As you probably know by now, I believe modern nutrition to be infested with a lot of corruption and misinformation.
In this article, I’ve listed the worst examples, but unfortunately there is plenty more where that came from.
Here are the 9 biggest lies of modern nutrition.
1. Saturated Fat is Bad For Your Heart
Probably the most damaging mistake of all is the claim that eating saturated fat leads to heart disease.
This myth was based on political decisions and bogus studies that were discredited a long time ago. Yet, our beloved professionals refuse to admit that “artery-clogging-saturated-fat” is harmless.
2. Reducing Sodium is Good For Your Body
Our beloved authorities on nutrition and health generally tell us that it will improve our blood pressure and health to reduce sodium in the diet.
In fact, many authorities recommend amounts as low as 1500-2300mg of sodium (4-6 grams of salt).
The recommendation for healthy people to limit salt intake seems unnecessary at best and potentially harmful.
The best thing to do here is to limit your intake of processed foods, which add the greatest amount of sodium to the modern diet (along with other nastyness).
Adding some salt to your meals to make them palatable is absolutely fine and may even be healthy.
3. Eggs Are Bad For You
Eggs are, in my opinion, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
They have been demonized in the past due to their high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. But, as outlined above, saturated fat does not increase chances of heart disease.
The fact is that eggs are incredibly nutritious. The yolk is very high in healthy fats, quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the egg white is a great source of protein.
Eggs are also very satiating and should be considered an awesome weight loss food (13).
4. Sugar is Bad For You Because it’s Empty Calories
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that the only reason sugar is unhealthy is that it’s “empty calories”, providing a lot of calories without any essential nutrients.
Sugar does provide empty calories, but excess sugar (fructose) consumption can also lead to many symptoms of the metabolic syndrome (the biggest health problem in the world). It is quite literally toxic for your liver (14, 15, 16).
This only happens during periods of caloric excess, which is the norm for many western nations. This does not apply to fruit and other natural foods with a low energy density. Period.
5. Polyunsaturated Omega-6 Fats Will Improve Your Health
It is generally accepted in the science community that polyunsaturated fats do improve health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, the situation is more complicated than that. There are two different types of polyunsaturated fats that we need to get from the diet, Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.
As you’ve probably heard a million times, Omega-3 fats are good for you. You get a lot of them from fish and fish oil supplements. Me and the dietitians agree on that one (17).
However, excess consumption of Omega-6 is most likely harmful and may lead to increased inflammation in the body.
This is the fat you get from processed seed and vegetable oils, something that is often recommended in modern nutrition but is probably doing you harm (18).
6. Carbs Should Be 50-60% of Your Calories
Governments all around the world recommend we eat a low-fat diet with 50-60% (give or take) of our calories as carbohydrates.
Obviously, this doesn’t make a lot of evolutionary sense as we evolved eating a lot of fatty animal foods and didn’t have any grains until 12.000 years ago.
The fact is that this macronutrient ratio is wrong and should actually be the exact opposite. It leads to more favourable health outcomes to eat a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Such diets lead to bigger improvements than a government-approved low-fat diet. Improvements in body fat, blood sugar, insulin levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Basically, the main biomarkers of health that we care about (19, 20, 21, 22).
7. Low-Fat Foods Are Healthy Options
Following the war on fat came a massive range of low-fat food options.
Like we’ve already covered, the war on fat was unfounded and therefore low-fat foods are useless to improve health.
The fact is that these foods taste like garbage without fat. For this reason, food manufacturers need to replace the fat with sugar, artificial sweeteners and other unnatural chemicals. Otherwise no one would eat them.
The added sugar can lead to disease, like outlined above. The artificial sweeteners are also associated with many serious diseases in epidemiological studies, including (ironically) weight gain (23, 24, 25).
8. Everyone Should Eat Whole Grains
For some reason, our beloved nutrition authorities think it’s a good idea to base our diet around foods that are low in vital nutrients.
Not to mention the fact that these foods were introduced to humans only about 12.000 years ago, which is a very short amount of time on an evolutionary scale.
As outlined above, low carbohydrate diets (no grains) lead to very favorable health outcomes, suggesting that grain (and sugar) restriction is extremely healthy.
An important fact that is often forgotten is that grains have a vastly inferior nutritional value compared to meat, eggs, seafood, fruits and vegetables (29).
So, grains aren’t just low in nutrients, they actually have substances that steal nutrients from other foods.
9. Eating Fat Makes You Fat
It seems intuitive that eating fat will make you fat.
The stuff that is building up below the skin and making us look soft, is fat. Therefore, eating it should give your body even more of it.
But it really isn’t that simple. Fat, despite having a higher caloric value per gram than carbohydrate and protein (9kcal vs. 4kcal), eating a high-fat diet doesn’t lead to weight gain in humans.
Of course, this depends on the context. A diet that is high in sugar, refined grains, processed foods and fat, will be fattening, but it’s not because of the fat.
I know there’s a lot more where that came from. Feel free to add to the list in the comments!