Debunking Common Nutrition Myths


Published - Mar 25, 2024

By Julie Mahler, MS, RDN, CD, registered dietitian nutritionist
at IRG Physical Therapy – Gateway


As we celebrate National Nutrition Month, it's important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition! Below you’ll find commonly held beliefs that are not only false but might be preventing you from making the best dietary choices for your body.

Myth #1: Fat-free foods are healthier.
While it's true that reducing intake of saturated and trans fats is beneficial for heart health, opting for fat-free foods isn't always the best choice. Manufacturers sometimes add sugars when reducing fat in a product to compensate for the lack of fat. Turn the package over to get the real story from the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list. Check for added sugars on foods you frequently eat that are no or low fat. In addition, incorporate small portions of healthy fats like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and avocado/olive oils.

Myth #2: Eating late at night causes weight gain.
The timing of your meals matters less than how much and what you choose to eat. If you're physically hungry at night, opt for a small snack that is protein rich, like string cheese, or a whole grain, like popcorn, or high in fiber, like vegetables with dip, rather than depriving yourself.

Myth #3: Carbohydrates are bad for you.
Not all carbohydrates are created equally! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates, which provide essential nutrients and energy. It's refined carbohydrates, such as sugary snacks and white grain products, that should be consumed in moderation.

Myth #4: Only shop along the perimeter of the grocery store for the healthiest options.
Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is a health myth because it overlooks nutritious items found in the aisles. While fresh produce, seafood, lean meats, and dairy and fortified nondairy products are typically located along the perimeter, essential pantry staples like whole grains, canned beans, vegetables and fruit, spices, tuna, nuts, seeds, and frozen vegetables, seafood, whole grains and fruit are often found in the interior aisles. To improve dietary variety and better meet nutritional needs, shop in all areas of the grocery store and get delicious, affordable and easy sources of essential nutrients.

Myth #5: Juicing is a healthy way to detoxify.
While juicing can be a convenient way to consume fruits and vegetables, it's not a magic solution for detoxifying your body. Juices usually lack fiber and essential nutrients found in whole fruits and vegetables. Additionally, juicing can lead to high carbohydrate intake without the balance of fats and proteins. Instead of juicing, try making smoothies that contain proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats so you get a balance of macronutrients plus vitamins, minerals and fiber.

By debunking these common nutrition myths, we can make more informed choices about our diet and overall health. Remember to focus on balanced meals, varied food sources, and moderation to support your nutritional goals. Happy National Nutrition Month!

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If you are looking for guidance on eating healthier, IRG’s registered dietitian nutritionist, Julie Mahler, MS, RDN, CD, can help. With specialized training in obesity and weight management, Julie can help counsel you for many nutritional needs.

Learn more about service offerings at IRG here, including physical therapy, hand therapy, massage therapy, performance enhancement, athletic training and more.


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