Some nutrition myths bounce around on crazy e-mail chain letters and pop up on goofy evening news reports. Others fuel the sale of rip-off diet books. Some are so accepted they seem hardwired into our brains. When it comes to nutrition, false or misleading information seems to be everywhere. If you talk to a friend or family member, you’ll hear claims saying eating fat makes you fat or too much protein will lead to osteoporosis. The worst part is that some of these misconceptions are still being thrown around by fitness professionals.
For this reason, it can be extremely difficult to determine what's accurate and what's nothing more than a bunch of gibberish.
Look no further for the truth in these nine mainstream fitness myths.
Myth 1: Your Body Can’t Utilize More Than 30 Grams of Protein
If you want to maximize muscle growth and recovery, you need to both minimize muscle breakdown and increase protein synthesis. You don’t need to eat 70 grams of protein at each meal, but your body can certainly utilize more than 30 grams of protein at one time.
Myth 2: A High-Protein Diet Increases Your Risk of Osteoporosis
It is a common misconception the high protein diets lead to osteoporosis, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the evidence actually suggests that high-protein diets can improve bone strength, and of course, eating high-quality protein supports the maintenance of muscle mass as we age, which is a primary factor in bone health and prevention of fractures related to osteoporosis.
Myth 3: A High-Protein Diet Puts Stress On Your Kidneys
Since one of the main biological roles of the kidney is to metabolize and excrete nitrogen byproducts from protein digestion, many people believe that eating more protein will “strain” the kidneys. But, your kidneys are incredibly efficient at filtering unneeded substances from your body. And as far as we currently know, consuming a high-protein diet doesn't increase the strain on your kidneys. The kidneys are built to handle exactly this sort of stress!
Myth 4: Cooking Protein Changes its Biological Value
Cooking with protein doesn’t destroy it, but it does denature it. The structure changes when the protein powder is heated. Is this bad? No, not at all! Even though the structure has changed, the nutritional value remains the same. So, go bake some protein bars, cheesecake, cookies, make some protein oatmeal, or anything else your sweet tooth desires.
Myth 5: You Must Consume Protein Immediately After Your Workout
Overall it’s safe to say that your “anabolic window” exists for a much longer period of time than the 30-60 minutes that everyone holds to. Total protein intake is far more important than protein timing when it comes to muscle and strength gains, and as long as you eat enough protein throughout the day to meet your requirements, it doesn’t seem to matter much whether some of this protein is consumed immediately before and/or after your workout or not.
Myth 6: Carbs at Night Will Make You Fat
Carbohydrates at night don’t make you fat; too many total calories make you fat. The common misconception is that any carbs you consume past 7 p.m. are likely to be stored as fat, because your metabolism slows down and insulin sensitivity is reduced. The reality is that your resting metabolic rate isn't much different when you sleep than it is during the day. Exercising during the day can increase your sleeping metabolic rate significantly, however, leading to greater fat oxidation while you sleep.
Myth 7: A Carb is a Carb is a Carb
Carbohydrates are the building blocks of all plant life. They include fruits, vegetables, grains and starches. Note that "carbs" are expressed in plural, because there are different types, and different carbs are treated differently by our bodies with varying nutritional values. Some carbs are digestible while others aren't; some are considered complex, while others are simple; and some contain soluble fiber while others contain insoluble fiber. With all the varying forms of carbohydrates it makes sense that your body would digest them differently.
Myth 8: Egg Yolks Will Give You a Heart Attack
Scientists have come to the conclusion that cholesterol in food is not the true villain. Saturated and trans fats have a much greater effect on blood cholesterol. Your body actually needs the cholesterol in meat and eggs to make testosterone, which helps to increase energy and helps to build more calorie-building muscle. One large egg has roughly 186 milligrams of cholesterol, all of which is found in the egg’s yolk. Since dietary cholesterol was once thought to be the major cause of unhealthy blood cholesterol, egg yolks have been demonized and health nuts stick to eating strictly egg whites, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. So, yes, you can have an egg and eat the yolk, too!
Myth 9: Eating Fat Makes You Fat
If you're trying to lose weight, demonizing and avoiding fat is not the answer, simply choosing the right fats is. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are essential fats, which can be found in foods such as soybean oil, avocados, sunflower oil, and salmon. Your body can’t make them, so you must get them from food, which makes a great way to burn that stubborn belly fat and build muscle. The reality is that fat is not the enemy, our overconsumption of calories generally is.