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Nutrition Myths, BUSTED

Eggs raise cholesterol.

This has been a contested topic for many years, however a 2018 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition may have finally closed the door on this debate. In a group of 128 participants who ate 10-12 eggs per week for 6 months saw no statistically significant increase in LDL cholesterol or increase in blood pressure. Additionally, participants experienced some weight loss (1).

Keep in mind nutrition research has relied on participants to recall their food intake, which can skew data drastically. Also, eggs in the morning are normally accompanied with bacon, pancakes, and syrup. Instead, try enjoying eggs with heart healthy options like avocado, salsa, and black beans.

Verdict: Eggs together with a whole foods diet can be beneficial and have not been shown to increase cholesterol levels.

All carbs are bad.

Every few years a new fad diet emerges preaching about the dangers of carbohydrates. Yes, it is true, the body can survive without a single gram of carbohydrate. However, this might not be the best option. Carbs are a macronutrient that contain carbon,

hydrogen, and oxygen. They can be broken into three categories: sugars, searches, and fiber. Recently, sugar alcohols have been added to list, however they have little to no caloric input. See below (diet sodas) for why they are not a beneficial addition to your diet.

Additionally, carbs are broken down into whole and refined. It is important to understand that carbohydrates in their whole, unaltered, form will be the most supportive of your health goals while refined carbs have been stripped of nutrients and fiber.

Whole carbs are found in fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. The fiber found in these are helpful in keeping blood sugar balanced, reducing cravings, and feed beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.

Refined carbs are found in fruit juices, processed foods, white breads, pastries, and white rice. Having been stripped down they are left with no fiber sending blood sugar on a roller coaster leading to cravings, irritability and even weight gain.

Verdict: Don't blame carbs, focus on whole, unrefined, and unprocessed fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains.

Agave is a healthy sugar alternative.

"Don't worry, I only use agave" is a statement I have heard way too many times. Agave has benefited from an amazing marketing scheme and has tricked many people into believing it is a healthy option. It is true, agave is a low GI food, meaning it may be suitable for diabetics and will not raise blood sugar dramatically.

However, agave usage is linked to serious diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can eventually impair detoxification, fat digestion, and blood sugar regulation. Additionally, it has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease. (2) This may be because agave is mostly made up of fructose molecules that skip the rate limiting step of sugar breakdown, sending it immediately to the liver without processing.

Verdict: Skip the agave, find a whole food sweetener like banana, dates, or apple sauce.

Diet soda is better than regular soda.

I remember being a kid in the grocery store asking my mom "why wouldn't you buy the sugar free, isn't less sugar better?" Her response blew me away, "well some things are just too good to be true." She was completely right! Just because something is sugar free we have to look at what is replacing the sugar. In the case of diet sodas, they are full of artificial sweeteners. These sweet tasting chemicals have been linked to cancer, gut microbiome alterations, and even obesity.

In a 2019 study in the journal of Pediatric Obesity, children who consumed artificial sweeteners before or at mealtime were shown to consume more total calories than those who just had water. (3) This same association of increased calorie consumption and cravings have been show in adults too.

Verdict: Skip the soda, if you are looking for bubbles grab a seltzer or kombucha.

Diets work the same for everyone.

Each year, 5 million diet books are sold in the United States alone making the business of losing weight a $72 billion dollar industry. This should tell you something, if diet books worked, would people need to keep buying new books or follow the latest trend? There are thousands of different methods out there because everyone has their own opinion and experience. Our bodies are all incredibly different, our genes, environment, gut microbiome, heritage, and stress levels. There are so many factors that go into losing weight that it is impossible for one blanket diet to work for everyone.

Use your money to purchase quality produce and meats or a gym membership at a place that gets you excited to go, rather than these books filled with empty promises. Additionally, work with a qualified nutritionist who can help analyze your lifestyle and make individualized recommendations.

Verdict: Save your time and money for a qualified nutritionist who can make a plan just for you.

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