8 Controversial Nutrition Facts
I can attribute almost all growth in my life to difficulty. Which is something I have been paying particular mind to lately.
Perhaps it's as I’m working my way through Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ (for the 5th time). A book that behoves you to frame challenges as invaluable.
This has resulted in a lot of my behaviour being predicated on:
Finding what scares me
Then facing it head on
And it is so damn liberating.
A thought that I keep repeating is… 'The quality of your life expands in direct proportion to the amount of difficult conversations you are willing to have.' Which I adapted from a Tim Ferris original.
So, you lovely lot. Buckle up and get ready for some serious life-quality-gains. As this post could get pretty damn uncomfortable.
#1 Sugar Is Not Making You (Nor Anyone Else) Fat
Despite the media having an absolute field day with sugar right now – sugar intake has been proven to have zero impact on weight loss once overall calories are controlled for.
For the evidence based amongst you - here are 3 peer-reviewed studies that show just that:
#2 Avoiding Foods Because You Cannot Pronounce the Ingredients Makes Zero Sense
Sure, big words can be scary sometimes. Just ask those with Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. The phobia of long words.
Although it sounds like a nice hard and fast rule - your inability to say a word does not alter the nutritional content of that food. Imagine you are eating an apple. That is easy enough to read and pronounce. Score. Is that same apple unhealthy for an illiterate person?
Okay, I am being a bit facetious there. But check out what blueberries contain (right) and you should get the point.
#3 You Should Rely on Supplements
Supplements can be a cheap and convenient way to get the recommended dose of a certain something compared to wholefood sources.
For example, to get 5g of creatine you could have…
5g Creatine Monohydrate Powder
2.2lbs of Chicken Breast
Or for 5000iu Vitamin D, how about…
1 x Vitamin D Capsule
2.7lbs of Ahi Tuna
Beyond convenience - wholefood sources do not always contain the most bioavailable form of the nutrient you are trying to get, either.
Take the Omega 3s in chia seeds as an example, that are made up of ‘ALA’. ALA has to be converted in the body. But <1% of it is converted to DHA and likely <5% to EPA. Which you would get in abundance by simply necking any high quality omega 3 capsule.
#4 Your ‘Health Halo’ is an Illusion
You have to look beyond companies slapping the prefix ‘healthy’ before any food or recipe. As well as buzzwords like ‘natural’ and ‘unrefined’.
Take Lenny & Larry’s as an example. Marketed as the ‘Clean and Natural’ option. You are looking at 380 calories for putting away one of their chocolate chip cookies. At Subway, a chocolate chip cookie clocks in at 200 calories... Yeah.
Protein-evangelists are not off the hook, either. Since taking any old recipe and chucking in an extra 30g of whey does not make it the perfect muscle-building snack.
#5 ‘Going Organic’ Has No Proven Benefits
This one can rile people up. So I will simply leave a few links below to published scientific reviews on the topic.
Grab a non-organic coffee have a nosey.
In the words of my man Layne Norton – ‘don’t hate me, hate the data.’
#6 Your Body Is Tracking, Even When You Are Not
I think that everybody should keep a food diary at some point. It does not have to be done every day, nor forever.
But spend some time looking honestly and objectively at what you actually eat. You will gain valuable insights and empowering data from knowing your daily intake.
After all, those calories register with your body whether you are counting them or not. Free samples ‘n’ all.
#7 No Matter What You Eat, You Are Not ‘Eating Clean’
There is quite simply no objective definition of what ‘clean eating’ is.
This one seems picky, I know. But stick with me.
By having no yardstick to measure up against - you cannot classify certain foods as ‘clean’ or not.
Meat may be classed an unclean by a vegetarian. Grains by a paleo follower. Carbohydrates by a keto-advocate. And the list goes on. The take home message is to avoid demonizing or idolizing certain foods (See #4).
#8 You Probably Don't Need to Go ‘Gluten Free’
Approximately 1% of the American population have coeliac disease. For these people – gluten damages the lining of their small intestine. For a small subset of others, eating gluten-containing foods may flair up their IBS.
Gluten should be avoided in both cases.
If you are not in either of the above categories, then I have some great news… the bakery is your playground. As is the cereal aisle.
Plus, you no longer have to fork out for overpriced gluten-free alternatives. Ideal.
Which of these have you fallen for in the past? Let me know in the comments below and I'll jump in to reply too.
If you want to clear up more nutrition myths or fire any more questions my way – you can throw me an email. Or catch me over on Instagram, linked below.