Facts vs. Fallacies; Truths vs. Myths

Gluten is the cause of obesity; White sugar is “poisonous;” Clean is the best way to eat; Avoid carbs for health! These facts vs fallacies and other “myths” that run around social media, can make it very difficult to know – the Facts on Good Nutrition!

Facts of Nutrition

Social media is full of claims and proclamations about the best way to fuel your body but many of the claims come from self-testimony not the basics of biology.

For a start, carbohydrates are a major source of energy for the body, without them cells would not survive. There are two main types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in fruits, sugars, and dairy.1 Complex carbohydrates are found in grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. 2 Simple carbohydrates are faster sources of energy and complex carbohydrates release energy more slowly keeping you full longer. Carbohydrates are essential to health, the keys to consumption are quantity and choices. Choosing more whole grains, vegetables beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, lean meat, and low-fat dairy is the best choice. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines provides a good path.

The next basic is protein which is needed for maintenance of cells and tissues. Most people easily consume an adequate intake through food, so supplements are generally not needed. Choosing leaner protein choices helps decrease the intake of less healthful animal fats. Another good option is to substitute beans for some animal protein meals. Enjoy some protein at every meal to help you feel full for a longer period of time.

The final basic of nutrition is fat. Fat is essential to health but for health we should focus on more plant-based fats like oils and margarines made from oil. Fats do have more calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein so watching portions is important.

Nutrition and Health

The myths on social media seem to imply that certain foods should be avoided or that certain types of “processing” makes food “bad”. The bottom-line is that all foods can fit into a healthful eating plan. the key is which foods you choose, how often you eat them and in what portion. If you want a good guide to healthful eating turn to the 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines provide simple to follow tips and lots of tools to help you put the guidelines into practice.

When it comes to health what we eat over time is what matters. One meal, one food is not going to throw off an otherwise healthful eating plan. If you enjoy jam on toast, enjoy but then maybe you balance it out by having black coffee or tea. Same with fats, if you enjoy fried chicken, serve with slaw, veggies, fruit and a whole grain bread – balance!

As far as the claims about avoiding processed foods – All foods have some degree of processing!!! Fruits and vegetables are picked, washed, and packed= processing! Whole grain bread and cereal comes from grains that are harvested, cleaned, milled, ground, cracked, or dried = processing! Avoiding processed foods is not the path to healthier food choices the right path is – what is the nutrition in the product. Instead of reading the marketing claims or only the front of a food package, check the nutrition facts panel and the list of ingredients – that is where you will learn What you are eating.

To Your Health!

Grabbing attention, whether to market a food or yourself, does not give you the full picture of the real facts. Don’t let online media confuse you, for the facts about food and nutrition turn to those who know – Registered Dietitians (RD) we learn the science and then translate that to the table! Armed with the Facts you can maximize Your health!

About Connie Connie is a Registered Dietitian with extensive experience communicating in the food and nutrition space. Taking the science of food and nutrition and translating it to simple messages, new products, or exciting menus is her expertise. Making nutrition messages clearaccurate, and engaging aids all consumers.

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/19534.htm
  2. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/DGA_2020-2025_StartSimple_withMyPlate_English_color.pdf

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