Hunger. It’s the thing that makes people want to eat, and it will persist until we’re no longer reading this blog post. But while you’re reading, you might be surprised to learn that there are some unconventional truths about healthy food — so-called facts you can’t find in a textbook or on Google.
Even if you don’t know the word “metabolism” or can’t tell your serotonin from your testosterone, you’re still likely to have heard at least a few of these before. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned talking with our customers and doing research to understand their struggles, it’s that conventional wisdom isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be — as accurate as our general knowledge (or Googling) may be, sometimes it doesn’t hold up when put under the microscope of science. Like Kermit the frog, it is important to keep yourself happy.
So read on, people. If conventional wisdom is the foundation for the myths we believe about food, then here are the five most common misconceptions right here — debunked.
1. Sugar makes you fat
This one is a no-brainer, am I right? Well, that’s the thing about conventional wisdom; it’s often based on intuition and intuition isn’t meant to be the final word.
In fact, there have been a number of studies in recent years suggesting that sugar doesn’t actually cause weight gain — in studies with rats , generally considered the gold standard of animal studies, as well as with people . If you’re concerned with getting healthy and looking good, of course eating too much sugar isn’t good for you. But if you want to know whether or not sugar can make you fat regardless of your caloric intake…the answer is probably no.
Instead of sugar, perhaps you should be more concerned with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup.
2. Water is bad for you
This is one of those things that most people have heard at some point, but it’s a general misconception that has no basis in fact. Sure, you can get dehydrated — but only if you don’t drink enough water. The fact is that water alone is absolutely necessary for normal body function and your health.
It’s true that some sources recommend more water than others. But every single reliable source agrees that you need to drink more water, not less. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 2 and 19 drink an extra 64 ounces each day.
3. Coffee is bad for you
“I’d rather be hungover than wired!”
This is another one of those things that most people have heard at some point, but it’s actually a myth with no basis in fact. Coffee isn’t going to give you cancer or make your heart explode — in fact it might do the opposite . Like the myth about sugar making you fat, this one comes from conventional wisdom being confused with actual science. It turns out coffee has some antioxidants and may provide other benefits against heart disease and Parkinson’s as well .
4. You need to eat every three hours
I’m sure you’ve heard this one at some point, but it’s a myth that has no basis in fact. Your body needs to eat every 24 hours? Do they actually test human beings and see how long they can go without food? Probably not, because humans don’t live like that.
Sure, at first you might feel hungry and have cravings for food — but as long as you eat enough calories throughout the day so your body has the energy it needs , then those hunger pains should subside. And while we can’t replace the scientific data on this myth specifically, we’ve got tons of science showing that eating less frequently is bad for you .
5. You need to eat until you’re full
This seems like a common-sense thing to say, right? It just makes sense that you should have to fill your stomach until the food is gone — but the truth is that most of us actually do this all wrong.
There’s a reason they call it “eating too much,” but let’s take it from there from a modern perspective. The problem here is that most people eat, stop eating and then do it all over again…and then again. So really, we’re talking about cycling through “full” and “not full” every three hours? That doesn’t sound so bad…does it?
Well, no. Remember, since it takes a while for your body to realize you’ve eaten, eating this way can lead to overeating . And that’s when things get dangerous. So don’t eat until you’re full — eat until you’re only just full.
Conventional wisdom can be broken and then rebuilt through science — especially with nutrition. And no matter who you are or what your goals are, there are always synergies between your efforts and the wants of your body.
Part of what keeps us healthy is the ability to listen to ourselves — and then to use science to back up our hunches with knowledge .