I could write a novel on all the different food myths out there but wanted to keep it short with some of the most common ones I hear regularly, because if there’s one thing that my clients say over and over, it’s how confused they are in regards to all the conflicting nutrition information floating around.
It’s hard to know what to believe, who to trust, and what really works, these days and while some myths get started with good-intentions, many just fuel guilt and anxiety regarding eating, causing more harm than good. And we have to remember that many of these myths get started based on anecdotal evidence and opinions of others, which doesn’t mean they all don’t work, but they may not apply to you.
I shouldn’t eat after 7
Hogwash. First of all, your body doesn’t automatically store calories as fat just because it’s after a certain time, so if you don’t eat dinner till 8 or so, that’s okay. This whole notion got started to help some people with mindless snacking or eating after dinner, which can lead to weight gain, and sure, it can be very helpful but by no means do you need to skip dinner or eat it with a side of guilt if it happens to be 8 or 9.
Potatoes will make me fat
Another favorite of mine. Potatoes have been picked on for a long time and they really don’t deserve it. Sure, they’re high in starch but they’re also one of the most satisfying and filling foods on the planet, and a little goes a long way. Potatoes can absolutely be an everyday staple, and just like everything else, it comes down to how much you eat. If potatoes take up half your plate or you cover them with cheese and bacon then yeah, cutting back would probably benefit you, but there’s absolutely no reason to eliminate them.
Eating small meals throughout the day will boost my metabolism
Sorry to burst your bubble, not true. Eating 5-6 small meals/day vs. 3 is not going to burn any more calories. While eating this way may work for some people, and it can be very beneficial, most will tell me that they never really feel satisfied, are always thinking about food, and don’t have the time to devote to eating that many times a day. I know personally that I much prefer to eat a larger meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and throw in a snack if I need one, otherwise I’d be grazing all day. If you finish a meal feeling sleepy and heavy, you may be eating too much at once, but that doesn’t mean you have to switch to mini meals.
Kale is the greatest food on earth
I’m so over kale, and it’s not its fault. But what I’m more over is when my clients tell me that they feel “bad” because they “should” be eating it. Grrr, food guilt… Guess what, you don’t have to eat kale ever again and you can still be healthy, and did you know that spinach actually outranks kale in terms of nutrients? Greens, in general, are packed with nutrients but eat the ones you actually enjoy, and if you don’t like them at all, that’s okay too. There are lots of other choices.
Gluten is bad for me
Yes, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are real, just like egg and peanut allergies are as well, but that doesn’t mean we’re ALL negatively impacted. Many, many people can eat gluten with no negative effect whatsoever, and I know for me, toast and eggs or bread with peanut butter are two of my go-to’s because they always leave me feeling satisfied and comfortable. Sometimes people will tell me how much better they feel when they get off gluten, only to discover that they went from eating large amounts of cookies, crackers, and pretzels to none. Hmmm, not sure if gluten is to blame there, but you can see how easy it is for people to do so. If you’re someone who genuinely feels better off gluten, don’t eat it, but so often I find people create more stress in their lives trying to avoid it, or feel guilty just because they eat a sandwich.
The takeaway: Get to know your body and decide for yourself what digests well and leaves you feeling energized and satisfied. Your body knows best, we just have to listen.
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And if you live in Columbus, I’d love to meet you.