Back-to-school season is just around the corner — and it’s never too late to re-learn and re-think some of the most common health and wellness ideas out there. And it turns out that there are many preconceived notions about diet, nutrition, and our immune system based on pop culture misconceptions or old, outdated research. In today’s article, let’s explore some of the most common mistakes that even healthy people make, and what the science actually is. To the classroom we go!
It’s School Time: Wellness Mistakes and Misconceptions That Even Healthy People Make
Below are some of the top mistakes and misconceptions that are generally accepted in today’s world, but are actually outdated or misunderstood. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to rethink and relearn what we probably accept as valid health advice!
1. Eating Eggs Causes High Blood Cholesterol
In the ’60s, we were told that eating too many eggs would cause an unhealthy rise in cholesterol. This has caused decades of generations to skip this healthy source of lean protein. Since then, newer and more in-depth research has shown that eggs don’t actually do this. The opposite is actually true.
“Two recent studies have found that eggs do not raise the risk of heart disease, and in fact may even protect against it,” reports Harvard Medical School. “[R]esearchers found that the study subjects who routinely ate eggs had a lower risk of death from stroke and heart disease compared with those who did not eat eggs. Specifically, those who ate an average of one egg per day had a 28% lower risk of death from stroke and an 18% lower risk of death from heart disease. The researchers suggested that one explanation might be the fact that eggs contain heart-healthy nutrients, such as folate and omega-3 fatty acids.”
2. You Need to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day
Don’t get us wrong: Hydration is vital for your general health and for supporting your immune system. But the old adage to drink eight glasses of water a day isn’t exactly accurate. In fact, you may need to drink far more than that depending on your age, gender, level of physical activity, and even the environmental temperature around you.
A better bet? Check your urine color. While it may be a less glamorous metric than counting your number of glasses of water, clear or light yellow urine indicates you’re drinking enough. Meanwhile, darker urine is your body’s way to say, “Hey! I’m thirsty!”
3. All Dietary Fat is Bad Fat
There’s a reason so many packaged foods loudly declare on their label, “LOW FAT” or “FAT FREE.” This all comes from diet fads and outdated nutritional advice from the mid-1950s, but it’s still a popular health myth to this day.
However, years of clinical research show that eating a low-fat diet doesn’t actually change the health markers it was purported to, and may even cause some unexpected, negative health outcomes.
Instead, focus on healthy fats (such as the monounsaturated fats in avocados and nuts, and the omega-3 fats in fish) and avoid unhealthy fats like saturated fat and trans fats. These healthy fats support a strong immune system and a powerful metabolism, too.
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4. All Fruit is Good For You
But that doesn’t give fruit a free pass in all scenarios.
After all, it’s still a source of sugar (and too much sugar spells trouble for your weight, metabolism, disease risks, and immune system).
Studies make it clear that fruit is a valuable source of fiber, antioxidants, beneficial plant compounds, and vitamins and minerals. But there are some areas to practice caution:
- Fruit juice: It’s processed, has had most of its beneficial ingredients removed (e.g., the pulp and skin of the fruit, which is where a lot of the fiber and nutrients reside) and often has sugar added
- Sugar-added fruit, such as fruit cups made with syrup or dried fruit coated in powdered sugar
- Dried fruit: It’s often sweetened, and dried fruit makes it easy for us to eat far more fruit than we normally had since it’s more dried and concentrated than whole, fresh fruit
- Fruit smoothies: If you make it yourself, stick with whole food ingredients. If you’re buying pre-made smoothies, check the ingredients list and watch for additives like fruit concentrates, sugar and other sweeteners, and additives like artificial flavoring and artificial dyes
- If you have any blood sugar issues, swap the bananas and apples for less sweet fruits such as pears and berries, limit consumption to two servings per day and eat them with some protein (such as a handful of nuts)
We hope you’ve learned something today and we’ve dispelled some long-standing healthy eating myths!