Debunking Nutrition Myths Pt.2

Pittsburgh Dietitian Blog Posts
April 17, 2023

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern & Future Dietitian

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

Continuing with last month's evidence-based discussion, I will help debunk common nutrition myths we may hear in the media or out in public. It can be hard to know who to listen to for nutrition advice, but I am here to remind you to seek out a registered dietitian, a food and nutrition professionals, who reviews research to relay nutrition information to you.“Eating healthy is too expensive.”Food can be expensive, especially with increased prices from inflation. There are some ways that grocery shopping can be budget-friendly, while supporting high nutrition quality in our dietary patterns. First, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables can be as nutritious as fresh produce.1 When shopping for frozen fruit, check the label for unsweetened fruit to reduce added sugars.1 These products will have a natural sweetness from the fruit without the added sugars. On the other hand, choose frozen vegetables with lower fat and sodium content if this pertains to you, so you can use spices at home to flavor the veggies.1 Another budget-friendly choice is to buy canned products. It is helpful to use canned fruits and veggies right away once opened to maximize nutritional value and the flavor.1 More tips include planning out meals. By meal planning, you can stick to your budget and use a list to decide what you want to buy for the week. You can also try making larger quantities of a meal to freeze and save for later.2 (For recipe ideas, visit our Pittsburgh Dietitians Blog.) Another trick to eating healthy for less is to look for your local grocery store coupons and deals. By planning out meals and using a grocery list, you can incorporate items on sale that week into your prep.2“Eating after a certain time causes you to gain weight.”I have heard this statement more times than I can count. Let’s look at the research behind it. This myth is associated with the idea that when you fall asleep, your metabolism slows down and your snack will be converted into extra weight. Luckily, our metabolism never stops and works at all hours of the day and night.3 Confusion on this topic can arise when thinking the timing of food causes weight gain, when our food choices can contribute to this statement. When eating at night, it is an extra snack or meal you are consuming. By increasing meal frequency during the hours you are awake, you can consume more food than your body may need on that day.3 Eating more than three average meals or six smaller meals in a day could lead to weight gain in some.3 We must remember that we are individuals with individual needs for our bodies. Try not to stress about the timing of your meals and snacks, but rather the quality of food on your plate, tuning into your body’s specific needs.“Vitamins are just expensive urine.”Dietitians recommend food first, to a point. If you have confirmed bloodwork that shows a vitamin or mineral deficiency you may need a vitamin supplement. It is important to work with your doctor or registered dietitian to determine your specific needs. You may need a supplement if you are not getting enough of a certain nutrient through your diet, or maybe your body is having trouble with absorption. In this case, choosing a vitamin may be necessary. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA as drugs, so you can look for brands with a USP label or a brand your health care professional trusts.4 Two types of vitamins are absorbed by our bodies: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are absorbed by fat and stored in the liver.5 Water soluble vitamins are absorbed in the intestines6 and excreted via urine if in excess. It is important to note that if you need vitamins, they will be absorbed and not excreted in excess by the body.7I would like to encourage you to speak with a registered dietitian if you want to discuss these topics further or have more questions about other nutrition myths not mentioned. Please email to make an appointment.References:1. Ellis E. Fresh, Canned or Frozen: Get the Most from Your Fruits and Vegetables. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published March 30, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2023. 6 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget. CDC. Updated September 20, 2022. Accessed April 16, 2023. Reid KJ, Baron KG, Zee PC. Meal timing influences daily caloric intake in healthy adults. Nutr J. 2014; 34(11): 930-935. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.09.0104. Dietary Supplements. FDA. Updated December 21, 2021. Accessed April 16, 2023.,medical%20condition%20you%20may%20have.5. Nebot C, Cardelle-Cobas A, Cepeda A, et al. Chapter 10 – Fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K). In: Lorenzo JM, Munekata PES, Pateiro M, et al. Food Lipids. Academic Press; 2022:207-229. Accessed April 16, 2023. Doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-823371-9.00005086. Said HM. Intestinal absorption of water-soluble vitamins in health and disease. Biochem J. 2011; 437(3): 357-372. doi: 10.1042/BJ201103267. Shibata K, Hirose J, Fukuwatari T. Relationship Between Urinary Concentrations of Nine Water-soluble Vitamins and their Vitamin Intake in Japanese Adult Males. Nutr Metab Insights. 2014; 7: 61-75. doi: 10.4137/NMI.S17245

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