3 Nutrition Myths Debunked
Klara sets the (newer) record straight.
It can be hard to challenge and change our beliefs about anything. Food, fitness and health practices are no exception. Thanks to continuously emerging nutrition science research we know more now than we once did - and in the future we’ll know even more than we do now.
Many ideas that were once believed to be true are being proven incorrect, allowing new (often less restrictive) thinking to come to the fore.
I have selected three “truths-turned-myths” that you might want to brush up on. It’s all good news.
1. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Not for everyone. Fasting is now widely appreciated for its beneficial effects on the human metabolism and aging. In very basic terms: when you’re not eating, the body can focus on cellular repair and restoration rather than digestion. As such, time-restricted eating may trigger some beneficial health effects, such as reduced fat mass, increased lean muscle mass, reduced inflammation, improved heart function with age, increased mitochondrial volume, ketone body production, improved repair processes and enhanced aerobic endurance. The most commonly practised type of fasting is time-restricted eating where breakfast is delayed and all of the day’s food is eaten within an 8-9 hour window during the day, leaving the rest (15-16 hours, including the hours during which you sleep) for fasting. There are several factors that determine whether timerestricted eating or fasting is appropriate and safe for you. Consult your doctor or dietician before considering any form of fasting.
2. “A calorie is a calorie. To lose weight you need to count calories.”
The Calorie might be one of the biggest delusions in dietary history. We used to think that every calorie provided the body with the same amount of energy, no matter what type of food or micronutrient it came from - whether from a protein or carbohydrate, an almond or a square of chocolate, it’s all the same - ”a calorie is a calorie”... Not quite.
The Calorie might be one of the biggest delusions in dietary history.
Here’s what we know now: Different people burn different foods at different rates. How we burn our fuel depends on our unique genetic make-up and other variables such as the bacteria in our gut (which differs immensely from person to person) as well as when we eat (see point 1) and how we prepare our food (cooking generally increases the absorption of calories, for example). The sources of our calories matter more than the amount of calories, and not fat but eating sugar is the fastest way to create body fat.
3. “Sleep is for the weak.”
Sleep is much more important for our health than we previously realised. Chronic insomnia is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, depression, anxiety, and more. Apart from lowering your risks of developing preventable diseases, improving your sleep can also result in more immediate benefits such as better skin health, faster weight loss, more emotional “regeneration” and improved cognitive function (learning and memory). It turns out that getting a good night’s shut eye is one of the best and ironically most beneficial things we can do for our mental and physical health.
Do you want more sensible, sciencebased wellness info? Klara has plenty. Be sure to follow her offbeat Instagram feed (@bothsidesbuttered) where she distills the principles of optimal health down to their most fundamental basics, ones that are accessible and easy for us all to follow.
Klara is a Nutritionist and Health Coach with a BSc (Hons) degree from Middlesex University in the UK. She works with corporates and individuals to optimise wellbeing and boost productivity, and regularly writes for a number of leading health and wellness publications, and she speaks at events about the physical effects of psychological stress.
NB: This article is not intended as a healthcare or medical service, nor should any information in it be considered medical advice. Only your physician or other healthcare provider can advise you. We make no claims, representations or guarantees. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle. No information in this article or publication should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. All information is intended for informational purposes only.