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10 myths about food

10 myths about food

Diets, superfoods, different food systems … The topic of food is overgrown with opinions and theories. Where is the truth, and where is the myth? Here are ten common misconceptions that have been refuted by new research.

Myth 1. Fractional nutrition works

Frequent and small meals began to be associated with weight loss and increased metabolic rate in the 1960s. Then, based on epidemiological studies, scientists came to the conclusion that there is an inverse relationship between the frequency of meals and weight. Experts have suggested that the more often a person eats, the slimmer he is. This myth was debunked relatively recently.

In 1997, in The British Journal of Nutrition, French experts from the Hotel Dieu clinic in Paris presented a review entitled “Meal Frequency and Energy Balance.” In it, they noted that body weight is regulated not by the frequency of meals, but only by the ratio of energy expended to received energy. In other words, we only lose weight when we are in a negative energy balance, regardless of the number of meals.

Myth 2. There are foods that cause weight gain or loss.

To change body weight, it is not what you eat that matters, but how much. Even eating extremely healthy organic food grown by local farmers, but in excess, a person will gain weight. At the same time, you can lose weight on only one fast food, but keeping a calorie deficit.

However, fast food has other disadvantages, and we in no way recommend leaning on it.

Myth 3. Fructose is healthier than glucose

It was once fashionable to replace glucose with fructose under the pretext that it was supposedly more useful and not stored as fat. This is a myth: glucose and fructose are sisters, and in case of excess calories, their excess will be stored by the body. The first option: excess carbohydrates will be oxidized first, and fat will remain in place. Second option: excess carbohydrates will be converted to fat.

Myth 4. It is imperative to take vitamins

Life is a difficult thing, and constantly monitoring the intake of each of the 13 vitamins (and even minerals) in the right amount is unnecessary stress you do not need. The recommendations of scientists and experts about vitamins boil down to a simple conclusion – it is preferable to get them from food. A varied, healthy diet and plenty of sunlight is much better than a jar of multivitamin tablets.

Vitamins are best obtained from food. A source

It is important to understand that the topic of vitamins is not fully understood by science. Different medical organizations give different recommendations for taking vitamins.

If you eat a variety of foods and eat different foods, a lack of vitamins (as well as an excess) should not threaten you.

Myth 5. Salt is harmful

A separate layer of myths has grown over sodium chloride (or ordinary salt), which zealous adherents of too “correct” nutrition are almost ready to anathematize (like sugar) only because salt retains water in the body. And supposedly for most healthy people this is not healthy at all.

On the one hand, it is almost impossible to meet a salt deficiency even among those who do not salt their dishes at all – baboutMost of our sodium intake comes from common foods, from bread to almost any processed food.

The American Heart Association points out that approximately 75% of our salt comes from processed foods — junk food, processed meats and meats, canned food, and most store-bought products — from salt shakers. Even 100 g of regular bread can already contain about 1/3 of the daily sodium requirement.

However, in some cases, a lack of salt can be dangerous. Sodium chloride is vital, for example if you run a marathon or participate in a bicycle race. You sweat, and sodium and other electrolytes are eliminated with the sweat. If at a distance you drink plain water, and not isotonic with electrolytes (which, however, also do not always correct the situation), the concentration of sodium in the blood decreases.

Hyponatremia is a condition in which the concentration of salts in the body drops by more than 10% of the norm. The norm is 150 mmol / l, but in this case, memorizing this figure is not as important as understanding the essence – the loss of a large amount of salts by the body is dangerous. As a result of hyponatremia, a person’s consciousness begins to be confused, convulsions occur, dizzy, he may lose consciousness. You’ve probably seen this with long-distance runners like the marathon or triathlon.

Myth 6. Cholesterol is your enemy

There is nothing further from the truth than the myth that lowering cholesterol levels will prolong life and make us healthier. Recently, the results of a ten-year study conducted in the Netherlands on 724 elderly people with an average age of 89 years were published. During the observation period, 642 participants died.

