20 Surprising Nutrition Facts That Should be Common Sense (But Aren't) - Herbs Info

20 Surprising Nutrition Facts That Should be Common Sense (But Aren’t)

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20 Surprising Nutrition Facts That Should Be Common Sense But Arent
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Despite common sense being touted as, well, “common”, it really isn’t. Even in the field of the health and medicine where studies upon studies have been published, misconceptions are very, very common. Here is a list of 20 facts that you need to get straight.

1: Artificial Trans Fats Are Dangerous
While a small amount of trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy, a large portion of trans fatty acids sold in the market come from artificial sources like ultra-processed cooking oil. Because trans fats were able to improve taste and texture of certain food products, their popularity quickly soared. [1] However, new studies have linked trans fats directly to heart disease, with a recent study published in 2015 revealing an actual increased risk for stroke and heart attacks among people with high intake of trans fats. [2]

2: Eating Every 2 to 3 Hours Is Unnecessary
You will often hear the suggestion “eat small, frequent meals” to prevent overeating during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, studies published in the late 90s and 00s reveal either an inverse relationship between meal frequency and weight gain or no association at all. [3] [4] Quite possibly, the relationship between the two concepts may purely be coincidental, or at least, personal to each individual. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is still to have a healthy diet with the right amount of nutrients.

3: Don’t Trust Everything You See or Hear on TV
This is practically a no-brainer but most of the things you see or hear from the television may end up being untrue (shocker, I know). Advertisements for supposedly “nutritional” products have been receiving flack for years for twisting statistics and facts to make them more popular and this has lead to widespread misconception about general nutrition. While media offers a lot of opportunities to spread important nutritional facts, people would do well to take sales materials with a grain of salt. [5]

4: Food Doesn’t “Rot” In The Body
While certain foods like meat take a longer time to digest and break down in the body, it most certainly does not “rot”. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where saliva starts to break down the food molecules into smaller ones. The time it takes for food to be digested in the stomach and intestines is less than 24 hours – which leaves no time for food (that has already been partially digested) to rot. [6]

5: Eggs Are Healthy
Eggs gained a bad rep because of their high cholesterol content, but that story is being reversed since new studies have essentially overturned it.
Eggs – especially the yolks – are rich in fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and other important nutrients! A 2014 study by Iannotti, et. al. revealed eggs’ untapped potential, particularly in providing much needed nutrition to mothers and children in poor societies all over the world. [7] A meta-analysis published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (2013) actually revealed no association between high egg intake and the risk for heart disease and stroke. [8]

6: Sodas Are A Danger To Your Diet
Did you know that a can of soda is equal to a hundred calories (or more!)? [9] This makes the sugary drinks the greatest obstacle to overcome when losing weight. Even worse is that a tall glass of soda does very little to settle a hungry stomach. So even if you consume a lot of calories from drinking them, you don’t really eat less of what you normally would. [10]

7: Understand The Low Fat Myth
Just because something is touted as “low fat” doesn’t mean it is good for you. You also have to consider what kinds of artificial, processed ingredients were included in order to manipulate the fat quota of the food. Several studies have been published since the turn of the century revealing that a low-fat diet doesn’t necessarily cause weight loss or reduced risk for certain diseases. A study published in 2006 revealed that while a low-fat dietary pattern was able to reduce cardiac event risk, the reduction wasn’t significant. Similarly, the results of other study (also published in 2006) showed that while low-fat diets didn’t cause weight gain, they don’t necessarily cause weight loss either. [11] [12]

8: Not All Fruit Juice Is Good For You
Because fruit is rich in vitamins and fiber, people often regard mass produced fruit juices in the market as equally healthy. They aren’t. Packed, reconstituted and highly processed, juices are loaded with sugar and few of the health benefits you would find in whole fruits. In reality, a glass of fruit juice from the carton has the same amount of calories as a can of soda. [13] If you want to drink healthy, go fresh!

