5 Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition can be difficult to get your head around.
Harder so when you’re constantly being fed misinformation.
It makes choosing the best diet for you an impossible task and often sees you taking 1 step forward and 5 steps back.
Then to throw fuel on the fire there are myths in the industry that just won’t go away. Instead, they hang around leading people astray and keeping you further from your goals.
In my continued effort to cut through the bullshit, today we’ll bust 5 of the biggest nutrition myths.
Your Protein Intake Needs To Be Sky High
Protein is essential to the human body and plays a huge role in muscle building and retention.
But how much do you actually need?
Between the influence of pro bodybuilders, the false idea that more is better and the power and sway of supplement companies you’d be forgiven for thinking your diet has to be predominantly protein based to see any progress.
You Have To Eat Breakfast
Listen to some people and you’ll easily believe that if you don’t eat breakfast you’ll soon perish and die.
However, a look at the research shows that a lot of the usually touted evidence that says you need to have breakfast “lacks probative value” and involves “biased research reporting.”
In actual fact the belief in the idea we need breakfast outweighs any scientific evidence pointing to the same conclusion.
Additionally, a review paper (3) shows that existing evidence in favour of eating breakfast is weak and that research shows no cause and effect link between skipping breakfast and energy balance.
You see, some people get hungry in the morning and function better with breakfast whereas others can forego breakfast to eat later in the day and function just as well.
Regarding weight loss or gain, your total calorie intake across the day will be the determining factor, not whether or not you ate breakfast.
Fasting Is Bad For You
I’m not sure where this myth comes from, maybe it’s the false idea that skipping breakfast is bad for you or the idea that if you fast for any period of time then you’ll enter starvation mode, but whether it’s one of these or something else entirely the fact is intermittent fasting is not bad for you.
In fact, numerous studies show that there are in fact numerous benefits to intermittent fasting;
- Fasting was shown to increase fat oxidation after both 12 and 36-hour fasts. (4)
- Research (5, 6) has shown to increase both total and pulsatile (7) growth hormone concentration in the body after fasting.
Note: Growth hormone is responsible for facilitating fat burning, muscle gain and more. (8)
- Intermittent fasting (9, 10) has also been seen to increase metabolism by up to 3.6 – 10%
- Research (11) also shows the intermittent fasting may be superior to standard calorie restriction when it comes to the retention of muscle mass when eating in a calorie deficit.
None of this is to say you have to use intermittent fasting, but at least now you won’t dismiss it out of hand based on a myth.
You Need to Eat 5-6 Small Meals a Day to Boost Metabolism
Research (12) shows that increased meal frequency does not lead to an increase in calories burned.
The study compared 2 groups;
- One high meal frequency with 6 meals a day
- The other low meal frequency with 3 meals a day
The study concluded; “increasing MF [(meal frequency)] does not promote greater body weight loss.”
In addition, a review of multiple studies of human feeding concluded there is no difference in total calories burned between frequent and infrequent meals when an equal number of calories are consumed (13).
What does this mean for you?
Eat as often as you want, whether that’s 2 times a day or 8 it’s up to you.
At the end of the day, it’s the total number of calories that you consume that will determine the change you see in your weight, not the number of times you eat.
The Body Can Only Process 30g Of Protein Per Meal
This myth has been around for as long as I can remember and although it has been disproven by numerous people it still circulates in all the fitness and bodybuilding forums.
I’ve even seen it discussed on Reddit but thankfully the community is switched on and shut the myth down (14).
Where did the myth come from?
I’m not sure anyone knows for sure but the consensus seems to be that it was sparked by a research paper looking at the absorption rate of protein, which found that 30g so protein was absorbed within 3 – 4 hours (15).
From this study, the myth was born.
It doesn’t matter if you eat 10g or 50g your body will be able to process it and put it to use.
A study (16) looked at the effect of protein feeding patterns on protein retention in young women and found no significant difference in whole-body protein turnover or whole-body protein synthesis and breakdown when their protein was given either mainly in one meal or split across 4 meals.
Another study (17) looking at the effects of intermittent fasting on whole-body glucose, lipid and protein metabolism found that fasting had no effect on protein metabolism even when daily protein intake when it was consumed within a 4-hour eating window.
As with most things it comes down to eating in a way that works for you, whether that’s lots of protein in one go or spread out across the day, both is ok.
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy.
Hopefully, now we’ve busted 5 of the worst nutrition myths things will be a little clearer for you.
Today we learned that;
- Your protein intake DOESN’T need to be sky-high
- You DON’T have to eat breakfast if you don’t want to
- Fasting is NOT bad for you
- Eating 5 – 6 meals a day WON’T speed up your metabolism
- Your body CAN process more than 30g of protein in one sitting