The study produced amazing results. Each 39-unit increase in total blood cholesterol was associated with a 15% reduction in mortality risk. The study found no difference in the risk of death from coronary heart disease between the high and low cholesterol groups, which in itself seems incredible considering the number of older people taking powerful drugs to lower cholesterol. Mortality from other causes also had a clear association with low cholesterol levels. According to scientists, among the study participants with the highest cholesterol levels, mortality from cancer and infections (as well as from other diseases) was much lower than in other groups.

Myth 7. Glucose is needed for brain function.

One of the most common myths is that the brain prefers to feed on glucose. Nothing like this! The brain can eat well on fat, moreover, it is considered a superfuel for the brain.

Besides the fact that the human brain is more than 70% fat, this organic compound plays a key role in the regulation of the immune system. To put it simply, omega-3 and monounsaturated (good) fats reduce inflammation, while modified hydrogenated fats, which are widespread in processed foods, increase it. In addition, fat is required for the absorption and transport of vitamins, in particular A, D, E and K. They do not dissolve in water and can only be absorbed in the small intestine in combination with fat.

Myth 8. Stomach is not the cause of headaches

It doesn’t even occur to people that they increase the risk of headaches simply by increasing their waist circumference. Up to 55 years of age, waist circumference is a more accurate predictor of migraine development in men and women than general obesity. Only in the last couple of years have we been able to scientifically prove how strong this connection is. Experts from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia analyzed data from more than 22,000 study participants, which included a large amount of valuable information: from calculating abdominal obesity (by waist circumference) and general obesity (by body mass index) to information on the frequency of headaches and migraines. … Scientists determined that even after declining overall obesity in men and women between the ages of 20 and 55 – the age group in which migraines are most common – excess belly fat was accompanied by an increase in migraine pain. And women who carry extra fat around their waist are 30% more likely to have migraines than slim women.


The risk of headaches is increased by an increase in waist circumference. A source

The link between obesity and the risk of chronic headaches has been unambiguously demonstrated in many other studies. One particularly large study, conducted in 2006, included over 30,000 people and found that chronic daily headaches were 28% more frequent in the obese group than in the normal weight group. Those who were morbidly obese had a 74% higher risk of chronic daily headache.

Myth 9. Modern food is diverse

The microbial community in the gut had to adapt to changing human diets in different eras. From hunting and gathering, society has moved to farming, and now to industrial food production. During this time, some types of bacteria disappeared from the intestines of modern people. The loss of microflora diversity is due to various factors. One of them is the lack of beneficial microbes transmitted through food. The second factor is the lack of plant fiber in our food. For millennia, plants have fed the diverse microflora of humans. Now there are significantly fewer of them in the diet, which causes bacteria to suffer.

The average person in Europe or the United States has approximately 1200 different types of bacteria in their intestines. It seems like a lot. But, for example, an American Indian living in Venezuela in the Amazon region has about 1600 – a whole third more. A variety of bacteria is also observed in representatives of other communities, whose lifestyle and diet are closer to the lifestyle and diet of ancient ancestors. Why? Modern technology has changed our diet (high-calorie foods are processed and produced on an industrial scale) and lifestyle (we disinfect rooms with antibacterial agents and abuse antibiotics), posing a threat to gut bacteria. Finding food in a grocery store is to them the same as finding food in a building materials store. Our habitual foods mean hunger for gut bacteria.

Myth 10. Yogurt shouldn’t be eaten by people who are lactose intolerant.

The oldest case of fermented food consumption is over 8,000 years ago, and almost every culture contains fermented foods. During fermentation, bacteria begin the process of digesting food for us. One of the best known fermented foods is yogurt. For its production, certain bacteria are added to milk – a rich source of lactose sugar. The bacteria ferment lactose, converting it into lactic acid, which gives yogurt its characteristic astringency. You can imagine that this jar of yogurt in the fridge is your external digestive tract, pre-digesting lactose before it enters your mouth. This means that people who are lactose intolerant can eat yogurt, but those who can digest it “yield” some calories to bacteria.

There are many myths around food. What else do you know?

Based on materials from the “Book of a zozhnik”, books “Food and Brain” and “Healthy Intestines”

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