The Science of Nutrition: Separating Fact from Fiction

Good nutrition is essential to living the best life possible, which is why it’s important to make sure we are armed with the facts about what our bodies really need. With an over-abundance of information available, it can be hard to decipher what’s true and what’s fiction. We’re here to help. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind nutrition to better understand what we should be doing to get all the essential nutrients our bodies need.

What Is Nutrition?

Nutrition scientifically refers to the process through which living organisms obtain and utilize food. For humans, food is required to provide the body with the energy, raw materials, and important vitamins and minerals necessary for growth, health, and reproduction. In other words, nutrition is the cornerstone of life and a powerful determinant of our health.

Entire fields of study are devoted to different sub-disciplines of nutrition, and most of the knowledge we have about nutrition is strongly supported by science. Despite this, there is still misinformation out there. To make sure we’re nourishing our bodies with the nutrients they need, let’s look at some of the most common nutrition myths and misconceptions featured in mainstream diets.

Myths about Fad Diets

One of the most popular food trends today is the rise of extreme fad diets. While it can be tempting to follow a particular way of eating if it promises results, the truth is that just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s backed by science.

Here are a few examples of basic nutrition myths related to these kinds of diets:

  1. You need to drastically reduce your calorie consumption in order to lose weight: False. While it can be helpful to decrease your calorie intake in order to lose weight, this isn’t always necessary. To achieve lasting weight loss, it’s important to eat balanced meals and make sure you’re getting all of the essential nutrients your body needs.

  2. Eliminating carbs or fats will help you lose weight: False. Consuming processed, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats in excess can be detrimental to your health. But research has shown that complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats are essential for a healthy diet.

  3. Eating less will help you lose weight: False. Skipping meals or severely restricting your caloric intake can actually have a negative effect on your weight loss goals. Eating balanced meals throughout the day is essential for sustaining energy and keeping hunger at bay.

  4. Drinking lots of juices or juices cleanses will make you healthier: False. While the occasional juice can have benefits, these cleanses often provide very little nutritional value, and can leave you feeling hungry and deprived.

The Truths of Healthy Eating

Nutrition science has progressed far beyond the myth-filled world of fad diets. Thanks to lots of research, we now have a much better understanding of the foods our bodies need to stay healthy. Here are some truths that successful dietitians and nutritionists agree on:

  1. Eating a balanced diet is key: True. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods from all the food groups is essential for obtaining the essential nutrients necessary for good health. Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat milk and yogurt.

  2. It’s important to stay hydrated: True. Our bodies are composed of around 60 percent water, so staying hydrated is essential for promoting overall health and wellbeing. Drinking plenty of water also helps to maintain a healthy weight, boosts the immune system, and keeps your skin healthy.

  3. Portion control is essential: True. Eating in large portions, even when the food is nutrient dense, can lead to weight gain. Eating smaller portions throughout the day can help to avoid overeating and keep your energy levels steady.

  4. You need to get enough sleep: True. Eating right and getting physical exercise are only two pieces of the health and wellness puzzle. Getting enough quality sleep is essential, as it allows the body to repair while allowing proper brain function.

Making sure that we are eating right and receiving all the essential nutrients our bodies need is an important part of leading a long, healthy life. When it comes to nutrition and achieving optimal health, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. Taking the time to understand the science and research behind nutrition can help to ensure we are eating right and give us the tools to reach our health goals.