11 Scientifically Debunked Diet Myths: Which Diets are Really Supported by Evidence?

Dieting is hard. Dieting myths are even harder.

If you’re tired of the same old unproven diet advice, here are 11 myths debunked by science that will change the way you think about dieting forever.

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For a healthy and fit body maintaining a good diet is extremely vital. And to garner information about diet and nutrition most people turn up to the internet. Unfortunately, the internet is stuffed with baseless and false information regarding this subject. 

At Nutrabay we not only aim to provide you quality sports nutrition products but also quality information. In this article, we will be scientifically debunking the top 11 diet myths in the fitness industry.

Diet Myths

Understanding the Importance of a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for a long and healthy life. What we eat has a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being, and can determine our risk for various health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. In today’s fast-paced world, where fast food and processed snacks are readily available, it’s essential to make conscious choices about what we consume.

Eating a healthy diet can boost our immune system, improve our energy levels, and enhance our mood. A balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can provide us with all the essential nutrients we need to function at our best. It’s essential to include a variety of foods from different food groups to ensure we get all the necessary nutrients.

11 Diet Myths Debunked – A Detailed Overview

Diet Myths Debunked

Let’s take a closer look at the 11 most common diet myths that have been debunked by scientific evidence. 

Many of these myths have been perpetuated for years, leading people to make poor dietary choices and hindering their progress towards a healthier lifestyle. 

1. Eating Fats Makes You Fat

A common piece of advice people hear when trying to lose weight is to avoid fatty foods. But did you know that the idea that eating fats makes you fat is actually a bit of a misconception?

While it’s true that the body can store dietary fat as adipose tissue more easily than it can store protein, carbohydrates, or alcohol, the amount of fat you gain ultimately depends on your total caloric intake throughout the day. In other words, if you eat more calories than your body burns, you’ll gain weight regardless of whether those calories come from fat, protein, or carbs.

There have been studies that looked at the effect of different macronutrient compositions on weight gain, where fat intake varied from 20-83%. These studies found that dietary fats don’t directly cause weight gain. Instead, it’s the overall caloric intake that matters. So, if you want to lose weight, the key is to focus on creating a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body burns, rather than just cutting out all fats from your diet.

Eating Fats Doesnt Makes You Fat

2. Carbs Make You Fat

Have you heard the claim that carbs make you fat? It’s a popular belief, especially among those who follow low-carb diets. The idea behind this belief is that carbohydrates cause an insulin spike, which can lead to fat gain. However, this claim is not entirely accurate, and there’s more to the story.

The process of converting carbohydrates into stored body fat is called ‘Denovo-Lipogenesis’. Studies have found that this process is pretty inefficient, meaning that only carbohydrates consumed in excess beyond your body’s requirements are stored as body fat. So, if you’re someone who trains at high intensity and moves a lot throughout the day, you can probably enjoy more carbs without worrying about gaining weight.

On the other hand, if you spend most of your day sitting, it might be a good idea to reduce your carb intake accordingly. However, it’s essential to understand that carbohydrates do not inherently make you fat. In fact, only people with an inherent issue with metabolising carbohydrates (such as diabetic patients) need to be cautious about their carbohydrate intake.

So, while it’s true that excessive carb intake can lead to weight gain, it’s not accurate to say that carbs are the sole culprit. As with most things, moderation is key.

Carbs Does not Make You Fat

3. Egg Yolks Are Bad For You

It’s a common misconception that has led some people to avoid eating them altogether. However, the truth is that egg yolks are actually quite nutritious and can be an essential part of a healthy diet.

One reason why egg yolks have gained a bad reputation is due to their high cholesterol content. While it’s true that yolks contain dietary cholesterol, research has shown that this type of cholesterol is not directly linked to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. In fact, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no connection between whole eggs and an increased risk of heart disease.

In fact, there are many benefits to eating egg yolks. For example, they contain important nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can play a role in reducing the risk of blood clots and other heart-related problems.

Another interesting fact is that when you consume cholesterol from foods, your body actually suppresses its own production of cholesterol, which can be a good thing. This means that eating egg yolks in moderation is unlikely to cause any harm to your health.

And a recent study noted that consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of post-exercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of egg whites in young men. Therefore, egg yolks are not just good for health but also good for gains.

vitamins A, D, E, and K

4. Some diets are superior to others such as Keto, IF, Paleo

It seems like every few months, there’s a new trendy diet that promises to be the answer to all our fitness problems. But what’s the truth behind these claims?

Well, the good news is that studies have shown that the most critical factor in fat loss is simply being in a hypocaloric state, which means you’re burning more calories than you consume. In other words, creating a caloric deficit is key, regardless of the diet you follow.

So, while some diets may have certain benefits or drawbacks, there’s no one “best” diet for everyone. It ultimately comes down to finding a diet that you can stick to consistently, while still being in a caloric deficit.

