Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

“An unwavering determination in one’s point of view to consider all the evidence is the only way not to fall into the extremes of fashionable beliefs.”
Alfred North Whitehead, British mathematician and philosopher

It is difficult to find a topic more shrouded in “fog” and false ideas than the problem of healthy eating, because this question is generally very contradictory: what is good for one is unacceptable for another. However, people tend to believe simple unambiguous truths: harmful or useful – without nuances.

Some believe in the unconditional benefit of vegetarianism and excitedly tell that “for a week I do not eat meat, and I feel extraordinary lightness”, for others the lack of meat on the table is a sign of poverty or lack of funds – and nothing more. Some believe that eating exclusively plant foods is the best way to live for optimal health, while others believe that a plant – based diet leads to nutrient deficiencies and disease. As a rule, neither are right, and the truth lies somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. To take the optimal point of view, we are prevented by incorrect established ideas about food and the needs of the human body.

Below we will talk about the most common myths associated with a healthy diet and some products, as well as how things really are with these or other of our sustainable ideas.

Myth # 1: humans were created to eat meat

Fact: human anatomy suggests otherwise. Man is made to eat meat sometimes.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

Eating meat products emerged as a survival mechanism in certain circumstances. However, our digestive system is very similar to the digestive system of other herbivores and is very different from predators.

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The argument that humans are predators because they have so-called” dog teeth “is untenable: some herbivores have” dog teeth”, but the molars for predators are quite unusual and are available only in humans and herbivores.

Myth # 2: vegetarians don’t get enough protein from plant foods

Fact: the total protein content of fruits is much more than a person needs. And contrary to popular myth, it is quite complete proteins. Let’s just look at the numbers and what science has to say about it.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

According to the recommendations of nutritionists, a person should receive from 2.5 to 11% of proteins from the total diet (depending on age, sex, physical activity). This amount of protein in our food is easily supplied by fruits and vegetables. The caloric content of vegetables on average is provided by proteins by 22 %, beans-by 28 %, cereals-by 13 %, fruits-about 6 %.

Here are the approximate figures of protein content in various plant foods (in % of their total nutritional value):

  • fruit – 6,7 %;
  • nuts and seeds-11 %;
  • grains – 13 %;
  • vegetables – 22 %;
  • beans-28 %.

In comparison, human breast milk contains only 6 % protein – and this is at a time when the baby’s need for protein is high as ever. Professional recommendations for adults-protein content in the range from 2.5 % to 10-11 %, and this is easily provided by plant products.

Myth # 3: legumes are a good source of protein

Fact: in fact, the term “protein source” refers to absolutely all products.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

Because all foods – plant and animal-are sources of protein. You might as well say that food is a good source of protein. And in any case, the protein content in beans (28%) is not much higher than in conventional vegetables (22-24%).

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Myth # 4: vegetable oils are healthier for our body

Fact: in the words of American nutritionist John Mcdougal, “choosing between vegetable and animal oils is like choosing between shooting and hanging.” Here’s why.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

All fats – saturated and unsaturated-are involved in the growth of some cancer cells. Scientific studies have shown that increased fat intake leads to increased incidence of cancer. And worse: unsaturated fats in such advertised oils as corn, safflower, olive, margarine-most of all contribute to the emergence of cancer. And saturated fats, which are most often found in animal products, and which have recently been actively anathematized, are not at all as harmful to blood vessels and the heart as previously thought.

Dr. John McDougall believes that fatty foods (including vegetable oils and tofu) kill our energy, causes blood cells to clump together, can make skin and hair greasy, and greatly affect the presence of excess weight.

Myth # 5: tofu Is a low-calorie vegetable product

Fact: tofu has a fat content of about 54 %, which is more than the fat content of some meats, and much more than the 10-20% fat content of the diet recommended to humans.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

According to the same Dr. McDougall, “soy contains too much fat to be consumed regularly by most people. Tofu is even worse than soy: tofu cheese is rich in fat and poor in dietary fiber, so should be eaten with caution.”

Myth # 6: milk is essential in our diet for strong bones

Fact: in fact, recently nutritionists say the opposite. Dairy products contain a large amount of animal proteins. These excess proteins are excreted through the kidneys in calcium-bound form.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

Knowing the mechanism of calcium metabolism, it is easy to understand why countries with high consumption of milk and meat – USA, Israel, Finland, Sweden – the highest incidence of osteoporosis – a disease of bone thinning due to calcium deficiency. However, in Asian cultures, most people do not consume milk after weaning, while having a healthy skeleton and a normal weight.

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Myth # 7: carbohydrates make us fat

Fact: at least not the carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. For weight gain, others are dangerous – refined carbohydrates that are found in high – processed foods-such as flour or sugar, because they are high-calorie. Fruits and vegetables do not carry such a problem.

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

You can even lose weight by eating a large amount, for example, potatoes, as they do in some American “health clinics”. There, patients consume unlimited amounts of starchy (and therefore carbohydrate) vegetables and lose weight. Carbohydrates do not make you fat, unlike calorie-dense foods such as sugar, flour, butter, milk and meat.

In fact, we have a lot of wrong, but firmly rooted in our minds attitudes and ideas about nutrition. For example, since childhood I used to eat soup with rice or beans (well, there or with vermicelli, buckwheat, millet). But never with rice and beans at the same time. What do you mean, rice and beans? Weird!

Seven Common Misconceptions About Healthy Eating: Myths and Facts

But here is have read information, that these two product very complement each other. The nutrients contained in beans are better absorbed in the presence of rice nutrients – and Vice versa. This has long been noticed by man and is reflected in African, Asian, South American cuisines, where rice with beans is a very common dish.

There are many such examples. Perhaps you have noticed it yourself, and perhaps some of the wrong attitudes were able to refuse. Share your observations in the comments.

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adil sadout

Didn’t know beans that much protein in them