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Dietary myths

How to debunk the most common dietary myths using science

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: dietary myths, science, healthy nutrition

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(NaturalNews) While more and more dietitians, nutritionists and doctors are coming around to face the facts that all calories are not the same and that fat is actually good for you, there is still a strong status quo element pushing dietary myths like the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, for instance, and "saturated fats are bad" dogma. These and other popular, yet fundamentally incorrect, dietary fallacies are still prevalent, but they are also easily debunked using science, that is if you know where to look for it.

Much of the legwork for this has already been accomplished by Kris Gunnars over at Authority Nutrition, who recently outlined some of the most popular dietary myths alongside citations from scientific journals that solidly discredit them. This is logical and authoritative information that you and your family can use in defense of real nutrition, which is rarely discussed with any sort of accuracy by the mainstream media.

Fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet

One of the more common misperceptions contends that fats are unhealthy and lead to obesity and heart disease. But nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by numerous recent studies, including one out of the Auckland University of Technology in Australia. Researchers there found that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is the best route to take to live a long and happy life.

This and other similar research was the impetus behind Sweden's recent decision to update its official dietary recommendations, something we covered here at Natural News back in November. Rejecting the low-fat diet myth, which Gunnars correctly points out has never been shown scientifically to aid in weight loss, Swedish health officials now admit that all-natural butter, olive oil, lard, cream and other forms of fat are vital for maintaining optimal health.

"The low-fat diet has been put to the test in several huge randomized controlled trials," writes Gunnars for Authority Nutrition. "It does not cause any weight loss over a period of 7.5 years and it has literally no effect on heart disease or cancer. The low-fat diet is a huge failure. All the major studies show that it doesn't work."

Refined sugar is a whole lot more than empty calories; it is a leading cause of chronic illness

Piggy-backing on the "all calories are just calories" myth is the erroneous concept that refined sugar is somehow healthy when consumed "in moderation." The very concept of "in moderation," at least as it is currently used to justify unhealthy dietary habits, is a complete misnomer, and science proves this. Far more than just "empty calories," refined sugar is a destroyer when it comes to proper metabolism and insulin resistance.

"The studies show that in the long run, a high consumption of sugar is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer," explains Gunnars, citing more than six prominent studies on sugar consumption that validate this claim.

Saturated fat does not cause heart disease, nor does it raise cholesterol

The public has been conditioned through years of industry-backed media programming to view saturated fat as something harmful that needs to be avoided. Claims that this vital dietary component is responsible for raising cholesterol levels and causing heart disease are widespread, but they are also unfounded.

"Saturated fat raises HDL (the 'good') cholesterol and changes the LDL from small, dense to large LDL, which is benign and doesn't increase the risk of heart disease," adds Gunnars, based on his own extensive research. "This has been intensively studied in the past few decades and the studies consistently show that saturated fat is not in any way related to the risk of heart disease."

Avoiding saturated fat, it turns out, is actually a major driving force behind the cardiovascular disease epidemic currently sweeping the developed world. As we covered just before Christmas, a cohort of prominent British doctors and cardiologists agrees, having recently made a public proclamation that people need to eat more saturated fats for good health.

Go ahead and eat those eggs; cholesterol itself is not a cause of heart disease

As far as the cholesterol issue, science dictates quite clearly that the public has been misled on this front as well. For decades, the medical establishment has been beating the drum that cholesterol is bad, and that consuming it will clog your arteries and lead to death. But much of your body, including your brain, is made of cholesterol, and the research shows that you need this important substance in your diet for optimal cognitive function.

"The cholesterol in eggs does not raise the 'bad' cholesterol in the blood," concludes Gunnars about the issue as it pertains to the cholesterol found specifically in egg yolks. "The studies show that egg consumption is not associated with heart disease. Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet."

Avoiding 'sodium' is a recipe for health disaster

One of the reasons why dietary myths often end up becoming social "fact" is due to the crafty changes and manipulations that have been made with regard to words and how they are defined. This is especially true for "sodium," which in the modern lexicon now encompasses everything from processed table salt to the natural electrolytes found in spring water.

But many of these diverse compounds that are now collectively lumped into the category of "sodium" simply do not belong there, at least not in terms of the how the government recommends their consumption. Not only is "sodium" poorly defined, but the health advice governing its consumption severely flawed.

"Even though sodium restriction can lower blood pressure, it does not appear to reduce the risk of heart disease or death," writes Gunnars. "Some studies even show that if you restrict sodium too much, that it can increase some risk factors for disease."

Polyunsaturated fats are elevating your risk of heart disease, despite government claims that they promote health

Mainstream health authorities do not demonize all fats, of course, often making the claim that polyunsaturated fats, which are found in so-called "vegetable" oils and nuts, can help lower one's risk of developing heart disease later in life. But as you might expect, the complete opposite is true, and science proves this.

Multiple peer-reviewed studies published in reputable medical journals have found that consuming large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids -- a major source of these is vegetable oil -- can create inflammation, meaning that foods rich in these compounds are actually drivers of heart disease. This inflammation, of course, ends up impeding the proper assimilation of other important nutrients such as cholesterol, which end up clogging the arteries and causing health problems.

"It is true that omega-3s reduce the risk of heart disease, but the same is not true for the omega-6s," says Gunnars. "[T]he horrible advice to increase polyunsaturated fat [consumption], without regards to the type, is probably contributing to heart disease instead of preventing it."

Be sure to check out Gunnars' full outline for more information about these and other common dietary myths, as well as extensive scientific citations that back it all up:

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