So, don’t get too caught up in the hype around different diets. Instead, focus on creating a sustainable plan that works for you and your lifestyle. By doing so, you’ll be much more likely to achieve your weight loss goals in the long run.

Best Diet

5. A calorie is a calorie

You may have heard the saying “a calorie is a calorie” when it comes to weight loss, but the truth is a little more complicated than that. While it’s true that the fundamental principle for fat loss is still “calories in vs. calories out,” the “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) ideology takes things too far.

Here’s the deal: not all calories are created equal. The thermic effect of food (TEF), for example, is highest for protein. This means that if you consume a lot of calories from lean protein sources like chicken breast or fish, many of those calories will actually be lost during the digestion process. So, you can eat a lot of protein without worrying too much about gaining excess body fat.

But that’s not the only consideration. The overall nutrient composition of the food you eat also matters. For instance, a chocolate bar and two slices of multigrain bread might have similar calorie counts, but the bread will provide you with more fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for good health.

So, while the number of calories you consume is important, it’s not the only thing you should consider when it comes to your diet. Be sure to choose nutrient-dense foods that will fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.

Protien Diet

6. Eating Too Much Protein Will Damage Kidneys

It’s a common belief that’s been circulating for years, but the truth is a little more nuanced than that.

It’s true that the kidneys play a vital role in filtering waste compounds from our bloodstream and excreting them through urine. And it’s also true that a high protein diet can put extra stress on the kidneys as they work to clear the metabolites of protein from the body. However, this extra load is insignificant compared to the immense workload that the kidneys are already doing every day.

In fact, studies have found that high protein intake is only harmful to people who already have pre-existing kidney diseases. For people with healthy kidneys, there’s no evidence to suggest that a high protein diet is harmful.

In fact, some studies have even shown that very high protein intake (up to 4g/kg body weight) does not lead to any parameters of kidney damage. So, if you’re someone who enjoys eating protein-rich foods like meat, fish, or eggs, there’s no need to worry about damaging your kidneys. As long as you have healthy kidneys, a high protein diet is unlikely to cause any harm.

Protein

7. Creatine Damages Kidneys

Creatine is a natural amino acid that’s present in our muscles, and taking it as a supplement can increase the efficiency of ATP cycle in muscle cells, which in turn can enhance your strength and work capacity.

It’s important to note that creatine and creatinine are two different things. Creatinine is produced by the breakdown of creatine or phosphocreatine in the muscles and is filtered out of your blood by your kidneys and removed in your urine. While an elevated creatinine level can indicate that your kidneys are not filtering waste properly, creatinine itself is non-toxic.

If you’re currently taking creatine supplements, it’s possible that your blood test might show higher than normal levels of creatinine. However, this is not necessarily a marker of poor kidney function, and further testing may be needed to draw a conclusion.

The good news is that creatine is one of the most thoroughly studied sports supplements out there, and studies have consistently found no link between creatine monohydrate and kidney damage. So, if you’re considering taking creatine to enhance your athletic performance, there’s no need to worry about damaging your kidneys as long as you take it in moderation and consult with your healthcare provider beforehand.

8. Sugar is addictive

“Sugar is more addictive than Cocaine” is a popular statement given by many pseudo fitness experts. This idea originated when tests revealed that brain pattern activity is similar after cocaine or sugar consumption. However, it is actually due to the brain’s dopamine release in response to sugar consumption, as your body feels good after consuming something sweet or savoury.

The brain shows similar activity patterns in response to many other things such as sex, adventure activities etc. Other than brain pattern activity there has been no other similarity observed between sugar and cocaine intake. It is true that sugar is highly caloric dense, and reducing sugar intake is a good strategy for weight maintenance but sugar is not at all addictive like cocaine.

Creatine Damages Kidneys

9. Humans are Evolved To Eat Meat

While this idea is often touted by advocates of diets like Keto and Paleo, the truth is a bit more complex.

For starters, true carnivores like tigers and lions don’t consume plants because they have their own ability to synthesise vitamin C, which is essential for survival. If humans were truly meant to eat only meat, we would also have this ability.

In fact, archaeologists have found evidence of grains like barley in the dental plaques of human fossils dating back as far as 30,000 years. This suggests that early humans consumed plant products as part of their diet.

It’s also important to consider that different human populations may have had different diets depending on their geographic location. For example, humans living near the poles may have had to rely primarily on animal meat due to a lack of plant-based food sources, while those closer to the tropics had more access to plant products.

So, while it’s true that humans have historically consumed meat as part of our diets, it’s not accurate to say that we are solely carnivorous creatures. In fact, research suggests that a varied diet that includes both animal and plant-based foods is likely the healthiest option for most people.

