"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” — La Rochefoucald.

We often hear plenty of misconstrued facts regarding health and nutrition every single day. Many a time, people tend to believe half-truths which make them even more anxious regarding their health. There is always a thin line of difference between fact and fiction. All you need to do is be open-minded to focus on the logic to see things clearly. It is time to stop feeding yourself with misguided information. 

Here is an amazing list of 9 health and nutrition myths you need to stop believing right away. Read on to find out why!

Myth 1: Drinking eight glasses of water is good for your health.

Fact: Well, you don’t need to keep a count of how many glasses of water you drink every day. It is not essential to consume plain water to meet your body’s requirements. You can take water in the form of vegetable juices, milk, fruits, caffeinated beverages, and even cooked rice. Therefore, it is a mere conception that only plain water can contribute to your fluid needs.

Myth 2: Dark bread (brown bread/black bread/rye bread) is healthier than white bread.

Fact: Appearances can be deceptive even when it comes to bread. The mere color of the bread cannot determine its nutrient quotient. You need to go through its list of ingredients to check what is actually beneficial for you. Darker bread can be nothing more than caramel-coated bread. You might be signing up for just a colored white bread. 

Myth 3: Salads are highly recommended as they are the healthiest on the diet menu.

Fact: Choosing salad is often considered to be the safest option for all the diet freaks. You might be mistaken in that case. Lettuce mixed with sugar and added toppings can contain more calories than the finger-licking pizza you might be trying to resist all this while. All those extra layers of creamy dressings of bacon (salt-cured meat cut from a pig's belly or back), cheese, and dried fruits can contain more fat than you would have imagined.

Myth 4: Margarine is way better than butter when it comes to a healthy diet.

Fact: Margarine is a processed food used for flavoring, baking, and cooking. It tastes and looks very similar to butter. Margarines are made from vegetable oils and are claimed to be heart-healthy. 

You might be surprised to hear that margarine contains more trans fats (also called trans-fatty acids, is a harmful type of dietary fat) and is worse than butter which contains saturated fat (a type of dietary fat found in butter, palm oil and cheese). 

Butter doesn’t contain any extra ingredients to satisfy your taste palates. Butter is a dairy product made by churning cream and is a concentrated form of milk fat. On the other hand, vegetable oils, which are liquid at room temperature, are hydrogenated for producing margarine. Hydrogenation is a process used to harden the vegetable oils in margarine.

Hydrogenated oils can be extremely harmful to your body and most kinds of margarine also contain food additives and colorants, making it a highly processed food. If you are picking margarine over butter, go through the ingredient list elaborately and go for the ones made with olive oil.

Myth 5: Organic food is healthy.

Fact: Organic food is the product of a farming method that avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. Organic products contain fewer pesticides and additives and are supposed to be rich in nutrients and healthy.

There is a big hullabaloo around the word “organic”. People tend to escape eating snacks by labeling them as “organic”. You cannot be consoling yourself every time you try “organic cookies, chips, or candies”. The harsh reality is that they contain as much sugar, fat, and calories as any other non-organic snack.

Myth 6: You need to cut carbohydrates in your diet to lose weight.

Fact: Carbohydrates are extremely essential for maintaining energy, concentration, and stamina. Therefore, it is not desirable to cut on carbs at any point. You could be missing out on important nutrients that are responsible for the maintenance of your overall health. Carbohydrates should in fact make up for 45 to 65 percent of your daily diet. Consult your doctor to understand more about this.

Myth 7: Consuming dark chocolate can help you burn fat.

Fact: Dark chocolate is slightly bitter chocolate, of deep brown colour, without added milk. Studies show that dark chocolate may reduce cravings and promote feelings of fullness, which may help support weight loss.

It can be satisfying to the taste buds that dark chocolate can help you lose weight. Polyphenols which is the main nutrient of dark chocolate helps in burning fat and lowering down the blood pressure. But how processed is your dark chocolate? Its ingredients will lose all of its actual health benefits if it is way too processed.

Myth 8: Sea salt is way healthier than regular table salt.

Fact: Sea salt is the purest and unprocessed form of salt that is obtained naturally from the sea waters. Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits and is processed. 

The difference between them is in their texture, taste, and processing. Some experts advocate the use of sea salt as it contains compounds of magnesium, sodium, and iron. However, the real truth is that they are present in mere quantities. 

On the other hand, if you miss out on regular table salt, you will be losing out on iodine which plays an instrumental role in regulating your hormones (your body’s chemical messengers that help you work and grow). You need to eat salt for normal cell function and to maintain the acid balance of your blood. Acid-base balance refers to the mechanisms your body uses to keep its fluids close to neutral pH (that is, neither basic nor acidic) so that your body can function normally.

Myth 9: Paleo diet promotes weight loss and burns calories.

Fact: Paleo diet consists of veggies, fruits, seafood, legumes, starches. The paleo diet allows you to eat only those foods that humans ate when they first roamed the planet about 2.5 million years ago. Hence, it is often seen as a golden diet rule for many. However, the paleo diet is just a way of deceiving yourself as it contains steak (a cut from a piece of meat that is grilled thoroughly) and bacon. It won’t pay you in the longer run.

The typical paleo diet will lead to deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, which are critical for your bone health. At the same time, saturated fat and protein can be consumed far above recommended levels, increasing the risk of kidney and heart disease and certain cancers.

Hence, in a nutshell, these are just a few myths on the bucket list. All you need to do is find out the whole story behind every such false truth you hear. Consult your general physician/dietitian/nutritionist to discuss more of such myths.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.