9: Take Care of Your Body’s Little Pets
What?? Yes, you read that right. Did you know that you need to feed the bacteria in your stomach and intestines? Gut flora is responsible for a variety of functions in the gastrointestinal tract, mainly maintaining homeostasis or balance in your intestines. When this balance is disrupted, it can cause digestive problems, gum disease, and even obesity. [14] In short – you are not just a single being, you are an entire “ecosystem”.

10: Cholesterol Isn’t Bad For You
When you hear the words “good” and “bad” cholesterol, it makes the topic seem very easy to understand. However, did you know that LDL – which is the “bad” cholesterol – isn’t cholesterol at all? LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, a kind of protein that carries cholesterol around. This protein is dangerous because it doesn’t get metabolized by the body easily, damaging blood vessels and depositing the cholesterol it carries as plaque. [15]

11: Weight Loss Supplements May Contain Laxatives
Pills, teas, and powders that are touted as weight-loss may contain laxatives. When you see the word “Senna” in a weight-loss product, it doesn’t really burn fat, it just causes your bowel to become more active, resulting in more trips to toilet even before your body has had the time to digest the nutrients from food completely. This is why Senna is primarily used to treat constipation, however it can be irritating to the bowel. [16]

12: BMI Isn’t The Only Indicator Of Health
For a long time, body mass index – which is weight per height (and vice versa) – has been used to gauge if you are healthy. However, a lot of factors come into play when talking about weight. A study by Ruderman in the 80s revealed that people with normal height per weight could also be metabolically unhealthy. [17] In fact, factors like age, sex, abdominal obesity, and diet had larger roles in increasing a person’s risk for disease compared to body mass index. [18] A 2011 study revealed that central obesity was linked to an increase in mortality due to cardiac disease, not BMI. [19]

13: Calorie Counting Doesn’t Necessarily Cause Weight Loss
While counting the calories you eat is a good way to keep track of what goes in your body, it doesn’t necessary contribute to weight loss. The way the body processes calories is affected by a lot of things – did you know that increasing protein consumption causes a reduction in appetite and fat oxidation, all without changing the caloric intake of the body? When you think about weight loss as what you can add to your diet rather than what you should take out of it, counting calories will seem completely unnecessary and time consuming. [20] [21]

14: A Low-Carb Diet Is A Must For Diabetes
Avoiding sugar isn’t the only thing diabetics need to remember. Table sugar is not the body’s only source of glucose; carbohydrates also cause a rise in blood glucose levels. For years, diabetics have been advised to eat food with low glycemic index – or food that takes longer to digest and metabolize, avoiding the sudden increase in blood glucose levels after eating. However, a study published in 2008 begs to differ. Although a diet of food with low glycemic index improved glycemic control in diabetes, a low-carbohydrate diet showed better improvement. [22]

15: Fat Doesn’t Directly Cause Weight Gain (And Avoiding It Doesn’t Directly Cause Weight Loss)
When you eat food fried in oil or butter, it doesn’t immediately cause an increase in weight. People have spent years avoiding butters and oils because of their fat content but studies have been showing that moderation is the key, instead of avoidance. A 2007 study revealed that there wasn’t a difference between a low-fat diet and a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet when it comes to weight loss. [23] Another study in 2010 compared these two diets and surmised that the difference between the two was statistically insignificant. [24]

16: Junk Food Is Actually Addictive
Today, not only does junk food contain empty calories – food with calories but no nutritional content – but it also has potent addictive properties. When a person takes drugs, it causes a release of the “happy hormone” dopamine in the brain. The same thing happens when a pleasurable activity happens or palatable food is eaten. When a person eats too much junk food, it basically trains the brain to release dopamine, causing that person to go back to junk food time and time again despite not benefiting from it – much like drug abuse. [25]

17: Be Doubtful of “Healthy” and “Natural” Labels
Remember, the main purpose of a food label is marketing. In essence, the words “healthy” and “natural” essentially mean very little nowadays.

