Top 10 Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told

Story at-a-glance 

This article reviews my top 10 list of the most widespread, destructive lies typically told by mainstream nutritionists, despite being refuted by science

Millions of people have suffered needless pain and suffering, and premature death, by following commonly recommended low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets

Another nutrition myth is that all saturated fats are bad for you, and the corollary is equally untrue—that cholesterol causes heart disease

Despite what science has taught us about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, they are still recommended by most professional health organizations

Surprising truths are revealed about whole grains, eggs, soy, vegetable oils, and genetically engineered foods

There is no  shortage of health advice out there, and no shortage of bad advice to go along  with it. Some misguided notions are harmless—but others are outright dangerous and can lead you down  the road to chronic health problems and may even trim years off your life.

It is critically  important to decipher fact from fiction. Many nutrition myths get repeated over  and over until they are mistaken for truth, especially when perpetually spread  by public health authorities.

But the good news  is that slowly, the real truth finally appears to be reaching mainstream  audiences, as evidenced by the eagerness of satirists to take a jab at the food  industry, as in the clever Coca-Cola parody featured above.

In an article addressing  destructive nutrition lies, Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition1 is  among those admirably trying to bust the dangerous dietary myths that continue  being spread by so many nutritionists. I agree with the majority of his points,  but have added a few others that I believe to be important. Read on for my own  top 10 list, which builds upon his.

    Lie #1:  Breakfast Is the Healthiest Meal of the Day, and You Should Eat Many Small  Meals a Day

    How many of you  had mothers who would not let you leave the house without breakfast? Mother may  have known best about some things—but  as it turns out, this wasn’t one of them. There is now a good deal of research  supporting the health benefits of intermittent  fasting—which is what you were really doing by zipping out of the house  without breakfast.

Recent studies  suggest that intermittent fasting can provide the same health benefits as  constant calorie restriction which many studies have shown to dramatically  increase life span in animals. It may also be helpful for those who cannot  successfully reduce their everyday calorie intake.

Besides turning  you into an efficient fat burner, intermittent fasting can also boost your  level of human growth hormone production (aka the “fitness hormone”) by as much  as 1,200 percent for women and 2,000 percent for men.

Intermittent  fasting and continuous calorie restriction have both been shown to produce  weight loss and improve metabolic risk markers. However, intermittent fasting  tends to be slightly more effective for reducing insulin resistance.

Other benefits  include reducing inflammation, improving blood pressure, and increased lean  body mass. Intermittent fasting can also improve your brain function by  increasing levels of BDNF, a protein that protects your brain cells from the  changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

There are several  types of intermittent fasting to choose from, so I recommend experimenting  to see what style works best for you. One of the easiest, however, is to simply  skip breakfast, and limit your eating to a narrow window of time each day—say  between 11am and 7pm, to start. You can review my more comprehensive article on intermittent  fasting for more details.

The advice to  “eat six small meals per day” comes from seemingly logical principles (portion  control, keeping your energy up, stabilizing blood sugar, etc.), but in  reality, eating this way has not been shown to provide these benefits. We seem  to need periods of fasting for optimal metabolic function.

And if you think  about it, our ancient ancestors never had access to a grocery store 24/7 and  they went through regular periods of feast and famine. The problem is that most  of us are in 24/7 feast mode. Implementing intermittent fasting is the quickest  way I know of to jump start your body into burning fat as its primary fuel  again.

    Lie #2: Saturated  Fat Causes Heart Disease

    The dangerous  recommendation to avoid saturated fat, which arose from an unproven  hypothesis from the mid-1950s, has been harming people’s health for about  40 years now. As recently as 2002, the “expert” Food & Nutrition  Board issued the following misguided statement, which epitomizes this myth:

“Saturated fats and dietary cholesterol have no known beneficial  role in preventing chronic disease and are not required at any level in the  diet.”

Similarly, the  National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get 45-65  percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20-35 percent from fat, and 10-35  percent from protein. This is the polar opposite of an ideal fat to carb ratio  and virtually guarantees you a heightened  risk of disease.

