Optimal Fitness Takes Tossing the Food Myths

The Truth about Carbs, Proteins and Fats

Food myths surrounding carbohydrates, proteins, and fats have caused confusion and stress about how to eat right for fitness success. New diet trends pop up all the time advising us not to eat this or that leaving out important macronutrients in most cases. Many diets are lacking in nutrient balance and according to research can cause deficiencies. It's important to understand the body requires all macronutrients for optimal fitness and overall good health. 

Dump the Food Myths

Couple enjoying breakfast
Macronutrients Include Carbs, Proteins and Fats. Lew Robertson/Fuse / Getty Images

Eating healthy should never feel like a burden or complicated process. Dispelling the myths about essential macronutrients will help relieve the stress around healthy eating. Your body requires protein, good carbohydrates, and fats to be healthy and fit. Consuming all macronutrients is vital to successful sports nutrition.

Diets recommending removal of essential macronutrients should raise an unhealthy red flag. Dumping food myths will be the first step to eating right and why all macronutrients are important. 

Carbohydrates Make Me Fat

Just saying the word “carbs” can open a backlash of ugly commentary and raised eyebrows. We have come to believe carbohydrates are unhealthy and the cause of unwanted fat and muffin tops. All carbs have taken a heavy hit and considered off limits by many “fad diets”. They have been wrongly accused of causing weight gain and obesity. 

Diet marketing has been successful influencing how we feel about carbohydrates. Unfortunately, many of the claims are untrue. This food myth has become so extreme in some fad diets, carbs are left out completely.

Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient and primary source of energy for optimal health and fitness. This means the body requires lots of carbs to function at optimum levels.

There is a difference between good and bad carbohydrates and the only consideration when it comes to eating carbs. Eliminating good carbs is like not fueling your car with premium gas. Our body simply can't function without healthy carbohydrates. 

According to research, carbs are shown to protect the body against disease and indicated to reduce the risk of heart problems. Healthy carbohydrates are also said to help with weight loss and maintaining goal weight.

Contrary to what fad diets want you to believe, a diet rich in whole grains, plenty of fruits, and vegetables is essential for a fit and healthy body.

I Should Only Eat Protein

Protein is the powerhouse macronutrient for muscle recovery. This means the body requires lots of protein for optimal health and fitness.  Unfortunately, many fad diets have adopted eating more than required as a better approach when it comes to protein intake. Some diets have even recommended eating only protein as the best way to lose weight.

Eating protein above daily requirements or scientific recommendation may have adverse health effects in some cases. The body converts the excess protein or amino acids into ketones. Ketones are produced by the liver when too much protein is being used for energy. This process is taxing to the liver and kidneys and potentially a health risk.

The body simply can't run on protein alone and requires carbohydrates and fats as primary energy sources. According to research, self-imposed protein-only diets are considered an unsafe weight loss practice.  

Protein intake will differ per person and an important part of a nutrient dense balanced diet. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods from lean proteins, healthy carbs, and fats are required to reduce fat and gain muscle.

Eating Fat Will Make Me Fat

Avocado Toast Brunch
Eat Healthy Fat to Burn Body Fat. Melissa Tse / Getty Images

Fats like carbohydrates have fallen prey to negative reviews causing many people to reject them like the plague. The problem is the type of fat people are consuming. Not all fat is created equal and eating fat doesn't make us fat. Our body requires healthy fat to function efficiently and even to lose fat. 

Fats are making a positive comeback as a healthy macronutrient essential to our diet. This means our body requires a substantial amount for optimal health and fitness.  

According to research, eating healthy fat helps with weight loss and maintaining a healthy heart. Dietary reference intakes recommend 20-35 percent of our daily calories should come from healthy fat. 

Thankfully we are starting to understand the importance of healthy fats as an essential part of a balanced diet. 

Drinking Lots of Water is Not Healthy

Water intake has become a controversial subject. We have started questioning if drinking too much water is unhealthy. 

Drinking plenty of water is essential for a healthy body and proper hydration. We couldn't survive without water and it comprises over 60 percent of the human body. Drinking water is really a no-brainer and especially if you're in tune to thirst cues. If you're thirsty, your body is telling you to drink water.

The body loves water and utilizes it at every physiological level from our cells to our blood, heart, lungs, and skin. Thinking of water as a necessary nutrient like food may help with increasing your water intake. Many health benefits from glowing skin to weight loss are related to staying hydrated.  

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Article Sources

  • Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD, Protein and the Athlete - How Much Do You Need?, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,12-10-14
  • Dominique Adair, MS, RD, Nutrition and the Endurance Athlete-Eating for Peak Performance, National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2014
  • Harvard School of Public Health, Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad, In with the Good, 2015