Nutritionists debunk 19 diet myths
  • Two nutritionists debunk 19 of the most common myths about diets.
  • They explain why dairy affects those with lactose intolerance and why they can actually eat cheese.
  • They also debunk the idea that red wine is good for your heart. 
  • And they mention how much water we actually should be drinking every day.
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Following is a transcript of the video. 

Vanessa Risseto: Red wine is good for your heart. Okay, actually, this is the biggest myth of all time.

Tamar Samuels: Meat is a necessary part of a balanced diet. This is a controversial one, and I love this topic.

Vanessa: Fruit is as unhealthy as candy. If it's orange soda and Snickers or an apple, eat the apple.

Tamar: Hi, I'm Tamar Samuels a registered dietitian, and the co-founder of Culina Health.

Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa Risseto, and I'm a registered dietitian, and co-founder of Culina Health. And today we are debunking 19 diet myths. Myth number one, beans are toxic. No, beans are not toxic. They have fiber. They have protein. They come from the earth. I mean, Tamar, I think this is just another way to like vilify carbs. (Editor's note: While raw beans can be toxic, the experts in this video are discussing properly cooked beans.)

Tamar: I think maybe people mistake a little bit of GI discomfort with toxicity. Beans, as Vanessa said, are really high in fiber which is a good thing, but a lot of people don't eat enough fiber. And when you first reintroduced fiber it can cause a little bit of indigestion, some bloating, maybe some gas, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. It means that you should probably just start slower with a smaller portion and build your way up to, you know a full cup of beans. Okay. Myth number two, bananas pack the most potassium. Potassium is in pretty much every fruit and vegetable.

Vanessa: Also, Kiwis have the most potassium. And that bananas thing is just like a marketing scheme from the 80s So they'd had like the Chiquita banana and it was like get all your potassium from bananas.

Reporter: Delicious Chiquita bananas are rich in potassium.

Vanessa: Myth number three, honey and agave syrup are better than sugar. Actually, there's no difference, right? Sugar is sugar is sugar.

Tamar: Ultimately the way that we process all of these simple sugars is exactly the same in the body. Although honey, and depending on the type of agave may have a slightly higher nutrient profile. So, it might have a little bit more minerals than the sugar itself, which has absolutely no vitamins, minerals, or phytonutrients. Myth number four, fat-free foods are always healthy. First of all, everybody responds to different foods differently. Fat-free food can be healthy, but a lot of the times they're not healthy. Oftentimes when we take away the fat, we take away the ability of the food to make us feel full. And then we also add in things like sugar to make the food more palatable, to make it taste better, which can actually end up making the food itself not healthy at all.

Vanessa: It's not worth it. Just eat the regular serving of fat and you'll be better off. Myth number five, fruit is as unhealthy as candy. Fruit has antioxidants, and vitamins, and minerals, and fiber, which no one gets enough of. So please eat the fruit. Like if it's orange soda and Snickers or an apple, eat the apple.

Tamar: Yes, this myth is especially dangerous because I think people will equate fruit in that bad food category and then avoid it. And they're missing out on a whole set of nutrients and then also tend to over eat candy. So, they'll say something like, "My doctor said that I have to be careful with the fruit that I'm eating, because it increases my blood sugar." And then they'll over eat, you know, chocolate at night. Myth number six, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I think this myth can be harmful because for people who have all or nothing thinking they believe that if they don't get breakfast right or have a healthy well-balanced breakfast then the rest of the day is sort of ruined. And they use that as an excuse for them to not make healthy choices for the rest of the day. The reality is that every time we eat is an opportunity for us to take care of ourselves and eat a nutritious meal.

Vanessa: If you do not eat, if you spend long periods of time, not eating, then your metabolism doesn't know to do its job. Even having like a small piece of fruit and like nut butter or nuts in the morning is just like enough to fuel your metabolism and get yourself going. And the likely making sure that you're not gonna overeat at later meals. Myth number seven, you must drink eight glasses of water a day. You know there's like these quick and dirty calculations that dietitians use to determine how much water someone should drink. And so, it's usually your weight in kilograms take that number and you would times it by somewhere around 25 to 30. It puts you somewhere in like a two liter range a day, which I know can be scary for some people, they're like, "I have to go to the bathroom all the time." But spoiler we're in COVID so drink the water and then you could train your bladder and you'll be right at your bathroom. So, it's totally fine. But that helps you with your skin. It helps you with your hair. It helps you with your nails and it helps you with fullness. It helps you with digestion. It helps regulate your bowel movement. So, water is obviously something we need to be doing and we need to be doing more of because people really don't drink enough water.

Tamar: You can get water from other places. So, you can get water from teas, specifically, herbal teas. You can get water from coffee but coffee is also a diuretic. So, you're going to sort of eliminate some of that water a little bit more than you would if you got it from an herbal tea that doesn't have that diuretic effect. You can get water from soups, and then most fruits and vegetables have a really high water content. Myth number eight, you can't eat cheese if you're lactose intolerant. This is a pretty dangerous myth because skipping out on any food group can be harmful for missing certain nutrients, especially dairy products. Not all dairy products contain high amounts of lactose. So, people who are lactose intolerant actually tend to do well with cheese, especially hard cheeses. The soft cheeses tend to have a little bit more lactose in them.

Vanessa: Yeah, like Parmesan cheese for example has no lactose in it. Also, if you're lactose intolerant you could train yourself to tolerate 250 milliliters, that's about eight ounces of lactose. You know, the bottom line is you can eat some cheese even if you're lactose intolerant. Myth number nine, red wine is good for your heart. Okay, actually this is the biggest myth of all time. I understand where it must come from, right. You know, it's made with grapes, grapes have antioxidants and you know, they have flavonoids, those tend to help with the heart. So, like, that's fine. And you know, one glass of red wine isn't going to hurt you. But out of like a 250,000 participants study about the effects of alcohol on the body there are no real benefits to alcohol. Alcohol the body sees as a poison. The body has to do a lot of work and sacrifice a lot of metabolic processes in order to metabolize alcohol. If you're looking to support your heart instead of picking up the closest bottle of wine think about ways you can incorporate more fiber, more heart-healthy fats, and of course increasing your physical activity.

