Here are the ten most common food myths and misconceptions about what constitutes a healthy diet.
Myth # 1
Eating a plant-based diet is healthier.
This is only partially true and this is a misleading statement!
Fact: Humans evolved eating animal proteins and require these for optimal health. The difference today is that commercial livestock production feeds animals corn and soy based feed which is unhealthy and inflammatory.
Fact: We absolutely do need to eat more vegetables and fruits and this is where our carbohydrate intake should come from – not from grains! Vegetables and fruits should be from low GI sources.
Myth # 2
Eating red meat and other animal products like butter, cream, cheese and shell-fish which are high in saturated fat increases risk for cardiovascular disease and causes high cholesterol.
Fact: 80% of all cholesterol is produced in the body and does not come from food. The real reason for increasing CVD, diabetes, stroke and possibly even cancer is insulin resistance from eating diets high in grains and simple carbohydrates from high glycemic index foods.
Fact: cholesterol is essential to proper hormone production, metabolism and studies prove those with low cholesterol are at higher risk for heart attacks.
Eggs which have been demonized, are one of natures most perfect and healthy foods – provided they come from free range chickens.
Interestingly as margarine consumption increased and butter consumption decreased in the 1950’s heart disease increased.
Grass fed dairy is an excellent source of enzymes and provides healthy fats.
Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat that has numerous health giving properties. In fact, coconut oil improves cognition in early on set dementia, is helping many with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson disease too.
Cholesterol is essential to proper hormone production, brain function and overall metabolism. In fact recent studies show those with cholesterol that is slightly elevated actually have a lower risk of CVD.
What else changed?
“Traditionally, all beef was grass-fed beef, but in the United States today what is commercially available is almost all feedlot beef. The reason? It’s faster, and so more profitable. Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can’t take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.”
*The same can be said for commercially raised poultry
– John Robbins (the only son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire)
Myth # 3
Canola oil is a healthy oil and the best oil for high heat cooking.
Fact: Cell signaling is dependent upon the right fats as designed by nature! It’s the lock and key analogy; you need the right key to fit the lock.
Canola oil is genetically modified and derived from rape seed. Rape is an oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base and as a illuminate for color pages in magazines. It is an industrial oil. This oil is not fit for human consumption.
Poor quality fats like canola oil, soybean oil and man-made trans fats harm health.
Virgin coconut oil or peanut oil are healthy option for high heat cooking. Olive oil, avocado’s and avocado oil as well as macadamia nut oils are all good especially eaten raw. Flax seed oil is excellent but remember never to cook with flax seed oil. See this related post:http://nourishholisticnutrition.com/choosing-the-right-cooking-oil/
Source: Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, Udo Erasmus
Myth # 4
Dairy products provide the best source of calcium.
Calcium is found in many foods. Green leafy vegetables are a high source of calcium along with magnesium, molybdenum, manganese, phosphorous, folic acid, inositol, niacin, riboflavin and lutein. Calcium found in vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, is very easily absorbed by the body and importantly it’s in the proper ratio naturally to magnesium.
Calcium is found in the bones of all pasture raised animals and wild caught fish and seafood. Making bone broths from these animals is another excellent way to increase calcium. Eating wild canned salmon with the soft bones is an excellent source of calcium.
Salt intake should be restricted because this contributes to high blood pressure.
The type of salt matters. Using Celtic sea salt which is high in many trace minerals is essential for health. Trace minerals are required to make electrolytes. Unrefined salt is an excellent detoxification aid, as well as a provider of mineral nutrients in a naturally bio-available balance. Refined salt, stripped of its natural mineral structure, is virtually all sodium. As a matter of fact, it is 97% to 99% sodium! That`s why it is called Sodium Chloride.
Source: Dr. David Brownstein, MD – Salt your Way to Health; Salt Institute, www.saltinstitute.org
Myth # 6
Soy products are part of a healthy diet. Asian cultures consume great quantities of soy and they have lower rates of disease.
The only soy that is safe to eat are fermented soy products such as tempe, miso and tamari. Unfermented soy is highly toxic to the endocrine system and damages the thyroid.
