You’ll find no shortage of health advice out there. From websites, to your social media feed, to your relative and friends.
But which should you be following?
This is one myth that I’m sure most of you have heard of. The matter of fact is limiting salt intake to reduce blood pressure and heart disease has little basis in science.
For every study that suggests that salt is unhealthy, another does not. Although lowering salt can reduce blood pressure by 1-5 mm/Hg on average, it doesn’t have any effect on heart attacks, strokes or death (1, 2).
Problem is that individuals vary in how they respond to salt. The number of people who experience drops in blood pressure after eating high-salt diets almost equals the number who experience blood pressure spikes. In many others however, it stays the same.
The exception is if you have a medical condition like salt-sensitive hypertension. In this case, it makes sense to restrict your salt intake.
This myth has been perpetuated for many many years. So much so that it’s quite ingrained and we stop questioning it.
However the truth is, dietary cholesterol has remarkably little effect on cholesterol in your blood, at least for the majority of people. To find out more about Cholesterol, click HERE.
And let’s just say for argument’s sake that it does raise your blood cholesterol. Studies have shown that it does not affect your risk of heart attack and stroke in non-diabetic individuals (3).
The thing is whole eggs are one of most nutritious foods around. And almost all the precious nutrients are concentrated in the yolk.
You might not believe this, but ironically nearly all of the studies to date show that artificial sweeteners cause even MORE weight gain than caloric sweeteners! Researchers have also found that diet sodas actually increases your risk of diabetes MORE than sugar-sweetened ones.
Some possible reasons behind these are:
Seed and vegetable oils (like soybean, sunflower, corn oils) are high in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, have been shown to lower your cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. However there’s no point improving your risk factor if it does NOT affect the end result (i.e. heart attacks, strokes and death).
This is because when consumed in large amounts, as with our current modern, highly processed diets, they distort your body’s omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This causes rampant inflammation in your body which increases your risk of various chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other illnesses.
The matter of the fact is different foods go through different metabolic pathways in your body. What this means is that different foods have different effect on your hunger, hormones, appetite and health.
For example, sugar calories cause your body to store fat and spike hunger. Protein and fat calories on the other hand promote fat burning in your body and reduce your appetite.
Not all calories are created equal. This is not to say that calories do not count at all though. Calories do matter, however where that calorie comes from also matters. Your food interacts with your biology, which is a complex adaptive system.
There are many myths out there and also studies that contradict each other. So what should you follow and what to dismiss?
If I had to give one advice on nutrition, it would be this:
Go for fresh whole foods and foods that are minimally processed or better yet not processed at all. Foods that are sustainably raised and given their appropriate diet (i.e. grass fed beef instead of corn fed).
These are the types of foods that your body is adapted to. And they should provide you with the necessary nutrients to stay healthy.
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