Health Bite: Diet Myths

Jim Rogers Features, Health Bite

Over the years, bad advice and diet myths have thrown off track many people in pursuit of better health.

Hi, I’m Rachel Eslick with your Ag Net West Health Bite. Things like marketing, rigged studies, and doctors taking a rake, have spread false ideas. Plus, as experts’ understanding of nutrition evolves, tips and advice change too.

One of the most prominent diet myths is that fat makes you fat. High-fat foods include butter, cheese, cooking oil, avocado, nuts, and certain meats, to name a few. The low fat craze of the ’80s and ’90s made people think fat was the enemy. Thus, tons of products were created, altered, and labeled “low fat” and allegedly healthy. People bought and ate more of it, but weren’t any better off. 

We’ve seen the exact opposite more recently with the ketogenic fad – a high fat diet that vilifies carbohydrates. The reality is that taking in too much energy of any kind will cause weight gain. It doesn’t matter if it’s fat, carbs, protein, or alcohol. Too much of anything has the same impact – excess stored fat. Studies have shown either low fat or low carb diets yield the same results. As long as the dieters are in a caloric deficit, they’ll lose about the same amount of weight.

Another absurd myth is that fruit is bad because it contains sugar. I’d argue sugar from ice cream and candy which is hyper-palatable – AKA delicious – and really hard to put down, is far worse than eating bananas or watermelon. It’s much more difficult to overeat fruit than ultra-processed food. Plus, fruit contains water and fiber, so you’re much better off overall. Fruit juice and peach cobbler start to fall into the “proceed with extreme caution” category, obviously, but several servings of whole fruit is A-OK in my book. As I’ve told my clients, fruit didn’t make anyone fat. Too much pizza, chips, candy, and booze make people fat.

The final diet myth I want to debunk today is that plant-based is healthier than animal-based. This is the hottest debate right now, with people arguing about sustainability, climate change, chronic disease risk, animal welfare and more. There isn’t enough time even in a three-hour Joe Rogan podcast to get into all the nuances, but a well-rounded diet containing both plants and animals is still a wise choice. 

Most experts agree on the following: 

  • Eat mostly whole foods
  • Choose high quality protein sources
  • Fruits and vegetables are good
  • Stick with high nutrient density (fewer empty calories) 
  • Minimize processed foods
  • Eat slowly while listening to hunger and fullness cues
Health Bite: Diet Myths
Rachel Eslick

For AgNet West’s Health Bite, I’m Rachel Eslick. I can help you reach your health and fitness goals with 1:1 and group training. Visit www.reachfit.net.