No matter if you’re a health-conscious bodybuilder or a person who prioritizes his health above everything else, your diet is the first place to start building a healthier lifestyle. On the good side, our modern knowledge about the nutritional value of food is very extensive, but on the bad side, we often live by stupid myths that block our progress toward better health instead of speeding it up. Without further ado, we present you with 6 dangerous diet myths that you need to shake off as soon as you finish reading this article.
Myth 1: Detoxify!
While it’s true that our air, water and food are polluted to a certain level and we ingest toxic chemicals on a daily basis, our bodies are naturally well equipped for dealing with such issues and rarely need our help in doing so.
Most of the time, the popular periodic cleanings with special herbs, vegetables with ‘magical’ properties or even coffee enemas are completely unnecessary. These methods rose to prominence thanks to the new age wave of loud health-obsessed naturopaths, who generally mean well and give good advices, but in many cases their claims lack scientific support. And most important of all, the liver is not some helpless organ that needs our constant attention to work properly – it has its own ways of cleansing and regulating the elimination of toxins, so stop stressing about it.
Myth 2: Only hormone-free chickens are safe for consumption
Listen up, people. The “hormone-free” label on chicken is an absolute scam.The fact is that no chicken can be completely hormone-free – chickens, like most animals, naturally produce growth hormones, so progesterone, testosterone and estrogen can be naturally found in their meat, which makes that label very misleading. Worried about added hormones? Stress not. Additive hormones have been banned by the FDA for the past 50 years. Not only that such practice is illegal, experts say that it’s not economic at all and nobody would bother to use it anyway.
The reason why today’s chickens are so large is not because they are fed growth hormones (which by the way cannot be taken orally), it’s because farmers have increased their size over time with the help of selective breeding. In addition, the “free range” label doesn’t really mean that all of those brands have raised their chickens on a sunny meadow – that little trick is called advertising. So just relax and eat some chicken.
Myth 3: Whole milk will kill you
You’ve been advised to go for skim over full-fat diary for years now. If you ask any of your friends about his opinion on whole milk, he or she will gladly inform you that this dangerous liquid will make you gain weight, raise your cholesterol levels and clog your arteries.
However, a ton of scientific evidence says quite the contrary. Some studies suggest that people who consume full-fat diary are healthier, weight less and have a lower risk of developing diabetes. As it turns out, the bioactive substances in full-fat milk positively influence the metabolism, helping it burn fat for energy. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can eat as much as you want and whole milk will magically make you slimmer. In addition, whole milk contains oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that protects heart health. Stop the craziness and give full-fat diary a second chance.
Myth 4: Sugar feeds cancer
We’re pretty sure that you’ve already heard that cancer supposedly loves sugar. Ever since this unbalanced piece of information went online back in 2007, later supported by a few doctors on some talk show, cancer patients and overly anxious people around the globe treat sugar like it’s the meanest killer known to man.
The myth that cancer patients shouldn’t eat sugar since it will cause cancer to grow faster is a very dangerous one. Not only that consuming sugar won’t speed the growth of cancer cells, but eliminating carbohydrates from your diet will make your whole body starve and suffer – all cells in your organism depend on these nutrients for energy. And adjusting your diet in order to avoid sugar can cause you to drastically lower your intake of many other vital nutrients that those “cancer-supporting” foods have to offer.
Myth 5: Say no to salt
The war declared on salt has been raging for quite a while now and policy makers have been convincing Americans to consume less salt for decades – even toddlers know that salt is bad for you. But does high sodium intake really lead to hypertension and worsened overall health?
Science highly doubts it. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension failed to find strong evidence that restricting the salt in your diet reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, while another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that low consumption of salt is associated with a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Crazy, right? On the other hand, your body needs iodine, a nutrient typically added to table salt since 1924, to produce the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Today, iodine deficiency is a major health concern worldwide and it’s been linked to numerous health problems such as hypothyroidism, depression, autoimmune diseases, cancer, psychiatric disorders and mental retardations in children and infants. Therefore, it’s crucial that you consume an adequate amount of iodized salt on a daily basis.
Myth 6: Soy protein is just as good as whey protein
Nope, it doesn’t even come close to whey and all of its variants. First of all, many studies from the past decade have shown that the isoflavones present in soy negatively influence testosterone levels and can even lead to testicle shrinkage. While today you can find few brands of soy protein that don’t contain those dreaded compounds, that doesn’t make soy a good option for building muscle.
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A study from McMaster University found that low and average doses of soy protein have almost no effect on muscle protein synthesis, compared to the same doses of whey protein which significantly increased muscle protein synthesis. The reason for this is simple – whey contains a much higher percentage of leucine, the most important amino acids when it comes to muscle building.