There is a lot of confusion when it comes to nutrition and health. New studies and tips are coming out all the time, authored by research professionals, fitness gurus and bloggers alike. Most of the time, these studies and tips contradict each other! This makes it easier to get overwhelmed and to be confused on where to look for the facts.
To learn the truth, we met with three nutrition experts here at Blue Cross NC. They helped debunk some of the most common nutrition myths. Here’s what we found out.
Myth: Fruits and Veggies Contribute to Type 2 Diabetes
Eating fruits and vegetables is NOT a main contributor to type 2 diabetes and/or weight gain. In fact, a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the glycemic index has a limited reliability and that a rise in blood sugar may vary by 20 to 25 percent between individuals.
A more common recommendation for the prevention and reduction of chronic diseases is to eat MORE fruits and vegetables, not less. This is due to their disease-fighting properties and high levels of fiber.
Myth: You Don’t Need a Lot of Protein in Your Diet
This is false! Regardless of age, physically active people require more grams of protein per pound of body weight compared to less active individuals. Overall, your protein intake should be primarily determined by the intensity of your exercise. For example, a higher intake of protein is recommended for people who do strength training and endurance activities like running and cycling.
Myth: 8 Glasses of Water a Day is Enough
Eight glasses, or 64 ounces, of water, will most likely not meet your daily fluid needs. It’s likely you’ll need more! Hydration is based on many factors such as exercise level, age, gender, muscle mass, medications, chronic disease/illness, temperature, and elevation. Your hydration needs are individualized, so don’t always believe eight glasses will do the trick.
Myth: All Grains Are the Same
Whole grain labeling can be confusing – just because something says it contains whole grains doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Look for foods that have whole-wheat or whole-grains listed as the first ingredient in the ingredient list. Also, make sure they have at least 2-3 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is great for keeping you full and satisfied. Whole grains also have great health benefits.
Myth: If It’s Advertised as Healthy and Full of Protein, It Must Be Healthy
Just because it says healthy, doesn’t mean it is. Often, we fall victim to deceptive advertising, calling foods healthy when they’re full of excess sugar. For example, some protein bars that are supposed to be “good for you” really have the same amount of sugar as a candy bar!
The need for Americans to watch and decrease their sugar intake has been encouraged for years. However, people frequently don’t know how to cut back on sugar. The easiest way to fight back is by arming yourself with the knowledge to investigate your food choices. The American Heart Association’s guidelines limit sugar intake to 24 grams (six teaspoons) for women and 36 grams (nine teaspoons) for men. When choosing foods, make sure you read the nutrition facts and ingredients. By doing so, you’re on your way to food shopping like a pro!
If there are other nutrition facts or studies you want to have confirmed or denied, consult a local Registered Dietitian.