Busting Nutrition Myths, Part 2

Sorting health fact from fiction

By Melissa Petrichko, WAC Nutrition & Health Coach

Nutrition & Health Coach 2This is Part 2 of the Busting Nutrition Myths series. View Part 1 here.

Food choices are complex. Factors affecting what we eat include our personal and family tastes and preferences, cultural traditions, financial budgets, personal values, accessibility, convenience, time, social pressures, and nutrition myths. No one way of eating works for everyone. Look to verified health professionals to separate myths from facts.

Popular nutrition myths debunked:

Myth: Eating at certain times of day will cause you to gain weight.

Fact: Although nutrient timing matters in certain situations, such as athletic performance, for the general population what matters most is: how much you eat, the quality of nutrients you consume, how much activity you get throughout the day, sleep quality and quantity, and your ability to manage stress.

Myth: You should cut carbs to lose weight.

Fact: Carbohydrates are a valuable part of a healthy diet. They provide energy for physical and mental function. What matters most is not cutting carb intake, but choosing quality, complex carbohydrates laden with fiber, vitamins, and minerals to slow glucose absorption into the bloodstream. High-quality carbohydrates include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, and lentils.

Myth: Gluten-free foods are healthier.

Fact: Only people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivities should practice a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a group of proteins found in cereal grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. People professionally diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should avoid foods with gluten. For a person without these conditions, foods with gluten can be part of an overall healthy diet. Emphasize foods that offer more nutrition, such as choosing whole grains over refined grains.

Myth: Salt is bad for you.

Fact: Salt (sodium) is a mineral and electrolyte essential for bodily functions, including maintaining water balance, muscle and nerve function, and heart and brain efficiency. This mineral is not harmful to health unless consumed in excess, which may lead to high blood pressure, kidney damage, and other health hazards.

Myth: Dietary supplements are necessary for healthy living.

Fact: If you are eating a “healthy” diet of fruits, vegetables, seafood, lean sources of protein, olive oil, and other healthy fats, you are already getting all the vital nutrients you need for optimal health. There are specific times and situations that may require additional supplemental support. For example, during pregnancy or when living in certain climates or recovering from illness or surgery the body may need a little help and support. Taking supplements significantly affects the body and may interfere with prescribed medications. It is necessary to consult your physician or a naturopath, such as WAC Naturopath Dr. Darci Davis, before including supplements in your daily routine.

Myth: Snacking is unhealthy.

Fact: Snacking can be part of healthy eating, even when weight loss is a goal. No one eating style suits everyone, and while three square meals may work for some, a grazing style of three small meals and two-to-three snacks works for others. Most important are meal and snack portions, food quality, and eating at or below caloric needs for your goals, age, sex, weight, height, and activity level.

Final thoughts

It isn’t easy to sort nutrition fact from fiction. Follow these strategies to find nutrition information and ask a credentialed professional if in doubt. Keep an open mind, but maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.

—If you have questions or concerns about your health, contact WAC Nutrition & Health Coach Melissa Petrichko at mpetrichko@wac.net. For supplementation advice and recommendations, contact WAC Naturopath Dr. Darci Davis at naturopath@wac.netView WAC Wellness services online and contact the Wellness Center at wellness@wac.net.

—Posted July 11, 2022; JC.

More Athletics & Wellness

How to maintain fitness when injured
How physical therapists treat pain
Change your mind

More Fitness

Join the adult WAC Basketball League
Run, bike, and swim like never before
Busting Nutrition Myths, Part 1