Four Nutrition Myths That May Be Hurting Your Health

An interview with Dr. Christopher Mohr, sports nutrition advisor for Men’s Fitness Magazine

Have you ever decided to skip a great looking breakfast because you thought the eggs might raise your cholesterol?

Perhaps you avoid the salad and vegetables on your plate and eat just the meat at dinner time to limit your carbohydrate intake. Or maybe to cut calories, you avoid putting oil on your salad.

For heart health, do you choose to drink low-fat milk rather than whole milk?

“Most of us would think that by doing any or all of the above we would be significantly safeguarding our health,” says nutrition expert Dr. Chris Mohr. “But that is not the case. ‘Stay away from eggs,’ ‘fat is bad,’ ‘carbs are the enemy,’ ‘saturated fat is evil,’ the list goes on-and-on, but such sensible dietary maxims are in reality just nutrition myths.”

It is difficult to keep up with the most current nutrition studies, even for doctors, Dr. Mohr admits.

Let us take a look at the four most widespread nutrition myths, as Dr. Mohr separates fact from fiction:

Myth #1: Do not eat eggs.
Fact : We hear this all the time, but here is the deal: You can and should eat eggs, and the whole egg, not just the yolk.

They are an amazing source of protein, choline and other powerful nutrients. People think “don’t eat eggs” solely because they are high in cholesterol, but eating cholesterol does not translate to having high cholesterol. Get your eggs from a local farmer, if possible, or a nearby Farmer’s Market. Cage free, free-roaming chickens eat what chickens should eat, have full access to roam around, and produce healthier eggs that are loaded with even more nutrients.

Myth #2: Fat is bad.
Fact: Wrong again. Fat is incredible for you. The right types of fat, that is.

Omega-3 fats, in particular the kind from cold water fish, like wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies are essential, meaning you have to get them from the diet because your body does not make them. And omega-3 deficiency is a leading dietary cause of death!

Myth #3: Carbs are the enemy.
Fact: While some carbs are the enemy, many are not: Veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains are all incredible for you. The key is eating things in their most natural state; for instance, whole grains. Not a breakfast cereal that is “made with whole grains”, which usually means it is somewhere low on the ingredient list.

If you get most of your carbs from veggies and fruits, and some from beans and grains, you will do really well. Just eliminate the soft drinks and other products with useless added sugars.

Myth #4: Saturated fat is evil.

Fact: New science changed our idea on this one pretty recently. Just when we thought we had it straight, more data came out showing certain types of saturated fat are not so bad after all and may actually boost HDL; “the good cholesterol”!

There are different types of saturated fats. One, called stearic acid, is found in whole-fat dairy, dark chocolate and coconut, and may actually be OK for you. Now, keep in mind, we are not suggesting going hog-wild with saturated fats, like going on a chocolate bender, but if the saturated fats you do eat are mainly from those foods, you will be better off.

Dr. Mohr, Ph. D., RD., CSSD, earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University and University of Massachusetts, respectively. He earned his PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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