup 52 calories/tablespoon compared with 49 calories/tablespoon in table sugar. All are concentrated sources of calories with few added vitamins and minerals. Just because something is made with maple syrup or honey does not mean it’s a better choice. Choose whatever sweetener you find tastes best, and enjoy it in moderation.
3. You need to take a vitamin or mineral supplement
Taking a vitamin or mineral in an isolated supplement is not as healthful as getting them naturally from food. This is because vitamins and minerals work together to create a larger health benefit than they can make on their own. Many health boosters have also not been fully identified and can’t be reproduced in pill form. Taking a supplement can also be dangerous since high doses can be toxic or create a deficiency in another nutrient. There are of course some exceptions such as correcting a nutrient deficiency, a vitamin D supplement during the winter, or special population groups.
4. Protein shakes are necessary after a hard workout
While protein is important after a hard workout to help repair damaged muscle, protein needs can easily be met through foods alone such as yogurt, milk, meat, legumes, and nuts. Protein is also not the only important nutrition post-workout. Carbohydrates are of equal value. Most protein shakes do not contain carbohydrates. If you do choose a protein shake post-workout, be sure to pair it with a carbohydrate rich food such as a piece of fruit or bagel.
5. If Dr. Oz said it then it must be true
Be careful where you get your nutrition advice. There are a lot of so called “experts” in nutrition who are not providing evidence based nutrition advice. Remember a nutritionist is not the same as a Registered Dietitian. The designation “Registered Dietitian” in Canada is a regulated and protected title. This ensures that the advice and information they provide is sound. Want to learn more about using nutrition to optimize performance?
I’d love to work with you to provide personalized nutrition advice to help you reach your goals. To learn more or book an appointment click here.