Ahhh, nutritions myths, one of my favourite topics! The constant desire of people looking for a quick fix, biohack, or magic pill meets bad science, lacking evidence and superstition, giving birth to a never ending onslaught of diet myths. But occasionally there is something to be learnt from even the ugliest nutrition offspring. Let’s take a look!
Many people think of organic food as being healthier. But what does healthy even mean in the context of food? Frequently the answer is “higher in nutrients” or “less pesticides are used”. But there is actually no scientific data showing it!
So, are you throwing your money out of the window by buying organic food? For me, there is a clear answer to this: No! Even if organic food isn’t any “better” than conventional food, I like to support organic farmers. Most of them are unique personalities, pioneers in their field of work, people who like to go against the grain, small producers, often living their dream. And I like to support everybody who lives their dream.
Even if it doesn’t concern you, try to buy local, in-season foods whenever possible. Seek out farmers markets and get inspired by the fresh products. In additition, local, in-season foods simply taste better, are better for our environment and are higher in nutrients than anything that got shipped to you from the other end of the world.
But is there anything good about buying organic food? Yes, I think it can be a game changer for some people. Literally an identity changer, to be precise. By constraining yourself to organic food, you can switch to a mindset that is more health-concerned than otherwise. Organic food isn’t cheap, so buying and eating those foods is associated with a higher cost, making your decisions more impactful and helping with mindfulness. This can help you switching to a healthier identity in the long turn, so consider this step if you want to improve your overall health.
Quit Eating at 7PM
There is this idea that stopping to eat at a certain time will somehow lead to more fat loss. Still, there isn’t any data supporting this myth. Your body doesn’t care much about when you feed it, it only cares about energy balance. So yes, you can eat late at night and still loose weight, as long as you stay in a calorie deficit over the long term.
On the other hand, a simple rule like “never eat after 7pm” can stop one of the most widespread causes of weight gain: snacking. Mindlessly snacking on energy dense treats in front of the TV is a common habit, deeply ingrained in our society. After a long, hard day, you have deserved your tub of ice cream, right? As if the habit of mindlessly snacking isn’t already bad enough, most of the time the food choice is pretty bad. As I already mentioned in an earlier article, eating ultra-processed foods is troublesome on its own.
For most people the simple rule can combat this habit, helping tremendously with weight loss. Nothing magical, but a nice little trick, if you are guilty of snacking at night.
Clean eating, paleo, and veganism
If done properly, clean eating, paleo, veganism and other similar diet types can improve health and body composition. But not necessarily by some “special” benefit those diets often claim to have, they just more or less directly limit the amount of junk food available. I’ve already mentioned the downsides of ultra-processed, high calorie foods above and if you want to learn more about it, read this article. Long story short: they are almost devoid of micronutrients, are highly palatable, low in protein and fiber and therefore cause overconsumption of calories.
Also, those diets force you to cook, which is incredibly important! Where would mankind be without learning how to cook? Cooking a meal and celebrating eating it together is a deeply ingrained ritual, nowadays on the verge of extinction, considering the common practice of getting some junk food and mindlessly devouring it while watching Netflix.
I would argue that people are more aware of the food they are consuming if they had to put some work into it by cooking it themselves. If you think about it, it would also make sense, because it is a more natural way of obtaining food. You don’t just order it! You think about what to cook. You go on “the hunt” for ingredients. You pay them and carry them home. You prepare them, cook them, and share them with your loved ones. That’s how it’s supposed to be and that’s how you should do it.
And cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, just take a look at the recipes on my blog and I am sure you will find something fitting for your needs.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Mainstream media never gets tired of telling people that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even my beloved Jamie Oliver is guilty of this. But he got brainwashed into it by said mainstream media (and bad uneducated nutritionists), so I can’t blame him. And also I have been guilty of telling it to people a few years ago. It seems to be perfectly fine, given there are studies out there that seem to show that people who have a breakfast are less likely to be obese and more healthy in general. So, what is wrong with it?
The good, old “mistaking correlation with causation” trap! Yes, people who regularly eat breakfast are more healthier, but this has nothing do to with breakfast per se. Those people have a structured approach to nutrition and a healthier lifestyle overall. This is what counts, not if you are having breakfast or not.
We have good evidence that breakfast isn’t something special, at least as nutrtition is concerned. But there is a mounting body of evidence that is important to have a fixed number of meals at (mostly) fixed times during the day. The solution is simple: Do you like breakfast? Fine, have it, every single day. Don’t like breakfast? Also fine, just never have it! Just make sure you have some structure in your diet.
As you can see, all the nutrition myths mentioned above don’t have any science backing them up, but they can help some people transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. Therefore I wouldn’t disregard them completely and rather use them as a tool for certain types of clients that need easy to follow ways of improving their diet.
Are you struggling with a boring diet or are you not enjoying your training anymore? Contact me and let us talk how we can reach your body composition or strength goals and let training and eating be fun again!