The 10 most important myths of "alternative" nutrition

There are many different "belief systems" in nutrition.

Each one has its own set of myths and misconceptions.

Here are the 10 biggest myths in alternative nutrition.

1. Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine

The added sugar is a disaster when it is consumed in excess.

There is no doubt about it, the evidence of its harmful effects is overwhelming.

Excess sugar can lead to obesity, cause insulin resistance, increased belly fat, increased liver fat, and serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 , 6).

However, even though people are aware of this, avoiding sugar can be extremely hard.

Not only because it is everywhere, but also because people have overwhelming cravings for foods high in sugar.

This has led many experts to believe that sugar (and the junk foods that contain it) can be absolutely addictive for many people.

Actually, there is a lot of evidence that supports this, both in animals and in humans. Sugar can "light up" the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse and cause many of the same behavioral symptoms (7, 8).

Unfortunately, some people must take things to the extreme and claim that sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.

This myth is actually highly prevalent in certain health circles.

It is based on a study in rats, which showed that they preferred water sweetened with sugar or saccharin (a very intense sweetener with zero calories) on intravenous cocaine (9).

It was a surprising result, but hardly a test of anything in humans.

Sugar is very unhealthy and potentially very addictive. But to say that it is more addictive than cocaine, one of the most addictive narcotics that exist, is ridiculous.

Like a recovering drug addict Y Addicted to food, I can tell you that the two substances are NOT comparable.

Bottom line: Sugar can be addictive for many people. However, to say that it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine is completely wrong and is not supported by the evidence.

2. Calories do not matter at all

Some people think that calories are all that matters to lose weight.

Others think they are completely irrelevant.

They say you can lose weight no matter how many calories you eat, as long as you choose the right foods.

As with so many things in nutrition, the truth is somewhere in between.

Eating certain foods can help support weight loss by increasing metabolism (increasing calories) and reducing appetite (reducing calories).

In many cases, people can lose tons of weight without counting a single calorie.

However, if you are losing weight, it means that more calories are leaving your bodies than entering them. That is an indisputable scientific fact.

Even though some foods are more weight-loss friendly than others, calories are still incredibly important for weight loss and weight gain.

Of course, this DOES NOT mean you need tell Calories to lose weight.

Changing your diet so that it happens on "autopilot" can work just as well, if not better.

Bottom line: Some people believe that calories are completely irrelevant to weight loss / gain. Although calorie counting is not always necessary, calories still count.

3. Cooking with olive oil is a bad idea

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on the planet.

It is loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants (10, 11).

However, many people believe that it should not be used for cooking.

It is claimed that fats and antioxidants are sensitive to heat, and can even become harmful compounds.

In fact, it is true that oils can be sensitive to heat, but this applies mainly to oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as soybean and corn oils (12).

The content of polyunsaturated fat in olive oil is only 10-11%, which is low compared to most other vegetable oils (13).

In fact, many studies have been conducted on olive oil and cooking, which show that the oil maintains its healthy properties despite being exposed to high temperatures.

Even when heated for 1.5 to 36 hoursThere may be small reductions in antioxidants and vitamin E, but most nutrients still remain (14, 15, 16).

The only bad thing that happens to olive oil when it is heated is that the taste may change slightly.

Personally I use extra virgin olive oil for almost all my cooking. It is incredibly healthy and delicious.

Bottom line: It is a myth that olive oil damages when exposed to heat. Numerous studies show that fats and antioxidants in olive oil can withstand cooking temperatures, even for long periods of time.

4. Microwaves damage your food and emit harmful radiation

Heating food in a microwave oven is fast and very convenient.

However, there are people who believe that this convenience has a cost.

They claim that microwaves produce harmful radiation and cause damage to healthy nutrients in food, and that studies show that microwave foods are totally harmful to health.

But when the literature is analyzed to look for these studies, they are nowhere to be found.

Microwave ovens are designed in a way that does not allow radiation to escape.

Studies also show that they are Even better conserving the nutrients that the cooking methods like boiling and frying (17, 18, 19).

Some people do not want to use microwaves, and that's fine. But there are without evidence that cause harm, and no scientifically valid argument to avoid them.

Bottom line: There are no published studies that show that microwave ovens are harmful. Many studies show that they are effective in preserving nutrients compared to other cooking methods.

5. The "cholesterol" of the blood does not matter

The old myths about saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have been disproved.

Both have little effect on blood cholesterol in most people.

In any case, they raise HDL (the "good") cholesterol and change LDL particles from small to large, which are benign (20, 21).

Studies also show that the people who eat most of them are do not with higher risk of heart disease (22, 23, 24, 25).

However, some people misunderstand this and think that blood Cholesterol levels, what your doctor measures, does not make sense either.

It is true that conventional numbers, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, do not always provide an accurate picture of the true risk of heart disease.

But LDL lipoproteins, the carriers that move cholesterol in the bloodstream, are very important (26).

With some exceptions, having a "cholesterol" very high in LDL is bad, because it usually means that it has a large amount of LDL particles (LDL-p), which are strongly related to heart disease and death (26).

