6 Nutrition Myths that can Wreck your Fitness Journey

Have you ever stopped eating pasta for fear of gaining weight? What if we told you that this thought, as well as several others, has no scientific basis? In today’s article, we’ll debunk some common nutrition myths that you've probably heard before. Don’t make your fitness journey more complicated than it needs to be!
6 Nutrition Myths that can Wreck your Fitness Journey

Last update: 15 January, 2020

So, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and eating carbohydrates at dinner will make you fat? How many half-truths have you heard in the media? There are many nutrition myths without a scientific basis scattered all around us. Here are some of the most common ones!

The nutrition myths we hear most often

1. Does eating carbohydrates at dinner make you gain weight?

Some of the main arguments that support this theory are that your metabolism is paralyzed during sleep. And, consuming carbohydrates at night is bad for your body. However, what does science have to say about it?

For starters, your metabolism doesn’t suddenly stop while you sleep. In fact, in one study researchers found that thin people burn more calories while they sleep than while they’re awake. This means that for some people, their metabolism accelerates while sleeping.

Another of the half-truths that have spread is that carbohydrates accumulate in the form of fat if they’re not used at that moment, which is also not true.

It’s important to know that carbohydrates are used for energy. Once they’re not needed for this function, the body stores them in the form of glycogen in the muscle and liver. Only when both of these organs are full is that carbohydrates stored in the form of fat.

Finally, carbohydrates aren’t bad for you at night. On the contrary, they can help reduce the sensation of hunger and, therefore, promote weight loss.

2. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

This statement comes from the food industry, specifically that of cereals. Different studies and researchers have stated that when someone who isn’t used to having breakfast begins to do so, their weight increases.

The importance of a healthy breakfast.

3. Number of meals, another of the myths of nutrition

The idea of ​​the five daily meals is widespread. What’s true here? Studies have been conducted evaluating caloric intake with a different number of intakes and researchers found no inherent advantages to making a greater number of meals. Depending on your own tastes and traits, people eating more meals per day can have two different reactions:

On the one hand, there are those who control hunger better by eating several times each day.

On the other hand, there are people who are satisfied with two or three daily meals. In these cases, adding new meals can increase emotional eating and intake throughout the day.

In addition, the fact that these in-between meals are appetizers makes it more likely for untrained people to choose processed and unhealthy foods.

If you’re wondering whether or not you should try eating more times per day, think about how many times a day you feel hungry. If you consider this you’ll be able to make the best choice for your body.

The general nutritional recommendations are extremely arbitrary, especially in regard to micronutrients. Depending on the source consulted, we can find some values ​​or others. Just as the analytical ranges are not standardized, which vary from one laboratory to another, there’s no standardization of the recommended daily intakes for any given person.

As an example, the recommended levels of vitamin C are those that prevent scurvy — a disease caused by the deficiency of this vitamin. It doesn’t take into account how much each person absorbs, just as their status is not contemplated in routine analysis. Giving importance to this term contributes to the presence of nutrition myths in society!

Your best option to know your recommended intake is to consult with a nutritionist. They should evaluate your physical state and provide a personalized plan made just for you.

5. You have to eat a little bit of everything

Most of the advertisements seen on television promote the consumption of processed foods. It’s rare to find an advertisement that encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables or fish–the basis of healthy eating.

It’s common to find statements about responsible consumption in the context of a healthy lifestyle, among products that are precisely the most unhealthy. These messages are widely used by the processed food and alcohol industries.

For example, everyone knows that alcohol isn’t recommended, but it doesn’t prevent its advertising or the promotion of responsible consumption. Ideally, the best recommendation would be to eliminate its consumption.

6. Calories, one of the most common nutrition myths

This common myth is based on our body and its energy needs. Their proponents state that what matters the most is the final number of calories consumed per day.

The fact is, not all calories are created equally. Food is more than calories! Of course, there are calories, but there are also minerals, vitamins, and sensations that they transmit to us. The calories from an apple aren’t the same as the calories from soda.

This statement also doesn’t take into account the satiating factor of food. After all, we eat with the goal of placating hunger!

If you consume the juice of two oranges for breakfast you’ll probably add a slice of toast and a spread to go with it. On the other hand, you’ll probably have a hard time eating two whole oranges and the rest of your usual breakfast. Try it out for yourself and see! The volume of the foods we consume, rather than their actual calorie count, is what will make you feel full.

In short, these common nutrition myths arise from misinformation and confusion generated by industries in specific sectors to position their products on the market. We must be attentive and know what’s best for our bodies, in order to achieve a better quality of life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Zhang0 K, Sun M et al. Sleeping metabolic rate in relation to body mass index and body composition. 2002. International journal of obesity, 26(3), 376.
  • Sofer S, Eliraz A et al. Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner. 2011. Obesity, 19(10), 2006-2014
  • Sievert K, Hussain S et al. Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. 2019. BMJ, 364, 142.
  • Leidy HJ, Campbell WW. The effect of eating frequency on appetite control and food intake: brief synopsis of controlled feeding studies. 2010. The Journal of nutrition, 141(1), 154-157
  • Murakami K, Livingstone MBE. Eating frequency is positively associated with overweight and central obesity in US adults. 2015. The Journal of nutrition, 145(12), 2715-2724
  • Aljuraiban GS, Chan Q et al. The impact of eating frequency and time of intake on nutrient quality and body mass index: the INTERMAP study, a population-based study. 2015. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(4), 528-536

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.