Asian cultures build meals around vegetables and fish and eat small quantities of soy (1-2 tsp. a day); not the quantities being touted as healthy in this country.
Unfermented soy contains phytic acid which blocks the body’s uptake of minerals. Fermentation of soy (as with any bean or legume) breaks down phytic acid making it more digestible so it does not interfere with mineral absorption. Soy is the cheapest crop to grow in the US. In 2009 soybean production was estimated to be worth $2.9 billion. The soy industry has found ways to use virtually every part of the soy bean plant and it is used in thousands of products. Read labels and avid soybean oil!
Many people are highly intolerant of soy and do not know it!
Source: The Soy Deception by Dr. David Brownstein, MD and Sheryl Shenefeldt, CN, CMTA
Myth # 7
Low fat high carbohydrate eating is the best way to lose weight.
People actually gain weight eating this way because the carbohydrates people eat come mostly from grains and other processed foods and not from low GI vegetables and fruits.
High protein / low carbohydrate diets actually help people lose more weight than low fat high carbohydrate diets.
The more high GI carbohydrates an overweight person eats, the more fluids they retain. And, higher carbohydrate meals stimulate leptin production too much, in turn provoking leptin resistance and inappropriate desire for more carbohydrates.
Low fat diets are detrimental to overall health since we need fats to produce hormones and neurotransmitters. It’s eating too many carbohydrates that causes weight gain and insulin resistance.
Source: The Leptin Diet, Dr. Byron Richards, BCCN
Grains are an important source of fiber; you should consume 7 – 11 servings of grains per day.
Eating too many carbohydrates primarily from grains is the number one reason we have seen dramatic increases in obesity in the last 30 years! Remember that leptin increases as we consume more carbohydrates and this leads to weight gain and insulin resistance.
Fiber from plants is superior to that from grains because it is soluble and easy to digest . Eating low GI plant foods has proven to reduce insulin resistance, improve digestive health and reduce weight. Plus vegetables are naturally low in calories and nutrient dense.
The human body actually does not require grains in order to thrive! Grains were only introduced to the human diet rather recently (wheat/oats 10,000 yrs. Rice 7,000 yrs.) and these were not consumed in the huge quantities we do today.
The grains that most Americans eat are gluten containing grains. Many people are now becoming intolerant to gluten containing grains. This type of grain is now linked to many chronic diseases; especially autoimmune diseases and to cancer.
Please note: Commercial livestock production now feeds animals these inflammatory grains (high in Omega 6 vs. Omega 3 EFA’s) – corn and wheat and soy. These grains are some of the most highly genetically modified products on the planet. When we eat animals raised on these inflammatory and GMO’ed grains they go into our bodies and increase inflammation.
Eating low-fat or fat-free products are healthier for you.
When fat content is reduced in products manufacturers increase sugar content to make up for lost taste. In the case of sugar-free they use toxic sugar substitutes that damage health called neurotoxins
These reduced fat substitutes are made from poor quality, rancid fats like canola oil and soybean oil. These fats along with man-made trans fats harm health – not butter, cream or saturated fat from animals who are naturally / pasture raised. Eating fat does not make you FAT!
High fat diets (ketogenic diets) are advised for neurological health by leading doctors such as Dr. David Perlmutter, MD (author of Grain Brain) and Dr. Daniel Amen MD ( author of over 30 books on brain health).
Myth # 10:
Organic foods are no healthier for you than conventionally grown food.
Any product that is grown organically is not derived from a genetically modified organism, which means it’s genes are the way nature intended.
Organic milk and chicken have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Organic produce contains more total phenols than conventional varieties; phenols include flavonoids that work as antioxidants to fight genetic damage that can lead to cancer and even some neurological disorders like Parkinson’s
Organic produce also is free from chemical pesticides: organic farmers use plant-based products to control insects. This means you are reducing the amount of chemicals your body has to process and eliminate. This helps improve digestion and over all liver health because you are reducing your toxic load.
Chemical fertilizers kill microorganisms in the soil rendering it dead. Consider the long-term impact on the environment and animals.
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