Between social media, trendy fads, celebrity-endorsed wellness products, and the *latest* buzzing research, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not when it comes to healthy eating. To be honest, the slew of information out there can become extremely confusing. Think about all the mixed information we’ve heard for years — carbs cause weight gain, fats are bad, snacking isn’t healthy. With so much contradictory information, it’s hard to differentiate healthy eating myths from reality!
If you’re feeling lost, you’re not alone. Ahead, we’re debunking some of the common healthy eating myths, plus why it really comes down to finding the approach that works best for you.
The Top Healthy Eating Myths Debunked
Myth #1 Restrictive Dieting is The Only Way to Lose Weight
Glorifying a restrictive mindset can be harmful both mentally and physically — yet, the calories in calories out method is still one of the top healthy eating myths believed by many. You might be subscribing to this healthy eating myth without even realizing! Marketing is sneaky and restrictive weight loss diets can be easily disguised as health hacks.
While calories are an important part of a weight-loss protocol, restrictive dieting isn’t the answer. Obsessing over calories and cutting out certain food groups tends to backfire and can lead to unhealthy eating habits and behaviors like binge eating. Even if you initially lose weight on a restrictive diet, research shows you’re more likely to gain back the weight, plus some!
A balanced lifestyle that involves healthy eating, exercise, stress management, and good sleep hygiene is a healthier and more sustainable approach to weight loss. Yes, losing weight can include ALL macronutrients (carbs and healthy fats, too!) without counting every calorie or macro.
Myth #2 Carbs Cause Weight Gain
With the rise in keto, paleo, and intermittent fasting, carbs have gotten a bad rap. While this is one of the oldest healthy eating myths, unfortunately, it’s still buzzing today.
Not all carbs are created equal, and including healthy carbs in your diet won’t make you gain weight. This goes for fruit, too. Colorful, antioxidant-rich fruits are some of the healthiest foods! Plus, other carb sources like root veggies, legumes, and whole grains can provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals and can even help build lean muscle when consumed post-workout.
When consumed as a part of a balanced diet, healthy carbs can support weight loss and be a rich source of nutrients. But, be mindful of excess sugar and processed carbs, which can deter weight loss efforts.
Myth #3 Fats Are Bad
Some fear high-fat foods, while others (such as those on the keto diet) can’t seem to get enough. So, what’s the truth behind these healthy eating myths? Well, at FitOn, we’re all about balance. Instead of following the latest fad diet or becoming obsessed with the macros in your food, try to tune out the noise and tune into your body. If you feel best on a higher fat diet, keep it up! The main takeaway is to drop the judgment and instead, try to notice what makes you feel the best. And fats can be a very healthy part of that balance!
Healthy fats (such as unsaturated fats like avocados, seeds, and nuts) are an essential part of a healthy diet. For starters, fat-soluble vitamins depend on fat for nutrient absorption. Plus, healthy fats have been shown to improve cholesterol, benefit heart health, and even promote weight loss.
Healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are an essential part of a healthy diet. But keep in mind, fats contain 9 calories per gram. When it comes to weight loss, moderation is key!
Myth #4 Snacking Isn’t Healthy
There are a lot of healthy eating myths out there, with many negative claims surrounding snacks. Don’t get us wrong — snacking on junk food and mindlessly munching can lead to weight gain and unhealthy eating behaviors — but all snacking isn’t bad.
Research has shown snacks high in protein and fiber can increase satiety and reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin, helping to prevent overeating and even reduce total daily calories consumed. Other studies suggest these snacks can even support weight loss.
Plus, having a healthy protein-rich snack throughout the day has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. Some delicious protein-rich snacks include a protein shake made with a clean protein powder, a hard-boiled egg with some almonds and fruit, or a cup of unsweetened greek yogurt with berries.
Myth #5 You Shouldn’t Snack Before Bed
Speaking of snacks, one of the biggest healthy eating myths is the notion that eating after hours leads to weight gain. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t pack on the pounds once the clock strikes six pm — that’s if you’re making healthy choices, of course.
While late-night eating has been deemed off-limits for your waistline, research suggests otherwise. Small protein-rich snacks, like a serving of homemade chia pudding or a yummy protein-rich energy ball, appear to have no impact on weight gain when consumed before bed and can even benefit protein synthesis, stabilize blood sugar, and improve sleep.
Fact: Having a late-night snack can be beneficial when you reach for healthy options. If you’ve got a case of the midnight munchies, here are the healthiest late night snacks to eat that won’t hurt your waistline.
Myth #6 Healthy Eating Means You Have to Give up Your Favorite Foods
Healthy eating is all about finding healthy lifestyle habits that are sustainable and enjoyable. Rather than deeming your favorite foods off-limits, try swapping out the not-so-healthy ingredients for some healthier alternatives!
Fact: Depriving yourself of your favorite foods isn’t sustainable. And, with so many healthy foods on the market, there’s no need to give them up! Instead, find healthy alternatives or simple swaps.
Try these healthy swaps for common comfort foods. Zucchini noodles instead of pasta, cauliflower pizza instead of regular pizza (plus, try dairy-free cheese!) Kombucha or seltzer instead of soda, banana nice cream instead of ice cream, roasted chickpeas instead of chips.
Myth #7 The Latest Diet Trends Are Right For Everyone
We saved the best for last: there’s no such thing as a universal diet that is going to work for everyone! It can be easy to get influenced by the outside world, especially with the prevalence of social media and marketing. But please, keep this in mind! What works for one person may not work for someone else. Everyone has different genetics, health concerns, goals, and nutritional needs.
There’s No One Size Fits All Approach
With so much contradicting health information, you have to be your own advocate when it comes to finding a plan that works for you. What works for one person may not work for the next. The important thing to remember is there is no one size fits all approach.
Follow your own wellness plan based on your individual goals and needs. This approach is much healthier and more sustainable in the long run!