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The Top 5 Nutrition Myths Debunked

As common nutrition myths enter quietly into our collective knowledge and spread disinformation with ease, our experts are debunking 5 of the top myths here.


"Chocolate causes acne." "You should not eat before swimming." "Eating a watermelon seeds will grow a watermelon in your stomach."

These are only but a few food myths that may have startled you once before, but are known to be false. But many other nutrition myths remain ingrained in our imaginations and continue to misinform diet culture. However, believing such myths can actually be derail weight loss progress and be harmful to health.

Here are five common nutrition myths that have been debunked by modern science and bistroMD's team of nutrition experts!

The Top 5 Nutrition Myths Debunked

Myth #1: Nighttime eating always leads to weight gain.

The Truth: This nutrition myth supposes that late-night eating makes you more likely to pack on pounds more than daytime eating.

However, weight gain, loss, or maintenance is not necessarily influenced by the time you eat, but rather how much and which foods you choose, physical activity levels, and other lifestyle factors.

Truly, a calorie will always be a calorie no matter the time consumed. A few of the many around-the-clock weight management strategies include consuming nutrient-dense foods, moderating portion sizes, and exercising on a regular basis.

Myth #2: Sodium restriction only applies if you have high blood pressure.

The Truth: Of the numerous common nutrition myths regarding sodium intake, one of the most prevailing is that sodium restriction is only concerning for those with high blood pressure.

But all can benefit from moderating salt in the diet, as the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams (mg) daily. To put this number in perspective, a new report suggests healthy adults lower their cardiovascular risk by cutting daily sodium intake to at least 2,300 mg daily and lower it further by going as low as 1,500 mg.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and other reputable public health organizations also recommend no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day, with additional emphasis of moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.

To naturally lower sodium intake while offering flavor, skip it on the salt shaker and spice it up in the kitchen by using fresh and dried herbs and seasonings.

Myth #3: Eggs are bad for the heart.

The Truth: Because of eggs' substantial cholesterol content, or about 200 mg per single large egg, they became victimized of a long-held nutrition myth that they are bad for the heart.

But giving up on your favorite omelets may be a practice of the past, as pronounced data redirects the cautions to other dietary factors and lifts the weight off the cholesterol-containing egg. In fact, the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans sets no recommended target on cholesterol consumption.

Instead of entirely blaming eggs, it is now believed saturated and trans fats and high-sugar diets increase blood cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol itself. The American Heart Association's newly updated diet and lifestyle recommendations also suggest limiting saturated fat and trans fat to reduce blood cholesterol.

Besides, eggs are suggested to contain the highest quality of protein you can buy, while the yolks are one of the very few food sources naturally supplying vitamin D. They are also a valuable source of choline, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, selenium, phosphorus, and some B vitamins.

However, it is still important to monitor blood cholesterol levels and speak with your doctor and dietitian to identify a safe target based on individual nutrition needs and requirements.

Myth #4: Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar.

The Truth: Individuals with a sweet tooth may justify their sugar intake with the common nutrition myth that brown sugar is better than its white counterpart.

However, brown sugar is essentially white sugar with added molasses, ultimately providing its darker appearance. And while molasses does supply a trace amount of minerals, the nutrients are so minuscule and does not overrule the fact sugar is sugar and must be moderated.

So when it comes down to the truth, it is essential to remember sugar is sugar, mostly lacking in nutrients while adding calories, or approximately 16 calories per one teaspoon.

And despite the type, the AHA recommends added sugar should be limited to six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men per day.

Myth #5: You should avoid nuts because they are fattening.

The Truth: In the quest to cut calories, dieters alike often shun nuts due to the often perpetuated food myth that nuts should be avoided due to their high fat content.

However, nut varieties offers satiating protein and healthy fats, including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids proven to reduce inflammation in the body, support to heart health, and promote mental health.

What's more, research published in the International Journal of Obesity found participants who consumed an almond-enriched (high monounsaturated fat) formula-based low-calorie diet (LCD) decreased body weight and sustained their weight loss compared to those following a complex carbohydrate-enriched LCD.

Sticking to ¼ cup serving can naturally keep calories moderated while maximize the benefits of nuts.

If tired of deciphering the truth from the numerous common nutrition myths, turn to the only diet delivery service backed by the science of a board-certified weight loss physician.

Not only will you receive a tried-and-true route to weight loss without any gimmicks, but ongoing support from knowledgeable dietitians throughout your entire journey!

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 30, 2015. Updated on April 26, 2019.


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