1. Everyone should consume grains.
Not all grains are created equal and not everyone can tolerate them.
They are not a necessity for a healthy body–in fact, North Americans eat WAY too much, especially of the genetically-modified, highly-refined, and processed kind.
In the book Grain Brain, David Permutter, MD puts it in perspective:
“In 1992, we were told [by the U.S. Department of Agriculture], ‘You’ve got to go low-fat, no-fat—that’s what’s best for your heart’. Within 10 years, the rate of diabetes in America went up threefold, and diabetes doubles your Alzheimer’s risk…The brain thrives on a fat-rich, low-carbohydrate diet, which unfortunately is relatively uncommon in human populations today.”
Grains are complex carbohydrates and many are nutrient-poor. Over-consumption raises insulin production that can lead to diabetes.
Common modern wheat has been bred for yield volume and resistance to disease. Nutrition is the sacrifice. One medical expert on wheat went so far as to call it “perfect, chronic poison”. It’s no accident that celiac disease has become increasingly widespread and was virtually unheard-of even fifty years ago.
Gluten intolerance has been linked to diabetes. Chronic ingestion of gluten in those sensitive to it leads to chronic inflammation in the body, which contributes to a slew of life-threatening illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
2. Low-fat diets will help you lose weight.
A great deal of research has gone into different diets and their impacts on weight loss. The jury is in: low-fat diets do not help you lose weight, low-carbohydrate diets do.
It may sound contradictory, but it’s true. The reasons why are basic body chemistry: normally, we burn up sugar in the form of glucose for fuel. When the glucose runs out, carbon fragments called ketones are created as cells turn to fat stores for energy. A diet higher in fat forces the process of ketosis to occur, burning fat instead of sugar.
In addition, “low-fat” foods often substitute unhealthy ingredients to try to mimic the flavor and mouth-feel of foods that haven’t been skimmed of fat: taste the difference between non-fat and Greek yogurt, for example. The non-fat variety will contain gelatin or emulsifiers or fillers so your brain doesn’t think you’re depriving yourself. Plus artificial sweeteners that will kill you.
Higher fat and fewer carbs from diet have positive effects on cholesterol and blood sugar levels, too. It all goes together.
Whole foods, rich plant-sourced fats, lean proteins, and increased exercise will help you lose weight. Processed “diet foods” won’t.
3. Low-salt diets are healthy.
Yes and no. Too much sodium is bad, contributing to high blood pressure.
Common table salt has been processed so much that any nutrition has been stripped from it.
Moderation is the key. A study that compared two groups of people with cardiovascular disease–one with a normal sodium and the other with a low-sodium diet–returned a somewhat surprising result:
“The normal-sodium group had a lower incidence of rehospitalization during follow-up and a significant decrease in plasma BNP [brain natriuretic peptide] and aldosterone levels, and PRA [plasma renin activity]. The results of the present study show that a normal-sodium diet improves outcome, and sodium depletion has detrimental renal and neurohormonal effects with worse clinical outcome in compensated CHF [congestive heart failure] patients.”
4. Saturated fat is harmful.
What is important when it comes to fats is the source. Believe it or not, lard coming from organically-raised pigs is better for you than corn oil. That’s not to say you should start using lard in all of your cooking.
We need to attain and maintain an appropriate proportion of different kinds of fat (specifically, omega-6 to omega-3).
We need saturated fat in our diet as much as we need protein–maybe even more so. Our bodies burn fat for energy. Fat is responsible for brain health and the vitality of every cell in the body. Without it, nothing works right.
Let the myth-busting continue…