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Top Ten Food Myths

Top Ten Food Myths

New York Times best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman compiled his top ten myths in his book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?1

A majority of Americans believe most of the statements on this list. Yet all of these myths have been proven false. To enhance our health, we expose these myths and show how whole, unprocessed foods can lower our risk of chronic disease.

Together, whole foods and nutritional supplements are powerful medicine for preventing and reducing chronic disease.

Top Ten Food Myths

(click to expose each myth)

1. Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast.

Wrong.

Many Americans consume oatmeal as instant or microwaveable oatmeal, packaged with loads of sugar. Oatmeal has also been found to cause major increases in blood sugar and insulin. According to the American Diabetes Association, instant oatmeal has a high glycemic index, the measure of how much blood sugar increases after the food is consumed.2 Foods with high glycemic indexes can cause and complicate diabetes. High glycemic foods also increase appetite,contributing to weight gain.

Quick oas have a more moderate glycemic index, but still, cause a significant rise in blood sugar. Rolled and steel-cut oats have the lowest effect on blood sugar but are not consumed as much as instant and quick oats. Read your labels. Added sugar is a health bandit.

2. You should avoid egg yolks because they raise your cholesterol and cause heart attacks.

Wrong Again.

After many years of media releases that eggs are bad for the heart, eggs have been found innocent of the charge! The dietary cholesterol in eggs has not been found to cause heart disease.

The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines now recommends eggs as a protein source. Eggs are a high-quality, complete protein. Go for free range, organic eggs for the best effect on health.

3. Orange juice is a great way to start the day.

Wrong.

Dr. Hyman has called orange juice “soda with some vitamins.”3 He points out that a 12-ounce glass has about the same amount of sugar as a 12-ounce can of Coke. Orange juice is just another form of sugar that is robbing Americans of good health. As a rule, favor the whole fruit over the juice. Eat an orange.

4. Red meat is unhealthy and causes cancer and heart disease.

Wrong.

For years, the saturated fat in red meat was said to cause heart disease. As with cholesterol, the truth is that there is no link between saturated fat and heart disease in normal individuals. More and more research is indicating it is, in fact, sugar, carbs, and certain vegetable oils that cause heart disease.4

Because red meat is full of nutrients and a great source of protein, it is not easy to replace, not even with vegetarian diets. Of course, you may not want to barbecue red meat regularly or overconsume processed meats, but red meat, especially free-range or organic red meat, is an important part of a healthy food program. So bite into that bison burger with a slice of avocado….

5. The best way to lose weight is to eat a low-fat diet.

Wrong.

A low-fat diet means a high carb diet. And a high carb diet causes high insulin levels. Since insulin is our fat storage hormone, you do not want to – repeat – you do not want to eat a low-fat, high carb diet to lose weight. A low-fat diet almost guarantees weight gain. A review of 53 studies found that a high-fat diet was better for weight loss in every study.5

The key insight is that the effect your food has on metabolism is more important than the total number of calories consumed. High-quality fats increase metabolism. Carbs lower metabolism. So eat more high-quality fats for weight loss.

6. Gluten-free food is healthy.

Wrong Again.

The gluten-free craze has hit many supermarkets and restaurants, but what is the truth? Gluten-free cakes and cookies are still high in sugar and contain high glycemic flours, which spike blood sugar. To be quite simple about, avoid high-glycemic flours as much as you can since they cause insulin release and fat storage.

If you want to go gluten-free, just go with natural, whole foods and lower your intake of all high carb flours, which are one of the main causes of diabetes and obesity.

7. If you want to lose weight, you should eat less and exercise more.

Wrong.

This myth trades on the notion that weight loss is simply a result of reducing calories or burning more calories. Unfortunately, People fool themselves into thinking it doesn’t matter if you eat 1,000 calories of cookies or 1,000 calories of salmon salad. False!

It turns out that 1,000 calories of high carb cookies, flours, pasta, and sodas impact your metabolism in a much different way than 1,000 calories of vegetables or high-quality fats like salmon or avocado. The reason is that high carb cookies, flours, pasta, and sodas spike blood sugar, release insulin in high amounts, and lower metabolism. The key to weight loss is not calorie numbers, but eating quality fats and vegetables, which promote a faster metabolism.

8. Dairy is nature's perfect food; it is essential for kids to grow and build bones and can prevent fractures.

Wrong Again.

Dairy is perfect – if you are a calf.6

But for humans dairy has not been found to promote healthy bones or prevent fractures. Many of the hormones in dairy cause weight gain and cancer. Many people have dairy allergies and difficulty digesting dairy.

9. You should avoid butter because it has too much saturated fat and causes heart disease.

Wrong.

This is the first food myth I discovered. For decades, people were told to avoid butter. Eat margarine instead. What a crock of lies….

The margarine we were told to eat was made of hydrogenated vegetable oils, which contained trans fats. We now know trans fats CAUSE heart disease and cancer. These hydrogenated oils are now being banned throughout the world, but some unscrupulous food manufacturers are skirting the new laws to continue to put trans fats in our food. They do it because it increases the product’s shelf life. Protect your own shelf life: avoid trans fats.

It turns out butter was healthy all along. As with meat and eggs, choose organic butter for the best effect on health.

10. Vegetable oil is better for you than butter.

Wrong Again.

Butter has a long history of use going back to the time when our ancestors first domesticated animals. It was considered to have healing properties and was used by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. The Chinese considered clarified butter to represent the religious spirit. It has been used for thousands of years as food and as a skin treatment. And recent research has verified that the saturated fat in butter does not cause heart disease.

But industry saw a marketing opportunity early in the 20th century to replace butter with vegetable oils, sometimes hydrogenating it into margarine. They succeeded in replacing butter in many foods with the lie that vegetable oil and margarine was healthier than butter. We now know hydrogenated margarine causes heart disease and cancer, the very diseases we were told margarine would help prevent.

We also now know that many vegetable oils are unstable and go rancid quickly. Because they are very high in omega 6 fatty acids, Vegetable oils cause an imbalance of fatty acids, which creates inflammation. Vegetable oils raise omega 6 fatty acid levels in the blood, a very bad effect when most Americans need more omega 3 fatty acids, found in cold water fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds. When omega 6 levels are too high because of vegetable oil consumption, there is an increased risk of heart disease and inflammation.

The myth that vegetable oil and margarine was healthier than butter has resulted in many tens of thousands of deaths.

Sources

  1. Mark Hyman, MD, Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?.(New York: Little, Brown and Company: 2018), 9-29.
  2. Hyman,Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?, 27.
  3. Hyman,Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?, 27.
  4. Hyman,Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?, 27.
  5. Hyman,Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?, 28.
  6. Hyman,Food: What The Heck Should We Eat?, 28.

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