While March signals the arrival of spring break for some, it also marks the beginning of Nutrition Month, the annual campaign lead by the Dietitians of Canada. In the spirit of this year’s mythbusting theme “Get the real deal on your meal”, here are few common nutrition myths that are worth debunking.
You should avoid carbs to lose weight
Such a tenacious myth…but here’s the truth: Eat less calories than your body burns and you will lose weight. So while cutting carb-rich foods from your diet might lead to weight-loss, this is only the result of eating fewer calories.
Why this is important: Because our diets are made up of many different sources of carbohydrates, cutting them out completely is an unsustainable, short term solution. Plus, you will miss out on fantastic foods that definitely don’t deserve vilifying!
What you should do: Focus on getting quality-carbs into your diet. Think nutrient-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
The carbs you should avoid: Refined carbs and added sugars that provide little or no nutritional value. Think sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes, candy or sugary cereals.
“Multi-grain” is the same as “whole grain”
This is a myth. Your bread might have dozens of grains, but they are not necessarily whole. In fact, the flour used in the product may have little or no whole grains at all!
Why this is important: Refined grains have been stripped of two nutrient-rich layers: the bran and the germ which are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fats. And although manufacturers are required to enrich their flour after this “stripping” process, the final product flails in comparison to the original, whole grain version.
What you should do: Always scan the ingredient list and look for the word “whole” alongside each type of flour.
It’s low-fat so it must be healthy
Myth, myth, myth! Just because a product is low-fat, it definitely does not mean it is healthy. It may actually contain just as many calories, along with added sugar.
Why this is important: Instead of fearing fat, focus on getting fat from real food sources. Think extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and nut butters.
What you should do: Look beyond health claims: remember to scan the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel before adding it to your cart.
Eating a lot of protein helps build muscle.
Here’s the truth: Extra protein beyond your body’s daily needs, does not provide any additional benefit or make our muscles grow.
Why this is important: Once your body has fulfilled its protein needs, such as building and repairing muscle, it either breaks down leftover protein for energy or in the case of extra calories, stores it as fat.
What you should do: If you’re looking to build muscle mass, you will need a strength-training program, quality calories, proper recovery and rest. Copious amounts of protein alone…won’t do the trick!
Have you every considered any of these myths to be true? Do you have a favourite myth?