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UFIT Singapore 16 Sep 2021 3 min read

Debunked by Science: Nutrition Myths Part 2

With aplenty of nutritional advice out there, which ones should you heed?

Here are another 5  mainstream nutrition myths that have been debunked by scientific research.

Myth #6 - Saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol in blood, hence increasing the risk of heart attacks

For decades, we’ve been told that saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease. In fact, this belief is the cornerstone of modern dietary guidelines.

However… several massive review studies have recently shown that saturated fat is NOT linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

The truth is that saturated fats raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change the LDL particles from small to Large LDL, which is linked to reduced risk. For most people, eating reasonable amounts of saturated fat is perfectly safe and downright healthy.

Several recent studies have shown that saturated fat consumption does not increase the risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

 

Myth #7 - Coffee is unhealthy and should be avoided

Coffee has long been considered unhealthy, mainly because of caffeine. However, most of the studies actually show that coffee has powerful health benefits.

This may be due to the fact that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables… combined. Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… and some studies even show that they live longer than people who don’t drink coffee.

Despite being perceived as unhealthy, coffee is actually loaded with antioxidants. Numerous studies show that coffee drinkers live longer and have a lower risk of many serious diseases.

Cup of cappuccino with coffee art and coffee beans on wooden table

Myth #8 - Eating fat makes you fat. So if you’re looking to lose weight, you need to eat less fat

Fat is the stuff that is under our skin, making us look soft and puffy. Therefore it seems logical that eating fat would give us even more of it. However, this depends entirely on the context. Diets that are high in fat AND carbs can make you fat, but it’s not because of the fat.

In fact, diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) consistently lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets… even when the low-fat groups restrict calories.

The fattening effects of dietary fat depend entirely on the context. A diet that is high in fat but low in carbs leads to more weight loss than a low-fat diet.

 

Myth #9 - A high protein diet increases strain on your kidneys and raises your risk of kidney disease

It is often said that dietary protein increases strain on the kidneys and raises the risk of kidney failure. Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should cut back on protein, this is absolutely not true of otherwise healthy people.

Numerous studies, even in athletes that eat large amounts of protein, show that a high protein intake is perfectly safe. In fact, a higher protein intake lowers blood pressure and helps fight type 2 diabetes… which are two of the main risk factors for kidney failure. Also, let’s not forget that protein reduces appetite and supports weight loss, but obesity is another strong risk factor for kidney failure.

Eating a lot of protein has no adverse effects on kidney function in otherwise healthy people and improves numerous risk factors.

Fresh raw red meat at the butcher

Myth #10 - Full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat and calories. Hence, this raises the risk of obesity and heart disease

High-fat dairy products are among the richest sources of saturated fat in the diet and very high in calories. For this reason, we’ve been told to eat low-fat dairy products instead.

However, the studies do not support this. Eating full-fat dairy products is not linked to increased heart disease and is even associated with a lower risk of obesity. In countries where cows are grass-fed, eating full-fat dairy is actually associated with up to a 69% lower risk of heart disease.

If anything, the main benefits of dairy are due to the fatty components. Of course… this does not mean that you should go overboard and pour massive amounts of butter in your coffee, but it does imply that reasonable amounts of full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows are both safe and healthy.

Despite being high in saturated fat and calories, studies show that full-fat dairy is linked to a reduced risk of obesity. In countries where cows are grass-fed, full-fat dairy is linked to reduced heart disease.

 

Stay tuned to the third part where we debunk more mainstream nutrition myths!

 

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UFIT Singapore

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