8 Nutrition Myths You Think Are Fact

You make decisions about what to put into your body all the time. Whether it’s what to have for lunch or which drink is going to best quench your thirst, you probably weigh several different factors before coming to a decision. But are you picking your food based on the right information? Find out which myths might be fooling you into passing up healthier options.

Carbs Make You Fat

The problem with this myth is that it’s overly broad. Simple carbs can contribute to weight gain, but carbs include a lot more than refined sugar. Fiber, which is found in whole grains and many fruits and vegetables, is a carbohydrate that helps lower your risk of colon cancer and boosts digestive health. When picking out carbohydrate-heavy foods like pasta or bread, go with whole grain or whole wheat options whenever you can. This pushes the balance in favor of healthier complex carbohydrates and away from calorie-dense simple sugars.

What's Really Causing Your Obesity: Nature or Nurture?

It's more complex than too many calories and not enough physical activity.

The American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. But in the past 13 years, there's not been much of a shift in the understanding of what causes obesity — not in the general public, in people who contend with the condition or in the practice of medicine. Most people still think of obesity as a character flaw caused by too many calories and not enough physical activity. But it's much more complex than that.

A study analyzing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data found that even though US adults' BMI increased between 1988 and 2006, the amount of calories adults consumed and the energy they expended were unchanged. It also appears that the quality of calories consumed (low versus high glycemic index) is as important a consideration as the total quantity. And genetics only explains about 2.7% variation in people's weight, according to a study in Nature. That all adds up to this: The two most common explanations for obesity — calories in, calories out and family history — cannot, by themselves, explain the current epidemic.

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