Most people  benefit from a diet where 50-85 percent of daily calories are derived from healthful  fats. However, you need very few, if any, carbohydrates for optimal health. Although  that amount of fat may seem like a lot, fat is very calorie-dense, and will  therefore still constitute the smallest amount, in terms of volume, on your  plate.

The truth is, saturated  fats from animal and vegetable sources provide the building blocks for your  cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances, without  which your body cannot function optimally.

Fats also serve as carriers for the  fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and are required for converting carotene into  vitamin A, absorbing minerals, and a host of other important biological  processes. Saturated fat is also the preferred fuel for your heart! Good  sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include:

Avocados Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk Raw dairy Organic pastured egg yolks
Coconuts and coconut oil Unheated organic nut oils Raw nuts, especially macadamia, and raw seeds Grass-fed and finished meats

Lie #3: High  Omega-6 Seed and Vegetable Oils Are Good for You

    Of all the  health-destroying foods on the market, those made with highly processed vegetable  and seed oils are some of the worst. When consumed in large amounts, as  they are by most Americans, they seriously distort your important omega-3 to  omega-6 ratio. In a perfect world, this ratio is 1:1—but the average American  is getting 20 to 50 times more omega-6  fats than omega-3 fats. Excessive omega-6  fats from processed foods significantly increase your risk for heart  disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other  illnesses.

The cholesterol  found in arterial plaque is oxidized, damaged cholesterol, which your immune  system identifies as bacteria. In response, your immune system sends out  macrophages to attack it, which creates inflammation inside your artery walls.  A major factor driving heart disease is this oxidized  cholesterol, which you introduce into your body every time you consume  vegetable oils, or foods cooked in them.

Many vegetable  and seed oils are also genetically engineered, which only compounds their  health risk. More than 90 percent of US canola oil is GE. So what’s the best  oil to cook with? Of all the available oils, coconut  oil is the one of choice for cooking because it’s close to a completely  saturated fat—meaning, much less susceptible to heat damage. And coconut oil is  one of the most nutritionally beneficial fats. For more information about coconut  oil, please see our special report. Olive oil, while certainly a healthful  oil, is easily damaged by heat and is best reserved for drizzling cold over  salad.

    Lie #4: Artificial  Sweeteners Are Safe Sugar Replacements for Diabetics, and Help Promote Weight  Loss

    Most people use  artificial sweeteners to lose weight and/or because they are diabetic and need  to avoid sugar. The irony is that nearly all of the studies to date show that  artificial sweeteners cause even MORE weight gainthan caloric sweeteners.  Studies also show that artificial  sweeteners can be worse than sugar for diabetics.

In 2005, data  gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study showed that drinking dietsoft drinks increased the  likelihood of serious weight gain much more so than regular soda.2 On  average, each diet soda the participants consumed per day increased their risk  of becoming overweight by 65 percent within the next seven to eight years and  made them 41 percent more likely to become obese. There are several possible reasons  for this, such as:

  • Sweet  taste alone appears to increase hunger, regardless of caloric content
  • Artificial  sweeteners appear to perpetuate a craving for sweets, and overall sugar  consumption is therefore not reduced, leading to further problems with weight  control3
  • Artificial  sweeteners may disrupt your body’s natural ability to “count  calories,” as evidenced by multiple studies. For example, a Purdue  University study found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed  high-caloric sweetened liquids4

The list of  health risks associated with artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame,  continues to expand. I maintain an ongoing list of studies related to the  detrimental effects of aspartame,  which I recommend you review for yourself if you are still on the fence. I  invite you to watch my aspartame  video, as well.

   Lie #5: Soy Is  a Health Food

    The meteoric rise  of soy as a “health food” is a perfect example of how a brilliant  marketing strategy can fool millions. But make no mistake—unfermented soy  products are NOT healthful additions to your diet, regardless of your age or  gender. I am not opposed to all soy—properly  fermented and preferably organic  soy, such as tempeh, miso, and natto, offer great health benefits, courtesy of  the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) the fermentation process produces.