18: Avoid Ultra-Processed Cooking Oils
Canola oil doesn’t come from a plant called canola. The truth of the matter is, canola oil is an ultra-processed oil from a variety of plants whose seeds go through extreme production to produce the oil. These ultra-processed oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which increase the risk for a variety of chronic diseases. [26]

19: Organic and Gluten-free Does Not Equal Healthy
While fresh organic fruit and vegetables have been proven to be healthier than their non-organic counterparts, how they are processed still affects how healthy they are for consumption. Junk food made from organic or gluten-free raw products is still junk food. When organic and gluten-free products go under extreme processing, they lose a lot of what makes them healthy in the first place.

20: Don’t Only Blame The Food, Blame How You Eat It
Before fast food became popular, heart disease and obesity were much less common. As time went by and people’s diets became unhealthier and unhealthier, the blame was shifted to food like meat and butter. But these things have been around longer than the health epidemics! The problem doesn’t lie in the food itself – you don’t get fat from eating a stick of butter, you get fat because of repeated consumption of high-fat food in combination with a sedentary lifestyle. When people start realizing this and pointing their fingers at bad habits instead of just the food, it will become much easier to have a healthier lifestyle.

[1] Resnik, D. (2010). Trans Fat Bans and Human Freedom. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941190/
[2] Ganguly, R. & Pierce, G. (2015). The toxicity of dietary trans fats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25684416
[3] Cameron, J., Cyr, M. & Doucet, E. (2010). Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985
[4] Bellisle, F., McDevitt, R. & Prentice, A. (1997). Meal frequency and energy balance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155494
[5] Brug, J., et. al. (2005). The internet and nutrition education: challenges and opportunities. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v59/n1s/full/1602186a.html
[6] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2013). Your Digestive System and How It Works. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/anatomy/your-digestive-system/Pages/anatomy.aspx
[7] Iannotti, L., et. al. (2014). Eggs: the uncracked potential for improving maternal and young child nutrition among the world’s poor. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24807641
[8] Rong, Y., et. al. (2013). Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8539
[9] Zelman, K. (2014). How Many Calories Are in Your Drink? http://www.webmd.com/diet/calories-in-drinks-and-popular-beverages
[10] DiMeglio, D. & Mattes, R. (2000). Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10878689
[11] Howard, B., et. al. (2006). Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=202339
[12] Howard, B., et. al. (2006). Low-fat dietary pattern and weight change over 7 years: the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16391215
[13] Gill, J. & Sattar, N. (2014). Fruit juice: just another sugary drink? http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(14)70013-0/fulltext
[14] American Society of Microbiology. Humans Have Ten Times More Bacteria Than Human Cells: How Do Microbial Communities Affect Human Health? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603085914.htm
[15] American Heart Association. Good vs. Bad Cholesterol. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/Good-vs-Bad-Cholesterol_UCM_305561_Article.jsp
[16] National Health Service. Constipation. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Constipation/Pages/MedicineOverview.aspx?medicine=Senna%20Tablets
[17] Ruderman, N., Schneider, S. & Berchtold, P. (1981). The “metabolically-obese,” normal-weight individual. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/34/8/1617.short
[18] Ervin, R. (2009). Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults 20 Years of Age and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, and Ethnicity, and Body Mass Index: United States, 2003-2006. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr013.pdf
[19] Coutinho, T., et. al. (2011). Central Obesity and Survival in Subjects With Coronary Artery Disease. http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1146470
[20] Weigle, D., et. al. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/1/41.abstract
[21] Westerterp-Plantega, M. (2008). Protein intake and energy balance. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167011508000694
[22] Westman, E., et. al. (2008). The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633336/
[23] Krebs, N., et. al. (2010). Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese Adolescents. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892194/
[24] McClernon, F., et. al. (2008). The effects of a low-cabohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17228046
[25] Di Chiara, G. (2007). Reward system and addiction: what dopamine does and doesn’t do. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489206002001
[26] Silaste, M., et. al. (2004). Atherosclerosis and Lipoproteins. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/24/3/498.abstract

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1 Comment

  • By Willy, April 7, 2015 @ 11:36 am

    I agree that we should eat fresh fruits.

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