Most people know that the answer to their health-related problems is usually fairly simple: eating a balanced diet, getting an adequate amount of sleep, and exercising regularly. However, these simple instructions just aren’t very interesting or enticing—which leads to the spreading of myths and misinformation about how to eat healthy, some sounding so crazy that they must be true, right?
Wrong. Even though there might be a small kernel of truth to some nutritional myths, the science still needs to be separated from the silliness. Here are some of the biggest healthy eating myths busted.
- Gluten-free foods are better for you.
This is true, but only if you have celiac disease. Since there are so many gluten-free products showing up in supermarkets lately, it can be easy to think that they are beneficial for everyone. However, there is no benefit to avoiding gluten for people who don’t have a medical reason to do so.
- Artificial sweeteners are better than real sugar.
While these calorie-free substitutes have been confirmed to have no link to cancer (as was previously suspected), they also won’t help you lose weight either. In fact, artificial sweeteners might make it harder to eat healthy. Since they are so much sweeter than regular sugar, they can make healthier foods taste bland and unappetizing. Naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and milk can still be part of a healthy diet in moderation.
- Counting calories will help you lose weight.
All calories are not created equally. 100 calories worth of cookies, French fries, and soda is not the same as eating 100 calories worth of vegetables and brown rice. Instead of obsessively counting your calories every day, it might be better to pay more attention to the actual food that you are putting in your mouth.
- Eggs are bad for your heart.
Since eggs contain approximately 211 milligrams of cholesterol, and cholesterol is one of the substances that contribute to clogged arteries and heart attacks, people wrongly assume this means that eating eggs are bad for your heart. However, cholesterol doesn’t impact our heart health nearly as much as saturated and trans fats. Additionally, eggs contain lots of nutrients, including protein and fatty acids like DHA that promote brain health. Eating eggs in moderation (one egg a few times per week) definitely has more benefits than drawbacks.
- Carbohydrates are bad for you.
Low-carb or no-carb diets are very popular because of the assumption that carbs are unhealthy. But really, carbs are a necessary part of normal functioning, as they are your body’s main source of fuel. So instead of avoiding carbs altogether, pay attention to the kind of carbs you are consuming. Large amounts of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and doughnuts can raise your risk for heart disease and diabetes. But if you cut out all carbs entirely, then you are missing out on the “good carbs,” including whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables that are also packed with nutrients and fiber.
- You should cleanse or detox toxins from your body periodically.
While there’s plenty of juices and pills on the market that advertise otherwise, your body is perfectly capable of removing toxins on its own. Your liver, kidneys, and spleen are specifically designed for this purpose, and there is no evidence that juicing, fasting, or taking pills helps these organs do their job any better.