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The Truth Behind Diet Myths

Posted by on in Weight Watchers
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The Truth behind Diet Myths

Every single one of us likes to think that we know what we’re talking about. In fact, so much so, that we’re not willing to give an inch in any discussion we feel we know the truth. The harsh reality is that most of us believe something even though there is no scientific basis to it whatsoever. This is very significant when it comes to effective dieting [1] because many of these dietary myths are contrary to how we should really be approaching a healthier and slimmer lifestyle. With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the most glaring falsehoods and how you can profit from this knowledge in your quest for a greater salutary lifestyle. 

A Sugar Coated Dilemma

One of the great challenges that pose the prospective dieter is grasping the veracity of claims made about fats and carbohydrates. It doesn’t help that the word fat is, well, called fat, and so it can lead to the reasonable speculation that fat causes one to be fat [2]. However, this is to miss the point. We need to start thinking in terms of energy, regardless of what the food is composed of. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’re snacking on a biscuit or consuming a glass of wine, your body interprets all of these foods in terms of energy input. The more foods you eat, the greater this energy input, and hence the elevated risk of storing this unused energy as fat.

Understanding this backdrop is vital to discerning the mythology that often surrounds nutrition. For instance, it’s commonly accepted in modern society that indulging at night markedly increases the odds of becoming overweight. This is a false belief [3]. Let’s assume that you were to digest 2,000 calories of food today. Your body does not know if it’s what we call a healthy food or what we call a bad food. Furthermore, your body does not think in terms of morning, noon or night. Ultimately, it’s the total caloric intake that matters and it’s this type of thinking that should inform your decisions about what to eat as well as when to eat.

Let’s take alcohol as a case in point. If you were to ingest a three course healthy meal that accumulated 1,000 calories then this would be equivalent to approximately five pints of alcohol. The only differentiating factor between these two values is the nutritional benefit that the healthy meal has as opposed to the alcohol [4]. However, when leaving nutrition to one side, both are considered equal in terms of calories by the body. If you were to have an alcohol addict then they could achieve their caloric intake per day but they would become evidently deficient in nutrients over time. Thus, the structured detoxification of alcohol can rapidly improve [5] the health status of the individual even if the daily caloric intake was satisfied. Thus, one needs to take into consideration the difference between the quantities of calories one ingests from the nutritional benefit that accompanies those calories.

The Fat Free Problem

Similarly, there exists the myth that one should only consume “fat free” products given the aforementioned belief that fat is responsible for fat. Again, while the low-fat yoghurt or milk may contain a low percentage of fat you can often be sure to find a compensating amount of sugar – an energy dense substance that increases your craving for food throughout the day. Thus, the evidence often sways in favour of full fat foods to avoid this carbohydrate compensation. Moreover, many of these fat free products harbour artificial sweeteners, colourings and flavourings that are counter to what can be considered a healthy product.

It is true, however, to say that fat is the most energy dense of all the nutrients and therefore consuming 100g of fat is more caloric intense than 100g of any other nutrient. Yet we need to define exactly what we mean by “fat”. Fats are necessary components of our diet [6] and form an integral part of all cells in our body. There are some good fats and some bad fats. For example, saturated fats contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease in contrast to monounsaturated fats that lower LDL [7], or “bad”, cholesterol. With this differentiation in mind, it’s imperative that the only fats that are reduced from the body are the “bad fats”, while we should actively pursue the “good fats” that help to sustain us. We have to avoid simplicity in scientific discussions as they can lead us astray, as these examples demonstrate.

How to Spot a Myth

You can develop skills that help you to determine dietary fact from fiction simply by following a few rules. First and foremost, be sure to question the claim rather than accepting it as automatically valid, no matter who you heard it from. This is particularly pertinent if the claim sounds too good to be true – in which case you should reserve your judgment until substantiating evidence comes to light. Further to this, always be wary of absolute claims of some dietary cure, after all, if these novel absolute claims were as true as is claimed then you’d wonder why the pharmaceutical companies haven’t already taken up the idea! Finally, be sceptical of simple analysis. If we think back to our previous discussion on fats, we saw how the concept of reducing all fats is inappropriate and false given how many fats are necessary to healthy living. Medical myths are everywhere but educating yourself moves you one step closer to a healthier and informed lifestyle.


[1] “Calories in Alcohol.” NHS. 16 December, 2012. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/calories-in-alcohol.aspx.

[2] “Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centre Directory.” Treatment4Addiction. 2010. http://www.treatment4addiction.com/rehab/.

[3] “Fat and Calories.” Cleveland Clinic. 24 May, 2012. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/obesity/hic_fat_and_calories.aspx.

[4] “Fat Does Not Make You Fat.” Drhyman.com. 27 November, 2013. http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/11/26/fat-make-fat/#close.

[5] “Medical Mythbusters – Eating Late at Night Makes You Fat.” Ohio State University. 31 July, 2009.  http://shs.osu.edu/blog/medical-mythbusters-eating-late-at-night-makes-you-fat.

[6] “What Is The Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats.” About.com. 2 July, 2014. http://cholesterol.about.com/cs/faq/f/difference.htm.

[7] “What You Should Know About Popular Diets.” Nutrition.gov. 7 July, 2014. http://www.nutrition.gov/weight-management/what-you-should-know-about-popular-diets.

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As a writer working with one of only two licensed online pharmacies in the USA we are strongly interested in promoting and creating content aimed at JustDietNow readers as part of our role as a responsible, ethical healthcare business. It is important that we play a strong role in leading society towards a healthier lifestyle through the promotion of exercise and natural dietary alternatives rather than an early adoption of drug treatment.


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