Thousands of  studies have linked unfermented soy  to a number of health problems, however. More than 90 percent of American soy  crops are also genetically engineered, which only compounds its health risks.5 If  you find this information startling, then I would encourage you to review some  of the articles on my Soy Page. The  following table lists a number of the damaging health effects science has  linked to unfermented soy:

Breast cancer Brain damage and cognitive impairment Heart disease
Thyroid disorders Kidney stones Immune dysfunction
Severe, potentially fatal food allergies Malnutrition Digestive problems
Problems with pregnancy and breastfeeding Reproductive disorders and impaired fertility Developmental abnormalities in infants

Lie #6: Whole Grains Are Good for Everyone

    The use of whole grains  is an easy subject to get confused about, especially for those with a passion  for health and nutrition. For the longest time, we’ve been told that whole  grains are highly beneficial. Unfortunately, ALL grains can elevate your insulin and leptin levels, even whole grains and organic  varieties—and elevated insulin/leptin increases your risk of chronic disease.  This is especially true if you already struggle with insulin/leptin resistance,  which would manifest as high blood pressure, distorted cholesterol ratios, being  overweight, or diabetes).

It has been my  experience that more than 85 percent of Americans have trouble controlling  their insulin and leptin levels and have one or more of the symptoms listed  above. You may be one of those if you struggle to maintain an ideal body weight  and body composition, tend to accumulate fat around you belly, or have a  suboptimal lipid profile. In fact, insulin/leptin dysregulation is a common  indicator for many of the diseases so prevalent today, such as diabetes, heart  disease, dementia, and cancer.

Many whole grains  also contain gluten,  which is a common trigger for allergies and sensitivities. Subclinical gluten  intolerance is far more common than you might think, with symptoms that are not  always obvious. I strongly recommend eliminating or at least restricting grains  from your diet, as well as sugars/fructose, especially if you have any of the  conditions listed above. As a general rule, the higher your insulin levels are,  the greater your grain restriction should be.

   Lie #7: Genetically  Engineered Foods Are Safe and Comparable to Conventional Foods

    Genetic engineering  (GE) of our food may be the most dangerous aspect of our food supply today. I strongly recommend that you avoid  ALL GE foods. Since more than 90 percent of the corn and 95 percent of the soy  grown in the US are GE, then you can count on virtually every processed food  having at least one GE component if it doesn’t bear the “USDA 100% Organic”  or non-GMO label.  Perhaps the most  dangerous aspect of them is that the crops are saturated with one of the most  dangerous herbicides on the market, glyphosate, to the tune of nearly a billion  pounds per year. This toxic chemical can’t be washed off as it becomes  integrated into nearly every cell of the plant, and then gets transferred into  your body.

No one knows  exactly what will be the ultimate impact of these foods on your health,  particularly over the long term. Animal studies have pointed to increased  disease, infertility, and birth defects as the top contenders. The first-ever  lifetime feeding study showed a dramatic increase in organ damage,  cancer, and reduced lifespan. It’s important to realize that, unless you’re  buying all organic food or growing your own, you’re probably consuming GE foods  on a daily basis. In order to avoid as many GE foods as possible, be aware that  the following common crops are likely to be GE unless otherwise labeled:

Corn Canola Alfalfa
Soy Cottonseed Sugar from sugar beets
Zucchini Crookneck squash Hawaiian papaya

Lie #8: Eggs Are Bad for Your Heart

    Eggs are one of  the most demonized foods in the US… thanks to the cholesterol myth. The  misguided belief that cholesterol, such as in egg yolks, will give you heart  disease is simply untrue (see Lie #1). Studies have shown that eggs do NOT have  a detrimental impact on cholesterol levels and are actually one of the most healthful foods you can eat. In one Yale study,6 participants were asked to consume two eggs  daily for six weeks. Researchers found that this egg consumption did not spike  cholesterol levels and did not have a negative effect on endothelial function,  a measure of cardiac risk.

Choose pasture-raised  organic eggs, and avoid “omega-3 eggs” as this is not the proper way to  optimize your omega-3 levels. To produce these omega-3 eggs, the hens are usually  fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Omega-3  eggs are also more perishable than non-omega-3 eggs. Some of the many nutritional  benefits of eggs are summarized for you in the table below.

