Nutrition Myths: Debunking 4 popular health food fads

Health The List
By: Jimmy Rhoades Posted: 4:42 PM, Mar 23, 2017

Every couple of weeks there's a new food, vegetable or fruit that gets a lot of hype and that can lead to a lot of confusion. How can you tell what to believe? Jimmy Rhoades and The American College of Cardiology’s Andrew Freeman are debunking nutrition fads that suck us all in with over-the-top health claims.

1.  Antioxidant Obsession

The problem isn't the antioxidants that you find in plants. It's the concentrated extracts in pill form. Every time human beings have extracted something from a plant, we have usually figured out it doesn't help, or it hurts. You know, the original form of a lot of sodas we all drink had a little bit of cocaine in it, and that actually was a compound very similar to caffeine in coffee, but when we super concentrate and extract things, that's when we sometimes lose the benefits and potentially can harm people. Sure an apple might not be concentrated, but it turns out the original packaging is still the best. There's something about the way nature packs its nutritional content — in a way that the body seems to be able to absorb it and use it properly.

2.  Juicing Ju-Ju

Smoothies and juices from that mall kiosk can have a ton of sugar and the pulp and fiber often get strained out. The fiber and the pulp that the plant provides prevent rapid absorption of a lot of those sugars. You think you're being healthy, but not so much.

3.  Gluten for Punishment

There's a huge gluten-free diet fad out there. Everywhere you go there's gluten-free everything, right? Only a small slice of the population actually needs to avoid the gluten protein. If you are gluten-sensitive, gluten-allergic or you have celiac disease then you probably should consider avoiding gluten. But remember that you're much more likely to be allergic to dairy, as an example, and everyone's going out for gluten-free pizza.

4.  Coco-Nuts

Coconut oil is still a huge fad, but it is one of, if not the, highest saturated fat containing oil out there. In some animal studies coconut oil is what's fed to the animals to induce atherosclerosis for research purposes. They actually give it to mice to make them have heart attacks. What’s happening now is that Americans are putting in gobs and gobs of coconut oil into their coffee, they're cooking their vegetables with it and frying with it.

These kinds of fad foods come and go, but people that eat a minimally processed, predominantly plant-based diet normally do better.

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