NutritionFacts.org

nutrition myths

There are many myths surrounding nutrition, often reinforced by a lack of nutrition education in medical schools, resulting in some doctors’ lack of adequate information on the subject.

Despite myths to the contrary, the following appear to be beneficial: lots of fruits and vegetables (see here, here), plant-based diets, protein (which is not bad for bones), soy (even for women on Tamoxifen; it also produces positive effects on cognition and has no negative effects on male fertility), coffee, tea made with cold water, cooking vegetables (especially in the microwave), gluten (for 132 out of every 133 people), fatty (plant-derived) dressing, chlorella, some plant enzymes, alkaline water (but not alkaline water machines), various cholesterol-lowering foods, and maintaining very low cholesterol levels. At the same time questions have been raised about red yeast rice supplements.

Despite myths regarding the dangers or purported benefits of the following, they do not appear to be either: homeopathy, stevia, MSG (despite alleged allergic reactions), vitamin C supplements, citric acid, crop nutrient decline and moderate alcohol consumption in healthy people. Pomegranate juice is probably not as good as advertised (is anything?).

Finally, despite myths claiming no danger or even benefits from the following, these may to be harmful: eggs, fish, fish oil (due to DDT and other industrial pollutants – this includes distilled cod liver oil), meat due to arachidonic acid, deep-frying foods, having ‘average’ cholesterol levels (see here, here), low stool weight and size, a pure raw food diet, B12 deficiency present in non-supplementing vegans as well as their babies (up to 20% of them), too little iodine, too much iodine, avocados, raw alfalfa sprouts, non-organic apple juice, artificial colorings (especially ones derived from insects), aspartame, some types of Ayurvedic medicine (see here, here), blue-green algae supplements, iron pills, spirulina supplements (for their neurotoxins and liver toxins), multivitamin supplements, vitamin E supplements, Herbalife (for its liver toxicity, possibly due to vitamin A), mangosteen juice, Juice Plus+ (which is really just another vitamin supplement), high fructose corn syrup, kimchi, kombucha tea, noni juice, and yerba mate.

See also the related blog post: Nutrition Education in Medicine: a Doctor a Day Keeps the Apples Away

Topic summary contributed by Eitan.
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Watch videos about nutrition myths

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    Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, but which is more protective, raw or cooked?
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    There are a few examples of plant enzymes having physiologically relevant impacts on the human diet, and the formation of sulforaphane in broccoli is one of them.
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    Both U.S.-made and imported Ayurvedic dietary supplements have high contamination rates of toxic metals such as mercury, though only a small fraction of the levels found in canned tuna.
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    Toxic heavy metal contamination of Ayurvedic dietary supplements is in most cases intentional.
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    The average "bad" cholesterol (LDL) level in people having heart attacks is in the "near-optimal" range, suggesting that the current guidelines are too lax.
  • Is Pomegranate Juice That Wonderful?
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    Food companies (such as POM Wonderful) invoke the First Amendment to defend false and unsubstantiated health claims.
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    Hawkers of "ionizer" water machines (like Kangen) claim healing alkaline water benefits; skeptics call it snake oil. They both may be wrong.
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