Tamar: Yeah, you can't increase your physical activity if you're hung over from the night before.

Vanessa: And dehydrated.

Tamar: Yeah. Myth number 10, fresh produce is always better than frozen produce. Fresh produce is definitely awesome. There's nothing wrong with having fresh produce but not everyone has access to fresh produce. And the cool thing about frozen produce is that it's often frozen at peak ripeness. So, we can capture all of the vital vitamins, and minerals, and nutrients within the product without having to sacrifice sort of convenience for being able to store these things in our freezer

Vanessa: Myth number 11, you need to drink milk for strong bones. Again, this is like the dairy council. I don't know, I'm like afraid they're like gonna come and find me. Milk is not necessarily going to help with strong bones. You can get the same amount of calcium in a stock of broccoli as a glass of milk.

Tamar: The reason why milk is so called good for our bones is because, as Vanessa said, the calcium content. But milk is fortified with vitamin D, which means that it doesn't naturally contain vitamin D, most foods don't. So, one of the best ways that you can get vitamin D is by getting out there and getting some sun. So actually, getting sun might need just as helpful for strong bones than drinking a glass of milk, if not more helpful. Myth number 12, probiotics are good for everyone. Everybody has probiotics in their gut already. So, when we talk about probiotics in a supplement form some people who have compromised immunity or who have certain gut conditions like small intestine bacterial overgrowth actually tend to do pretty poorly on probiotic. For the vast majority of the population probiotics are good for everyone. That doesn't mean you have to take a supplement you can definitely get it in food, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi.

Vanessa: Myth number 13, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, kind of.

Tamar: I think that myth needs to be 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day keeps the doctor away. Making the choice to have an apple instead of candy is a good choice, and that is certainly going to help support your health. But it's the rest of your diet consists of mostly refined processed foods that are devoid in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, then the doctor is still gonna be an important person in your life. Myth number 14, cravings mean you're missing something from your diet. There is certainly no science to say that if you crave X food then you need to have more of Y food in your diet. So, cravings can come from a lot of different places but I've found that that's mostly from not having balanced blood sugar and from emotional psychological reasons.

Vanessa: You know the clients come in and they're like "I don't eat carbs, I'm really good about not eating carbs, but at night I eat an entire bag of Hershey kisses." And you're like, "Because you need carbs." Eat the carbs.

Tamar: So, there is a condition where people deficient in iron they actually crave foil and clay, it's called PICA. And so, there is something there that exists around cravings for certain flavors. I don't know why people wanna eat dirt when they're anemic, but that is something that is real. It happens a lot especially with pregnant women.

Vanessa: Myth 15, everyone should cut gluten out of their diets. No, if it bothers you, then cut it out or if you have celiac disease, then cut it out. Just, the regular person walking down the street doesn't necessarily need to cut out gluten. Right, Tamar? Everyone's coming in wanting a gimmick.

Tamar: Yeah. A lot of people cut out gluten and they feel better but that's mostly because they cut out gluten containing foods, which tend to be unhealthy. So, I think people tend to confuse the benefits of cutting out those highly processed refined carbohydrates with gluten itself. Myth number 16, white potatoes are bad for you. This myth is so sad. So many people are missing out on delicious potatoes. The potatoes are actually quite high in potassium and the skins of potatoes contain a decent amount of fiber as well.

Vanessa: White potatoes also have a good source of vitamin A. So, it's good for your eyes. A serving size though is a half-cup. I think that's the other problem You think that because the potato is purple or you know, it's a sweet potato so it's like more complex and better for you like… But the serving size really is half of a small one or half a cup. Myth 17, activated charcoal is a super food. What is even a super food? Everyone talks about these super foods, that's not a real thing.

Tamar: Also, charcoal is not a food. It doesn't have a nutritional value. It's nothing that we can eat and gain benefits from. It actually passes through our body completely. And if we have it in large amounts, that can be toxic. Myth number 18, meat is a necessary part of a balanced diet. This is a controversial one and I love this topic. We do get a lot of nutrients from meat. Some of those nutrients we cannot get from plant-based foods or it's not as easy to get them from plant-based foods. One of those is B12. So, people who have a mostly plant-based diet need to supplement with B12 for the most part. That being said, we can absolutely have a plant-based diet and be incredibly healthy. You could also have a plant-based diet and be unhealthy.

Vanessa: You probably shouldn't eat meat, breakfast, lunch and dinner. You wanna have some plants in there, those are all like sensible things. And also, if you're a 100% vegan don't turn your nose at me because I'm eating a burger, but everything you eat is from by Chloe, 'cause that's also not really healthy either. Myth 19, you shouldn't eat after 6:00. Remember Oprah in like the 90s had, she lost a bunch of weight and she was like, "I don't eat after six." And then everybody was like, "Don't eat after six." You wanna give your body time to digest, everything should be metabolized by the time you go to bed, so you can have a restful sleep. There's no hard and fast rule that you need to stop eating by 6:00 p.m., it's individualized.

Tamar: If all else fails, focus on the basics of eating more fruits and vegetables. Eating meals throughout the day that are balanced with proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. And if you can start there, that's a good place. It doesn't have to be over complicated.

Vanessa: Do your research, make sure you understand, you know all the facts presented. And then at the end of the day just do what's right for you. Also ask like professionals not the internet guys.

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