The other day I read an article that has been doing the rounds on social media- common nutrition based myths the majority of people believe. I posted it on our Facebook page so click here is you want to have a read.
I found myself agreeing with quite a few of these myths, and disagreeing with others. It got me thinking about myths that I hear on a regular basis and I thought, why not write my own? Here we go…
Going gluten free is just a fad…
I have heard this a lot lately. That going gluten free just because it’s cool, is bad for your health. And unless you have Coeliac Disease, you are avoiding gluten for no reason what so ever. What utter nonsense! Obviously the people who are saying this know nothing what-so-ever about food intolerances as opposed to food allergies or autoimmune conditions. Read more about these topics here.
Because of our Westernised diet being super wheat-heavy, we can find wheat consumption is a feature of every meal and snack in a common Aussie day. Just think of a regular day of Wheat Bix for breakfast, a bickie for morning tea, a sandwich for lunch, some crackers and tomato for afternoon tea and a spaghetti bolognese for dinner (possibly followed by a Tim Tam or two). I know some of you are horrified by the sounds of this, but plenty of others are probably thinking that sounds like a standard day, give or take a meal. There is wheat in everything there!
Avoiding wheat will not hurt you in any way. It will only hurt the pockets of the big wheat producing companies (most of whom are Monsanto supporters so why not ditch them?).
You need to eat dairy products for calcium…
Dairy we consume these days is not the dairy that it once was. After the pasteurisation, homogenisation, lightening, whitening, adding and stripping, the ‘milk’ that comes out of a supermarket contains almost no available/absorbable calcium. In fact, due to the imbalance of other minerals caused by processing, the dairy itself has been found to encourage calcium leeching from your bones… Just the opposite of what you want it to do.
If you need further proof, look at a traditional Japanese diet. This culture consumed no dairy products, and yet they managed to still have strong healthy bones (until they started eating a Western diet in recent years).
Yes calcium is important, but sourcing it from foods such as green leafy veggies, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds will provide healthy levels without the inflammatory, allergenic side effects of dairy milk.
A raw, vegan diet is the healthiest diet…
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: There is no one size fits all, healthiest diet out there. In studies, the healthiest cultures certainly share important elements of similarity, such as a predominantly plant based diet, very low refined foods, very low processed foods, low sugar intake, and a high intake of fresh, clean water, but there is still no best diet out there.
There may be a best diet out there for you however, and it is up to you to experiment, and find the one that suits you best. Remembering that this diet, once found, may change over time. Being a 100% raw vegan may suit you now, but in 5 years, you may not be feeling the health benefits as much, and another diet could suit your needs.
Rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, maple syrup etc are all NOT sugar…
They may be lower GI, full of nutrients, high in minerals, be a superfood etc, but these products are still forms of sugar. If you were sticking to a 100% sugar free diet such as an anticandida diet, you could not have these products. So many people are taken in by the various ‘health’ books out there claiming to have quit sugar, or tote sugar-free recipes… what they really mean is CANE sugar.
It bothers me when well meaning people start liberally using sweeteners such as these and wonder why they are not noticing all the health benefits they were promised.
Not eating normal food is bad for you…
This was an interesting one I heard recently. That not eating ‘normal’ food like wheat and dairy, is bad for you. This is just not true at all. We don’t have any components of the human body that require a specific food product to live. We require certain elements of foods such as protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, but whether we get these from common food sources, or alternative products, our body will still use them.
Coffee is good for you…
Yes there have been studies showing that extracts of coffee beans can help you lose weight and protect your liver, but these studies are done on elements of the coffee plant. You should not expect to get the same effect from a coffee from your local cafe. Even if it is organic, fair trade, etc etc.
Long term coffee use encourages the exhaustion of the adrenal glands. It can make you feel more tired than you already do. It is addictive and can create a dependence. It also takes 8 hours for the liver to detoxify one cup of coffee. And that is not even mentioning the milk, sugar, cream, etc you might wish to add to your healthy coffee. A coffee occasionally is fine, but convincing yourself that regular coffee intake is healthy, is a great big myth!
Personal Trainers, Health Coaches, Pilates Instructors, Health Gurus, Celebrity Chefs and Your Friend Down the Road, all give excellent diet and supplement advice that should be followed…
Oh no, no, no, no, no, no! I am not saying this to be arrogant or to try to monopolize the health business, I am saying this because people who are not trained in nutrition and natural medicine, are not the right people to take advice from!
This is what it comes down to- years of study, fully accredited health science degrees, being a part of an association and comprehensive insurance. Not a few weeks worth of info, not a couple of online subjects, not through reading a few health books and certainly not because that is what your friend’s Mum’s naturopath told her to do, so you should try it too.
I don’t think for a minute anyone would go to a DIY, self taught, back yard builder for the complete construction of their house, (without consulting anyone else) and nor should you take advice of the people above without further investigation.
Perhaps they are right, and fish oil might be good for you after your training, but perhaps you are also taking a medication that interacts with fish oil which could result in complications or even death. Yes it is that serious. Make sure you get advice from the experts. Your body is your house, it is the only place you have to live, you want to make sure you have the right builders.
Have you got any myths you would like to investigate? Feel free to write them in the comments section below and I will let you know how they stack up against the naturopathic truth!