6 Things Everyone Should Know About Nutrition

There is a lot of bullshit being spread about nutrition nowadays.

“Experts” always seem to disagree, leaving people understandably confused about what to eat on a regular basis.

It doesn’t need to be complicated though.

Keeping these things in mind will guide you.

1. Most “Studies” Reported by the Media Aren’t Reliable

Studies reported by the media tend to be reported out of context. That doesn’t matter to them though. They just want the flashy headline that grabs peoples’ attention. I know this first hand, as I studied journalism at Carleton University, and worked as a science reporter for several years.

I’ve banished mainstream news and I suggest you do too. It adds very little value to a person’s life. But I digress.

The media also doesn’t tell you that most of the studies they report to the public are small and insignificant. They are often observational studies, which prove nothing.

These types of studies can only show a statistical correlation. Hypothesis from observational control studies can then by tested in randomized controlled studies, and should not be reported to the public as fact.

As a result, many people make daily health decisions based on faulty and misleading science.

2. Refined, Processed Oils Are Incredibly Bad For You

Processed vegetable oils, such as soybean and canola oil, are often considered healthy. Yet they are the exact opposite.

Humans weren’t able to consume these types of oil up until about 100 years ago because the technology to extract and process them wasn’t available. But now they are found in almost all processed food.

They are extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can lead to health problems in excess (1, 2).

They are also high unstable and end up being full of trans fats when exposed to light and heat. Trans fats are toxic and are implicated in the development of cancer, obesity and heart disease (3, 4).

Instead, you should eat natural fats such as butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. These are incredibly healthy. But avoid processed vegetable oils like your life depends on it.

Tip: Throw out all processed salad dressings, and use olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead.

3. Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat

It makes sense that people would think that fat makes them fat. But that just isn’t the case.

It’s true that fat has more calories per gram than protein and carbs, which is another reason why people think eating fat leads to obesity.

But the body is complicated. And many studies show that diets high in fat but low in carbs leads to more weight loss than diets high in carbs and low in fat (5, 6, 7).

4. Carbs Don’t Make You Fat

At the same time, carbs aren’t inherently bad either. Yes, most carbohydrate-rich foods are terrible for your weight and health. But some foods high in carbohydrates can be a part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, including yams, potatoes, rice, bananas and berries.

Many people following a low-carb diet think carbs are inherently fattening, but that’s not the case. Even though I think people should reduce their carbs and removing them can reverse obesity, it doesn’t mean “carbs” causes the problem in the first place.

Many ancestral populations have eaten a very high-carb diet but did not suffer from obesity and chronic Western diseases, including the Okinawans, Kitavans, and many Asian populations.

If you’re a healthy person just trying to stay healthy, then you might not need to follow a low-carb diet. Just stick to the unprocessed carbohydrate sources of food I listed above.

5. Protein is Critical

If you want to lose weight, protein is very important.

Protein boosts metabolism and reduces appetite. It increases the amount of calories you burn by 80 to 100 calories every day, because it requires energy to be broken down (1, 2, 3).

One study shows that eating 30% of calories as protein can make people automatically eat 441 fewer calories every day(4).

6. Sugar is Killer

If there’s one thing you should cut out of your diet immediately, it is sugar.

Due to its large amount of fructose, sugar can lead to many metabolic problems and chronic disease (5).

Consuming sugar by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is the worst. Sugar calories in liquid form don’t get registered by the brain in the same way as solid sugar, so the brain doesn’t compensate by eating less calories from other sources of food (14).

Unfortunately, this means you should scrap your daily orange juice as well. It is very similar to soda and the small amounts of vitamins do not make up for the large amounts of sugar.

Originally published at www.optimallivingdynamics.com on July 20, 2014.