Although the "cholesterol" LDL is not the enemy, the "LDL lipoproteins that carry cholesterol" are important.

Bottom line: Dietary cholesterol and saturated fats are safe. However, the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the bloodstream are very important for the risk of heart disease.

6. Store-bought coffee contains high levels of mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are toxins produced by molds (27).

They are found in all kinds of common consumption foods.

There is a myth that coffee is generally contaminated with harmful levels of mycotoxins.

However, it is very unlikely that this will happen, because the levels of mycotoxins in food are highly regulated. Crops that exceed the safety limit are discarded (28).

Molds are ubiquitous in the environment, and mycotoxins are everywhere. Almost all humans have detectable levels of mycotoxins in the blood (29).

Studies have shown that taking 4 cups of coffee per day would only take 2% of the intake of mycotoxins that is considered safe, so there is a massive safety margin here (30).

There really is no need to fear regular coffee due to mycotoxins.

Bottom line: It is completely false that regular coffee contains high levels of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are everywhere, but the amount found in coffee is well below the safety limit.

7. Alkaline foods are healthy, acidic foods cause diseases

The alkaline diet is very popular.

Proponents of this diet claim that foods are acidic or alkaline for our bodies.

They say that acidic foods lower the pH value of the blood (they make it more acidic) and that cancer cells can only grow in an acidic environment.

"Acid" foods include meat, dairy products and grains, while "alkaline" foods are mostly plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits.

However, this is actually do not supported by evidence, or even basic biochemistry for the case (31, 32).

The truth is that the pH value of the blood is strongly regulated by the body. It just does not change, unless it is serious poisoning or diseases.

Cancer is also perfectly capable of growing in an alkaline environment, and our blood is slightly alkaline by default (33).

The alkaline diet can be healthy, but that is because it is based on whole foods and healthy. It has absolutely nothing to do with these foods being acidic or alkaline.

Bottom line: It is not true that food can change the pH value (acidity) of our bodies, and there is no convincing evidence of the alkaline diet.

8. Eating dairy is bad for your bones

The myth that dairy products cause osteoporosis is an extension of the myth of the alkaline diet.

It is claimed that the milk protein makes the blood acidic, so that the body extracts calcium from the bones to neutralize the acid.

However, dairy products have several properties that make them, literally, the Perfect Food for bone health.

They are high in calcium and phosphorus, the main components of the bones. They also contain vitamin K2, a nutrient crucial for bone formation (34, 35, 36).

Last but not least, they are high quality animal proteins, which have actually been shown to be beneficial For bone health in numerous studies (37, 38).

Studies show that dairy products lead to improved Bone health in all age groups, increasing bone density and decreasing the risk of fractures (39, 40, 41, 42).

Many of these studies are controlled trials in humans, the gold standard of science.

Although dairy products are not necessary for bone health, the evidence shows that it can be highly beneficial.

Bottom line: Although some people claim otherwise, most studies show that dairy products are highly beneficial for bone health.

9. Carbohydrates are inherently harmful

Low-carbohydrate diets have numerous benefits.

Studies show that they cause rapid weight loss and important improvements in health markers (43, 44, 45).

The effects on the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are particularly notable (46, 47).

Many people believe that because reducing carbohydrates helps treat these problems, it should be carbohydrates that caused them first

This has led many low carberos to demonize. everyone High carbohydrate foods, including real foods like potatoes, apples and even carrots.

It is true that refined carbohydrates, including added sugars and refined grains, can contribute to weight gain and metabolic disease (48, 49, 50).

But the same is NOT true for single-ingredient carbohydrate sources.

There have been numerous populations throughout the world that enjoyed excellent health by consuming a high-carbohydrate diet based on real foods.

When metabolic problems such as obesity and type 2 diabetes have already occurred, low-carb diets work. There is no doubt about it.

But that does not mean that the carbohydrates themselves caused these health problems

Even though these foods are outside the limits of a very low carbohydrate diet, many people can stay in excellent health by eating many unprocessed foods high in carbohydrates.

As with most things in nutrition, this depends entirely on the individual. A low-carbohydrate diet is excellent for some people, but a high-carbohydrate diet works well for others.

Bottom line: Low carb diets are effective. However, this does not mean that the carbohydrates in whole foods are inherently fattening or harmful.

10. Agave nectar is a healthy sweetener

Unhealthy foods are the main reason why the world is sicker and fatter than ever.

Surprisingly, many of these foods are considered healthy, and are even classified as "healthy foods". Among the best examples of this is the agave nectar sweetener.

As we know, the main reason for the harmful effects of added sugars is their high fructose content.

Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts. When the liver becomes overloaded, it begins to convert fructose to fat (51, 52).

This can lead to a large number of metabolic problems, and it is believed to be among the main drivers of many common diseases (53).

But this is where it gets interesting. Agave nectar is actually much higher In fructose than regular sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

While the sugar is 50% glucose, 50% fructose, the agave nectar is 85% fructose (54)! In any case, agave nectar is the most unhealthy sweetener in the world.

Makes normal sugar look healthy in comparison, and that is saying something



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