Myth 1: Breakfast, it’s ‘The Most Important Meal of the Day’

You may have heard many times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and as such you shouldn’t skip it. So many people eat breakfast unwillingly, thinking it will favor them in weight loss.

The evidence shows that skipping breakfast has very small effect on weight control.(1) In a study of people who skipped breakfast, they ended up eating about 150 kcal more at lunch (the next meal), compared to people who had breakfast as their first meal in the morning. However, at the end of the day their total calorie intake was about 400 kcal lower than people who had eaten breakfast.(2) A calorie deficit of 400 kcal will marginally influence your weight. There are much more effective ways to affect your weight control.

So, our advice is more related to the quality of food. If there is protein on the table at breakfast -great, this will help you feel more satisfied and reduce your subsequent calorie intake throughout the day strongly and positively influencing weight control. However, if on the contrary your breakfast is based on sugary cocoa and biscuits, we advise you to skip it.

 Myth 2: Egg Yolk Is ‘Bad’

How many times have we heard that egg yolk is bad because it has cholesterol?

Yes, it is true that foods high in cholesterol (such as eggs) may increase LDL (bad) cholesterol in some people but, on average, this only happens to a very small degree.(3) However what has been found is some of the micronutrients and other bioactive compounds present in the egg yolk might positively impact cholesterol absorption. Many studies have not been able to find an increase in cholesterol in those who consume eggs frequently.(4, 5)

 Myth 3: Consuming Salt is ‘Bad’

In the literature there have been studies that associate excess salt with hypertension (high blood pressure)(6), kidney damage(7) and an increased risk of cognitive decline(8).

However, we know that salt contains sodium which is an essential mineral and its consumption is very important for health. Therefore, the problem occurs when too much sodium and too little potassium is consumed concurrently. Another problem is the origin of all that salt. And as a general rule, people who consume large amounts of processed food are directly taking large amounts of refined salt (bad salt) and in many cases exceeding the recommended daily amounts.

We can say that the evidence supports the consumption of salt to taste, even in hypertensive, that is, that salt that we throw ourselves into meals, being very unlikely that we exceed the average value suggested by international guides (>5g sodium per day).

Yet in research, eating a low sodium diet is less conclusively healthy, as it could lead to states of hyponatremia, especially in athletes, being able to seriously affect health. The conclusion is both very high and very low sodium intake are associated with cardiovascular disease.(9)

Myth 4: Fats Are ‘Bad’

How many times have you heard that eating fat makes you fat? Traditionally people who wanted to lose weight underwent a low-fat diet. Current evidence suggests that, with a caloric deficit and the same protein intake, diets low in fat or diets low in carbohydrates lead to similar weight loss.(10)

It is important to consider that avoiding any fat intake and removing it from your diet completely can be counterproductive. We need sources of ESSENTIAL fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for life and full function of the body. As for saturated fats are the main driver of cardiovascular diseases, this is just another myth.

Fats that have been shown to be harmful to our health are ‘trans’ fats contained in ultra-processed foods. The ‘trans’ fats you should avoid are a by-product of partially hydrogenated oils, which is a common ingredient present in ultra-processed foods. These foods are often consumed in much larger quantities. This type of industrial fat has been linked to more than half a million coronary heart diseases and increased risk of death worldwide.

So eat healthy fats only!

Myth 5: Red Meat Is ‘Bad’

You’ve may have heard that red meat causes cancer however cancer is a multifactorial disease, that is, it has many causes. Linking red meat directly to cause cancer is not possible. What has been shown is compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (found in smoked meats) can damage the genome. And damaging the genome is the first step toward possible cancer. Current evidence suggests that processed red meats (particularly those that have been most ‘charred’ during cooking) could present an increased risk in cancer in those with very nutrient-poor diets and an unhealthy lifestyle in general(11), but if you choose quality meat sources, exercise regularly, consume fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, avoid smoking and drinking, the effect of red meat on cancer is something you shouldn’t worry about.

Although, there is some low-quality evidence that eating a lot of red meat or processed meat could increase your risk of type II diabetes and other cardio metabolic diseases. Our advice is:

  • Eat good quality meat
  • limit your quantity of red meat to 2 servings a week
  • eliminate the consumption of processed meats from your dietary habits all together

Stay Healthy & Stay Active,

Regards,

Elena Naranjo, Physiotherapist & Nutrition Coach at DHTC