As dietitian-nutritionists, we hear all kinds of affirmations and some of them we hear very often. Sometimes true, sometimes false, these statements are often accompanied by a misleading explanation. Here are the 8 affirmations that I hear the most!
1. I have to eat protein before a workout to optimize my performance.
FALSE. Before a workout, carbs are the most effective at coping with physical exercise. The recommended amounts depend on the delay between when you snack and when you start training. The closest to the workout we get, the more we need carbs that are simple and easily digestible and the less we need protein, lipids and fibre. For more information, take a look at our article Myths About Muscle Mass Gain.
2. Athletes have to supplement protein to increase muscle mass
FALSE. To gain muscle mass, we need protein to build it, I agree! However, the amount of necessary protein per day depends on our weight. An 80kg man (175 pounds) will need approximately 164g of protein per day as opposed to a 91kg man (200 pounds) who will need between 127g to 182g of protein daily. According to our current eating habits, a person in North America can easily ingest 125g to 150g of protein daily, and that, while eating moderate portions! It’s important not to forget that protein resides not only in meat, but also in an array of oter foods. Two slices of whole wheat bread, a cup of brown rice and 1.5 cups of broccoli each contain 6g of protein. For more information, read our article How Much Protein Do You Really Need?
3. Nuts are healthy foods
TRUE. Nuts have very good nutritional properties including a high content of essential omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic fatty acid), protein, fibre and an array of micronutrients. However, being a food that contains high amounts of fat, it should be included with moderation. Integrating a few nuts with a fruit or a yogurt as a snack can help you feel satiated until your next meal.
4. Soy increases your chances of having cancer.
FALSE. On the contrary, a number of recent scientific studies are looking at the protective effect of consuming soy products regularly on the incidence of breast and prostate cancer.
5. It is necessary for a diabetic to eat carbs.
TRUE. Our primary source of energy comes from carbs. We need a minimum of 130g of carbs per day to support the brain functions alone! Therefore, if we cut all carbs from our diet, our basic bodily functions could be compromised. So, for diabetics, it’s not a question of eradicating all sorts of carbs from their diet but to control portions and choose the best sources of carbs daily to ensure proper management of blood sugar levels. To know more about this, consult our article How To Better Manage Your Diabetes in 8 Tips.
6. Gluten is harmful for health.
FALSE. Gluten is a protein from wheat. There are no dangers regarding the consumption of products with gluten, unless you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
7. The less calories there are in foods, the better they are for health.
FALSE. Light doesn’t always mean healthy. The more a food is light, the more we allow ourselves to eat more, which could actually result in an equal or higher calorie intake. Also, a reduction in fat, for example, will often lead to an increase in sugar or salt in the product to satisfy the taste of consumers. It is therefore wiser to enjoy the regular version and simply moderate your portion instead of changing your intake based on the calorie content of products. For more information, visit our article Zero Calories, Zero Consequences?
8. ‘’Cheat’’ days can negatively affect weight loss.
TRUE. The concept of cheating insinuates that we’re restricted for every other moment of the week or the day. Avoiding certain foods makes them prohibited and what’s prohibited attracting you more. To that end, if we give ourselves scheduled times to cheat, we’re very likely to eat those forbidden foods in much higher amounts that we would need. These foods are often more fatty or sweet, resulting in very high energy intake for that day. Depending on the exaggeration, a meal of that kind could negatively impact weight loss for the next week! So, if we have a cheat day every week, weight loss will be much harder than if we were to simply accept and enjoy the moments that we eat higher fat or sugar foods. For more information, read our article Treats Are Allowed!