The Truth Behind The Top 5 Nutrition Myths
by Registered Dietitian and Professor of Nutrition, Charlene M. Wang, MS, RD, CHTP
FALSE CLAIM: Our Metabolic Rates Are Unchangeable.
There are various factors that influence the human metabolism. Factors include age, medications, genetics, hormonal changes, body fat percentage, the thermal effect of food, the list goes on. The truth is that we can boost metabolism by increasing lean muscle mass. In a nutshell, muscle burns more calories per hour than fat. People with lean, muscular bodies require more calories to function than people with a higher body fat percentage.
Muscle tissue will burn 7 to 10 calories daily per pound. Fat only burns 2 to 3 calories daily per pound. Therefore, the best way to benefit from the calorie-burning potential of your muscles is to get moving and use them routinely. Use it or lose it!
FALSE CLAIM: Eating Anything Organic, Non-GMO, and/or ‘Natural’ Means It’s Healthy.
The theory for many is that if it came from the earth, it must be good for us. That’s true if you’re referring to fresh produce. It’s another story when you shine a spotlight on processed organic, non-gmo or ‘natural’ foods. Regardless if it’s organic and non-gmo, processed food is processed food. People tend to consume more with the idea that if it’s natural, it’s healthy.
Processed foods encourage weight gain because they’re low in nutrients and fiber and high in sugar and carbohydrates. Consuming too many processed foods can promote insulin resistance and inflammation. If you want natural, I recommend substituting processed foods for fresh foods.
FALSE CLAIM: Bottled Juice Can Substitute For Fruit Intake
If I had a quarter for every time I’ve been asked, “Instead of eating fruits and vegetables, can I drink juice?,” I could buy myself a fruit farm. The unfortunate truth is that juice is just sugar water. Eating a whole fruit will give your body more fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and less calories in comparison to drinking fruit juice.
Another disadvantage of bottled juice is the oxidation. Oxidation is the loss of electrons by a molecule, atom, or ion and is associated with taking electrons from another molecule, thus oxidizing that molecule. In other words, oxidation causes the loss of nutritional value of the fruit or vegetable. A good example of oxidation is witnessing the interior of an apple turn brown due to exposure to air for too long. Oxidation occurs the moment you start juicing. This is why it is important to drink the juice right after making it.
My juice recommendations is juice made from fresh vegetables or vegetables with fruits granted you’re buying juice made on the spot or making your own juice. Nutrient-dense vegetables I recommend for juicing are celery, swiss chard, carrots, kale, spinach, beets, romaine lettuce, parsley, broccoli, and if you can handle it, turmeric.
FALSE CLAIM: All Protein Bars Are a Good Source of Protein
Many protein bars are simply glorified candy bars that can counteract your workout. Although a bar has “protein” advertised on the wrapper, it doesn’t mean the bar contains much of it. The truth is, many protein bars contain fewer than 5 grams of protein accompanied with more sugar than a candy bar. Another unfortunate truth is that many protein bars contain poor quality ingredients, such as protein sourced from soy and artificial dyes.
Always read the labels and ingredient list of a protein bar. To give your muscles the protein they need for post-workout muscle recovery, I recommend selecting a protein bar with at least 12 grams of protein and less than 7 grams of sugar per serving.
FALSE CLAIM: Going Gluten-Free Means Weight Loss
This ties in with the false claim that anything organic, non-gmo and natural is healthy. If you’re trading your wheat bread for gluten-free bread, your calorie intake may be the same if not more. Weight loss ultimately comes down to a calorie deficit.
If you’re not omitting low nutrient-dense foods and increasing whole foods, establishing a gluten-free diet won’t do much in terms of consistent weight loss. At first, you may see temporary weight loss due to cutting back on carbohydrates, such as pizza, crackers, and pasta. The truth is that many people are just swapping gluten containing foods with other refined, gluten-free substitutes.
Gluten-free crackers and muffins are still full of highly processed and refined carbohydrates. The best option is to choose gluten free whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans. If you do consume refined gluten-free products, aim for whole grains such as brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, and sorghum.
By Prof. Charlene M. Wang, MS, RD, CHTP
Charlene Wang has been helping people meet their health and fitness goals in California and Colorado. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with professional certifications in Alternative Nutrition, Applied Kinesiology and Energy Healing. Her professional services include health risk assessments, weight loss plans, food sensitivity testing, disease prevention education, personalized health coaching, a variety of nutrition, and health education classes, and energy healing therapy.
Charlene has been teaching Nutrition, Health & Wellness courses for DeVry University since 2016. She currently runs her own private practice in Colorado Springs called Auric Nutrition & Wellness. She also consults for an new integrative health clinic called the International Health & Wellness Center located within the Garden of the Gods Club and Resort.