Whether it's due to misinformation, downright stubbornness or just the fact that some people don't care, too many folks keep making the same mistakes when it comes to nutrition.
Here are some of the top mistakes that can lead to health problems.
1. Thinking That Fruit Juice is Healthy
Fruit juice offers up a world of confusion for most folks. Truth is, most fruit juices currently on the market are really nothing more than water added to concentrate, and more often than not the juice contains no actual fruit juice at all. Instead of fruit juice, chemicals have been added to make it taste like fruit juice.
An even bigger problem is that even if you're seeking out 100% fruit juice, it often also contains the exact same amount of sugar that a Coke does. While these may taste like the actual fruit, they contain none of the benefits of the real deal because things like fiber have been removed, and all you are left with is a glass full of sugar.
For instance, you'd have to eat several whole oranges to consume the same amount of sugar you'd get from one glass of orange juice.
So be careful with fruit juice, it's rarely what it is marketed as.
2. People Don't Read Labels
People are suckers for misleading labels, and marketing and junk food manufacturers know it.
They understand the limited nutritional knowledge of the average consumer and therefore purposely mislabel foods with tags like "includes whole grains," "low-fat," and "contains Omega-3s."
Even bolder, they will typically add a few very small amounts of healthy ingredients and then label the product a "health food."
Case in point: will a small amount of Omega-3 offset the potential long-term damage by the massive amount of sugar in a food?
Be careful, and take the time to read labels.
This is also important when it comes to choosing supplements. It is important to choose from a manufacturer that is forthcoming with information about their products and allows you to read their labels.
3. Whole Wheat is a Healthy Choice
Over the past few decades, we've seen a lot more new information come in of the harmful effects of refined wheat, while whole wheat is still considered by many to be healthy.
The problem here is that foods typically claiming whole wheat contain only whole wheat that has been pulverized into flour. The wheat substance now becomes rapidly digestible and can often spike blood sugar levels just as quickly as normal sugar.
Wheat also contains notable levels of gluten, which can cause gluten-sensitive people all kinds of problems, like abdominal pain, digestive issues, fatigue and more.
Studies have also linked wheat to disease like schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia.
And there is at least one study that links whole wheat to higher cholesterol.
People need to readjust their thinking on wheat, especially whole wheat.
4. People Don't Commit to Eating Unprocessed Foods
Eating healthy can be simple and kept that way without a tremendous amount of nutritional knowledge.
If you simply keep in mind when eating that humans survived for centuries without the nutritional knowledge we have today, then food choices become simpler.
If you think about the foods that people ate long ago, you can make the same choices.
Even today, non-industrialized societies (the few that still exist) tend to be a lot healthier than the rest of us, and that's because they eat nothing but unprocessed, natural foods.
Here's a good rule of thumb. If a food product looks manufactured, don't eat it.
5. People Don't Eat Enough Protein
Despite the fact that many health organizations continue to promote lower daily intakes of protein, people need to step up their protein consumption if they're seeking optimal health. The daily recommended dose of protein is about 56 grams for men and 46 for women daily. This is not enough.
Studies have shown that higher protein intake results in better health, especially for those of us who are very active.
Protein is the best satiating macronutrient going, not to mention that your body burns more calories metabolizing it. It has also been proven a very effective weight loss aid.
6. Fear of Fat
Too many people are still stuck on outdated thinking from the 60s and 70s that saturated fat is bad. They haven't yet overcome the barrage of misinformation that came with 1977's proclamations that low-fat/high carb diets work best.
Truth is, since then studies have toppled that thinking, showing constantly that saturated fats are harmless. If you've been keeping up, you'd know that the real fats you need to avoid are the trans-fats and vegetable oils.
Go ahead and eat a little butter, coconut oil, eggs and red meat...it's all good for you.
7. Ditching the Egg Yokes
Eggs get one of the worst raps, due in large part to the misinformation about their high cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that cholesterol in one's diet doesn't really raise cholesterol in the blood and therefore eggs are not linked to heart disease.
Eggs are, in fact, full of benefits like vitamins and nutrients and minerals, and are especially effective in helping with the eyes and brain.
But the biggest misinformation is about the yokes. The yokes contain almost all of an egg's nutrients. Egg whites have only protein.
So remember, don't throw away the yokes, they're the healthiest part.
8. Thinking in Terms of Calories Only
Everyone is consumed with counting calories. They think that's all that matters when eating healthy and watching one's weight. Not true. While counting calories and portion control will help some people, it won't be effective for others.
Different foods and macronutrients affect people's metabolisms differently, and this, in turn, will affect their hunger and hormones. Accordingly, people want to focus on what foods are right for them in optimizing their ability to lose weight.
Replacing sugar and carbs with more protein and fat is a great place to start.
9. Reducing Sodium Intake
Almost all health organizations will tell people to reduce the sodium in their diet, citing reasons like lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
The problem is -- this doesn't work.
Studies have shown only minor reductions in blood pressure, while showing that reduced sodium has no effect on the risk of heart disease, stroke or even death. Reducing sodium, can, however, lead to insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and higher triglycerides.
Processed foods by far contain the most sodium. So if you're eating them, don't add more.
10. Eating Smaller, But More Meals
There is a popular line of thinking that eating 5-6 smaller meals daily is healthier. This isn't true. It's the total consumption of food daily that counts, not the number of meals Study after study has proven that it's the amount and not the frequency with which you eat that can be problematic.
11. Final Nutrition Mistake - Focusing on Health Foods
While it is great that people are becoming more health conscious, we still need to be aware that food manufacturers and marketers are taking full advantage of this and are going out of their way to exploit healthy eating.
More and more we see new products labeled "organic" and "gluten-free," and while some of them may be legitimate, the vast majority of them are still just repackaged junk food full of bad stuff.
Here's a good rule of thumb. Try to avoid all packaged and processed foods. You'll be much better off.