One egg contains six grams of high quality protein and all nine essential amino acids Beneficial for eye health due to lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants in your lens and retina that help prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts Good source of choline, a member of the    vitamin B family (essential for nervous system, cardiovascular system, and prenatal brain development)
Vitamin D: eggs are one of the few foods that contains naturally occurring vitamin D (24.5 grams) Sulfur (essential component of glutathione, also promotes healthy hair and nails) Many other vitamins and minerals (B vitamins, vitamins A and E, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc)

Lie #9: Low-Fat Foods Prevent Obesity and Heart Disease

    Conventional  recommendations over the past 40 years or more have called for drastically decreasing  the overall fat in your diet, but this fat aversion is a driving force behind today’s  metabolic dysfunction, obesity, and ill health. As discussed earlier, most  people need between 50 and 85 percent of their calories from fats—a far cry  form the less than 10 percent from  saturated fat recommended by the USDA!7 Kris  Gunnars stated it quite nicely:8

“The first dietary guidelines for Americans were published in the  year 1977, almost at the exact same time the obesity epidemic started. Of  course, this doesn’t prove anything (correlation does not equal causation), but  it makes sense that this could be more than just a mere coincidence.

The anti-fat message essentially put the blame on saturated fat and  cholesterol (harmless), while giving sugar and refined carbs (very unhealthy) a  free pass. Since the guidelines were published, many massive studies have been  conducted on the low-fat diet. It is no better at preventing heart disease,  obesity or cancer than the standard Western diet, which is as unhealthy as a  diet can get.”

Let’s face it, if low-fat  diets worked, the United States would be the healthiest nation on the  planet—folks have been following them since the late 1970s! But if you look at  the following graph, you can see that America’s waistline has done nothing but  expand since then. There’s no telling how many people have been prematurely  killed by following these flawed guidelines. Yet, despite mounting research to  the contrary, low-fat diets are stillbeing pushed as “heart healthy” by  the majority of nutritionists, cardiologists, and the like.

    Lie #10: Carbs  Should Be Your Biggest Source of Calories

    I have already  covered how insulin resistance is a key factor in disease (see Lie #4). A diet  high in non-fiber carbohydrates—particularly processed grains and sugar—leads  directly to insulin and leptin resistance. When your highest percentage of  calories comes from healthful fats, these problems just don’t exist. Most  high-carb diets are high in sugar and starch, not vegetables. When the low-fat  mantra swept over the country, the high-carb craze soon followed. When fat was  removed from foods, something had to  be added back in to make foods more palatable—and that something was sugar. Particularly,  highly concentrated forms of fructose,  such as high fructose corn syrup, which spell metabolic disaster for your body.

With fat being  the identified villain (albeit falsely accused), sugar was completely  ignored—even though sugar was the real culprit behind inflammation, metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, and heart disease.  America’s love of sugar was a boon to the processed food industry—which added  fructose to practically everything from soup to nuts… literally. If you want  to see what effects this had on the country’s health and belt size, just turn  on your national news.

A high-carb diet  disrupts your insulin and leptin signaling, and over time may very well result  in type 2 diabetes. By contrast, a diet higher in beneficial fats corrects  these metabolic issues. Recent research has demonstrated that the ketogenic  diet—one marked by carbohydrate restriction and substantial healthful fats—extended  the lifespan of mice by 20 percent, because it optimized their insulin  sensitivity and other metabolic processes. There is evidence that low  carbohydrate diets, combined with appropriate amounts of protein, can even slow  down Alzheimer’s  disease and cancer.

    Now for the #1  Truth…

    The more you can  eat like your ancestors, the better—fresh whole foods, locally and sustainably raised,  and foods that are minimally processed or not processed at all. These are the  types of foods that your genes and biochemistry are adapted to and will provide  you with the ability to reverse and prevent most diseases. You will find these at  your local farmer’s market, food co-op, or in your own backyard garden. And you  will be amazed at the positive changes you’ll see in your health when you  “clean up” your diet!  Be wary of  nutritional advice from mainstream “experts” as it may not be based on science—or  based on bad information that is several decades outdated. Truthful, accurate  information is your number one weapon in taking control of your health.


Source for Story:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.