Here are 4 Food Myths You Need to Look Out For

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Here are 4 Food Myths You Need to Look Out For
January 20, 2023
RxLocal Team

These Food Myths Are Too Good to Be True

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Armchair doctors will willingly spread false information on whatever question you have. The online world is a minefield of mistruths, so tread lightly.

This is especially true when it comes to our diets. Food has never seemed more complex and open to speculation. One website might sing the praises of bananas and another will explain why it’s the bane of our collective existence.

Though there is misinformation on every corner of the web, there are also ample resources that will guide you to the truth.

We are here to dispel some of the most pressing food myths currently filling our airwaves. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is.

Here are some of today’s most popular — and even dangerous — food myths.

1. Intermittent Fasting is a One-Way Ticket to Weight Loss

The concept of intermittent fasting is extremely appealing. Adopting a fasting schedule gives you the freedom to set your eating window. You get to have control of when you can eat and when to fast.

That first meal of the day tastes a little better too. The caveat to intermittent fasting is exactly that, however: the first meal. Intermittent fasting works best when you focus on calorie restriction.

It’s very likely that you’ll skip a traditional meal — like breakfast — when fasting. The food myth here is you could eat a large, calorie-dense meal that would equal your breakfast and lunch.

Doing that will negate the progress you made after fasting, and you will not see the results you’re looking for. Intermittent fasting is all about letting the body regulate itself after not having food for a safely prolonged period of time — also known as ketosis.

So no, intermittent fasting is not a one-size fits all diet plan that will take a few numbers off the scale. It can only do that if you meet it halfway. Have a steady diet, eat moderately, and don’t gorge yourself on a breakfast/lunch hybrid.

Read our “How To Create the Best Intermittent Fasting Routine” blog for more tips on correctly adopting a new diet plan.

2. It’s All About Calorie Restriction

We all wish this was true. Going back to the intermittent fasting section, calorie restriction plays a part in weight loss.

Think of calorie restriction as a way to prepare your body for that glorious first meal. The food will taste better, but the calories, fats, sugars, and carbs are equally as potent.

Take a cheeseburger, for example — that glorious combination of meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

A standard McDonald’s cheeseburger clocks in at 300 calories, according to the restaurant’s website. That doesn’t sound so harmless, right?

When you see other meal combos from other restaurants nearing the 2,000-calorie mark, a lowly 300-calorie burger sounds like a godsend.

That’s the food myth: a 300-calorie burger is okay to eat because, well, it’s only 300 calories. But what goes into those 300 calories? What makes the foundation of that seemingly glorious caloric figure?

The answer, as you probably already know, is not a whole lot. A cheeseburger — especially from fast food chains — is the poster child for empty calories.

There are very few nutrients found in a burger (no, that strip of lettuce or thinly cut tomato will not give you a clean bill of health).

The truth about this food myth is you need to instead look into what goes into those calories. Salads are your best friend in this case.

Some low-calorie (but nutritionally dense) recipes include:

  • Cod with cucumber, avocado, and mango salsa salad
  • Veggie olive wraps with mustard vinaigrette
  • Smoky mushroom burgers with roasted garlic mayo
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Lentil soup

3. Avoid Carbs at All Costs

One of the most popular food myths is that you need to steer away from carbohydrates by any means necessary. Carbs are mainly associated with weight gain, which may sound distressing for those fulfilling their New Year's resolutions.

Armchair doctors might tell you carbs are to be avoided like the plague, urging you to swear off bread and french fries (though they might have a point on the fries part).

This diet myth is purely fiction because carbs have an important role in your diet. The key — as with anything with your diet — is to consume carbs the right way.

Mayo Clinic defines carbs as a macronutrient naturally found in plant-based foods such as grains. Some of the most common sources of carbs include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Seeds

The best way to get the best out of carbs is to eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

A healthy relationship with carbs can protect your body against obesity, rectal and colon cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Granted, there is a downside to carbs, but they’re mainly the manufactured, starchy type: too much bread, supersized french fries, etc.

In fact, the Mediterranean diet — one of the most well-known healthy diets — encourages the addition of carbs and other seemingly unsavory food types. It focuses instead on moderation and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.  

It’s hardly ever healthy to swear off a key component of a conventional diet (unless it gives you a legitimate adverse health reaction), so moderation with your carbs is your best friend.

Go on, have a carb. Your body will thank you.

4. Vegetarian = Automatically Healthy

What is the first thing you think of when someone tells you they’re a vegetarian? You’d likely think they are living a sustainable lifestyle with a spotless bill of health. Part of that is genuine.

Becoming a vegetarian makes you more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s as if swearing off red meat also distances you from high-calorie sweets and other dietary pitfalls. In essence, vegetarianism gives you a more direct path to a healthier lifestyle.

However, as with all food myths, vegetarianism isn’t a fool-proof way to lose weight. Though being a vegetarian will put you on a healthier path, you still need to consider what you’re putting into your body.

Processed sugars, fats, and empty calories run rampant in foods other than meats. The key here is to eat as naturally as possible.

Your local grocery store (or even your local independent pharmacy) should have a grocery aisle full of fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re way healthier than even the healthy frozen dinners, and sometimes cheaper than them.

Telling Food Fact from Food Fiction

The internet hosts all sorts of food myths. We all secretly wish there were one diet plan that’d be the answer to our culinary questions. In fact, we’ve written several blogs about some of these food fads.

Food myths exist because we know dieting is hard. It requires a ton of discipline, restraint, and ultimately self-love. Food myths encourage you to take the easy way out, but nothing worthwhile is easy.

The truth of all food myths is that better health requires a long path, a scenic route full of twists, turns, and pitfalls.

Choose the road that’s best for you and stick with it through thick — and thin and the results will come.