You don’t have to spend hours and hours of exhausting cardio to lose weight, that you shouldn’t eat at night if you didn’t want to get fat, that your genetics aren’t good enough, and many other mistakes that were foisted upon you by magazines and trainers.
Here are some common diet and nutrition myths that you believed:
Diet & Nutrition Myths
1- Starvation Mode Myth (Fasting)
You probably heard this a million times, and the funny part is that it seems to make logical sense.
If the body goes too long without eating, wouldn’t it think it’s being starved and drastically reduce its metabolic speed? In order to better deal with future starvation, wouldn’t it increase the rate at which it stores fat once we eat?
Although it looks logical and seems theoretically plausible, it is not true.
Fasting does not affect your metabolism:
The University of Rochester conducted a study that showed metabolic rate did not decline until 60 hours of fasting (the reduction was a mere 8%). In fact, the metabolism actually speeds up after 36-48 hours of fasting.
The body goes into “starvation mode” after about 72hours (3 days) of not eating, at which point the primary source of energy becomes the breakdown of proteins, and the biggest source of protein in the body is the muscle.
Until then it relies on body glycogen and fat stores in the liver and muscles for its main energy, nothing more than routine biological functioning. Once the body has to begin breaking down proteins for energy, it knows it is survival imperiled, and that is when the real starvation mode truly begins.
What happens when we lose muscle? We become physically weaker, our metabolism slows down, we become more vulnerable to diseases.
2- The Body Can Only Absorb A Certain Grams Of Protein Per Meal
Each source recommends a different number in this myth. Some sources say 30 grams is the max, while others say 60.
As with many issues of nutrition, there is no simple answer. If it were true that a person can only absorb a relatively small amount of protein per meal, then the method “super-dosing” daily protein needs into 2-3 meals would result in protein deficiencies. This assumption begs the question of how the human species survived the hunter-gatherer days.
The science behind protein absorption:
In order to understand the issue at hand, let’s look at what actually happens when you eat protein.
Your stomach uses its acid and enzymes to break the protein down into its building blocks, amino acids. The amino acids are transported into the bloodstream by special cells that line the intestines and are then delivered to different parts of the body.
Now, your body only has so many transporter cells, which limits the number of amino acids that can be infused into the bloodstream every hour. This is what we are referring to as “protein absorption”.
Also, food substances don’t move uniformly through the digestive tract, and they don’t leave sections in the same order that they originally came in. For example, the presence of protein in the stomach triggers the production of a hormone that delays “gastric emptying”. This slows down intestinal contractions and causes the food to move more slowly through the small intestines. Where nutrients are absorbed, this is how your body saves the time needed to absorb the protein you eat.
Moreover, carbs and fats can be absorbed while your body is still working on the protein.
Once the amino acids make it into the bloodstream. The body does many things with them, like tissue growth and repair, and it can temporarily store excess amino acids in muscle for future needs (up to 24 hours).
If the body did all the above and still amino acids in the blood, it can break them down into fuel for your brain and other cells.
3- Eating At Night Will Make You Fat
If you overeat during the day instead of late at night, there’s no difference in the effect of those extra calories. Weight loss is such a precise activity that if you eat too much in just one meal but stick to your meal plan, you can fail to lose fat that day.
The French National Institue of Health and Medical Research highlights several key findings relating to meal frequency:
- Meal patterns do not directly accelerate weight loss, but can surely predispose people to overeat, thus fail to lose weight.
- Newer research has shown that there are no metabolic advantages to eating less or greater meals per day.
- Studies that associated a style of eating many small meals per day with greater weight loss were flawed in various ways, and the conclusions drawn from them even more so.
Studies have shown that eating larger meals later in the evening can result in more fat loss and less muscle loss.
4- Diet Soda Is Bad For You
Research has associated regular consumption of sucrose-sweetened beverages (table sugar) with eright gain and obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
So, many soda drinkers switched to diet versions of their favorites, thinking to be a relatively healthy alternative. By drinking diet soda, you reduce your caloric and fructose or sucrose intake, which are good things for both weight loss and general health.
While that may be the case, research is showing that artificially sweetened beverages come with many of the problems of their sucrose-sweetened counterparts.
The center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health conducted a study that analyzed 14 years of dietary information for 66,118 women and concluded that both artificially sweetened and sucrose-sweetened beverages increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.
There are several possible explanations of why artificial sweeteners have this effect:
- Aspartame, one of the most used artificial sweeteners, produces a similar insulin response as sucrose.
- Regular use of artificial increase both triglyceride and blood glucose levels. Which, in the long run, can cause various types of diseases.
- Increases in sweet preference and appetite have been linked with increased consumption of artificially sweetened beverages.
While there’s still a lot of research to be done concerning artificial sweeteners’ impact on weight control and general health. The scale of scientific evidence is leaning in favor of reducing intake.
Therefore, Staying away from sweet drinks altogether, you’ll dodge the many health risks they carry.