Humans are Evolved To Eat Meat

10. Paleo Foods Are What Our Ancestors Ate, Which Is Why They Were Lean

The paleo diet is another popular fad diet. The whole idea of this diet is: “Eat what our ancestors ate 15,000 years ago for a lean physique and longevity”. The primary foods in this diet are meat, nuts, fibrous vegetables and a small portion of fruits. Supposedly all food items which are naturally available in the wild, dairy and all agricultural products are restricted. Advocates of this diet proclaim that it allows you to eat an unlimited amount of food (paleo approved) without counting calories.

But till date, there has been no study which confirms this. Another thing worth mentioning is that none of the food items on a paleo diet list  (except meat) could possibly be accessed by palaeolithic ancestors. For example, this is a wild carrot which our ancestor actually ate.

But the carrot we eat today is much more reddish and sweet. Humans have modified carrots, bananas, broccoli and a host of other ‘paleo approved’ foods. Thus, none of them actually exists naturally and technically they are all human-made foods. Therefore the whole ideology of this diet is baseless. Two reasons why our palaeolithic ancestors were actually lean: First the number of calories available for a given amount of food used to be very less

Second, they used to move a lot. Food was never available 24×7 like today to our ancestors, they used to walk and run for several hours for one meal.

Paleo Foods

11. You Can Not Eat Carbohydrates at Night

This is perhaps one of the biggest and most prevailing diet myth. To date, many fitness experts recommend minimising or eliminating carb intake during the night. The assertion is- as you will be going to sleep, your metabolism will slow down and those carbohydrates will have a greater chance of being stored as fat in comparison to if they were consumed earlier in the day when you are active so that they have a greater probability of being burned. 

Seems reasonable enough. A research done by Katoyose et al. and the team showed that energy expenditure decreased during the first half of sleep approximately 35%.  However, it was also noted that during the latter half of sleep energy expenditure significantly increased associated with REM sleep.  So, there is a rise and fall in sleeping metabolic rate (SMR), And the overall effect metabolism stays the same. Another interesting study done by a group of Israeli researchers kept people on a calorie-restricted diet for a period of 6 months and split them into two groups, a control group, and an experimental group. 

Each group consumed the same amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat but their carbohydrate intake period varied.  The control group ate carbs throughout the day, whereas the experimental group consumed the majority of their carbohydrate intake (approximately 80% of the total) at night.  What they found after 6 months may surprise you. 

Not only did the experimental group who consumed the majority of their carbs at night lost significantly more weight and body fat than the control group, but they also experienced more satiety.

Key Takeaways

Diet Myths
Source: Canva

As we conclude our discussion on the top 11 diet myths debunked scientifically, let’s take a moment to recap the key takeaways.

Throughout this article, we have debunked some of the most common and pervasive diet myths that have been circulating for years. And it is crucial to have a clear understanding of these myths, as they can be detrimental to one’s health and well-being if followed blindly.

When it comes to nutrition and diet, there are countless opinions and theories out there. However, it is important to prioritise scientific evidence over hearsay or personal anecdotes. We have emphasised the importance of relying on reliable and credible sources of information and consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to create a personalised and sustainable diet plan.

In light of the information presented in this article, we encourage readers to prioritise their health and diet. Making healthy dietary choices can have a profound impact on one’s physical and mental well-being, as well as prevent chronic diseases and improve longevity. 

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Which diet has the most scientific evidence?

1. Low-carb, whole-food diet. The low-carb, whole-food diet is perfect for people who need to lose weight, optimize health, and lower their risk of disease.
2. Mediterranean diet.
3. Paleo diet.
4. Vegan diet.
5. Gluten-free diet.

What is the truth about diets?

A diet is any behavior taken on with the intention of losing weight. While dieting seems harmless, the outcome is actually harmful and possibly dangerous. The problem with diets is that they only work–result in weight loss– if you reduce the amount of food energy eaten.

What are 5 facts about nutrition?

Added Sugar Is a Disaster.
Omega-3 Fats Are Crucial and Most People Don’t Get Enough.
There Is No Perfect Diet for Everyone.
Artificial Trans Fats Are Very Unhealthy.
Eating Vegetables Will Improve Your Health.

Why there is no perfect diet for everyone?

There is no such thing as a healthy diet that will work for everyone. People respond to food in such idiosyncratic ways that everybody needs a personalised eating plan, according to results from a study that looked at the effects of genetics, the microbiome and lifestyle factors on metabolism.

What is the most effective diet in the world?

The Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has been named the best overall diet for the fifth year in a row by the editors of U.S. News & World Report.

Does any diet actually work?

Yet research shows that diets don’t work: 90 to 97% of people who lose weight through dieting will regain it back within two to five years. Read on to find out the science behind why diets don’t work. With revenue of over $70 billion per year, you’d assume that the dieting industry offers effective products

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