Consensus in science is often driven by factors that have nothing to do with science, like money. This is no different in nutrition. And if we hear something repeated often enough, such as “fat is bad for you”, we start to assume it’s a fact, regardless of what evidence says.
“If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”
– Anatole France
— Gijs Heerkens 👨🏻💻 (@gijsheerkens) January 12, 2020
Lately I got my bloodwork done, just as a check up. When I got the results I was shocked about the nonsense my general practitioner told me about nutrition. Like eat less meat, less eggs and more grains (LOL).
This was the moment I realised that you should definitely do your own research and never blindly accept your doctor’s advice, and you should trust your intuition about your health. For example, the human race evolved for a few million years on meat and sun, how can this ever be bad for us?
Luckily I had already read several books on this topic by the time my doctor told me this BS, including Lies My Doctor Told Me by Ken Berry. The author is a medical doctor himself.
Your doctor didn’t get a lot of nutrition classes in the first place, and is probably very busy. He doesn’t care who paid for the research used to “prove” that a new pill works, he only wants to practice medicine with as little effort as possible. You may wonder how much skin in the game he has.
But unfortunately most medical research, especially nutrition research, is paid for by the food or pharmaceutical industry to get the outcomes they want. Their goal is to make more profit, not to make you more healthy.
Researchers often write the conclusions of studies toward what the researcher thinks or wants the study to show or not show. Conclusions are tainted by the desires of the Big Pharma or Big Food corporation that sponsored the study.
What your doctor has learned in the past is based on this corrupt science and he has no time to read new studies and stay up-to-date. His income and his future are perfectly safe if he repeats what he learned for the rest of his career. And mindless repetition of a lie makes people believe it.
In this article I will give you ten examples of mainstream nutrition lies I learned about in the past years and will link to my sources; articles and books that are based on meta analysis (statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies), not on one biased study. This article is an overview, I will write on each topic separately and link it here.
What sense could be more common than thinking we should follow the same diet and behavior that our ancestors followed for thousands of years? The verdict is to do the opposite of whatever mainstream nutrition dogma and the food pyramid says to do, and you’ll be healthy.
- They say fat is bad for you.
- They say cholesterol is bad for you.
- They say meat is bad for you.
- They say eggs are bad for you.
- They say salt is bad for you.
- They say sun is bad for you.
- They say fiber is good for you.
- They say grains are good for you.
- The say fruit is good for you
- They say skipping breakfast is bad for you.
Truth 1: Fat is the best energy source
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Fat is important for nutrient transportion and absorption, and as an energy source. This makes it an essential macronutrient. Furthermore it’s very satiating which helps you to not overeat.
A hundred years ago, everyone cooked with animal fats like lard and tallow. At that time, heart attacks were unheard of in patients younger than seventy and obesity was very rare. Now that we cook everything in toxic vegetable oils, obesity is rampant and heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death.
Our ancestors never left behind available fat. It was usually the first thing they ate. For thousands of years, our DNA was tweaked and perfected on greens, protein and fat, but it never encountered other foods like grains, fruit juice and skimmed milk.
When you mainly burn fat for fuel you avoid the constant insulin spikes that come along with eating carbs, causing energy dips and brain fog. When you mainly eat carbohydrates, like most of us, you will never get in the fasted state and never burn body fat for fuel because our bodies first deplete carbs before starting to burn fats.
Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers and almost never ate carbs (only fruits and nuts sporadically). Fat is the preferred fuel for human metabolism. When your body gets fat adapted, you don’t have to eat every few hours because you feel weak or hungry. Your body gets used to be in the fasted state. This is the solution to avoid overeating, which is the root cause of a lot of chronic diseases.
Animal fats such as meat, fish and butter, and plant fats such as avocado, olive oil and nuts are very healthy. But industrial vegetable oils on the other hand, such as sunflower oil, canola oil and soy oil are a highly processed food and the most toxic thing you can eat because they oxidise your fat cells and it takes years for the body to cleanse them.
📚 The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz and Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan are great books on this topic.
Truth 2: Cholesterol doesn’t clog your arteries
Cholesterol is essential for your body to function. It’s one of the most beneficial molecules for your health. We are told to lower our cholesterol, but this advice is killing us. Higher cholesterol is associated with longer life.
The cholesterol lie is an awful example of medical research and medical science gone wrong, paid for by Big Food in the seventies. And 50 years later, still all nutrition advice is based on it.
Cholesterol is very complicated, a vital part of your body and the building block for your hormones. It’s in the clogged arteries to repair the damage caused by inflammation and save you.
High cholesterol does not lead to heart disease and protects against many illnesses, including cancer. Studies found an inverse relationship between all-cause mortality and cholesterol levels. Turns out that reducing what your body is composed of is a bad idea.
Cholesterol is an organic molecule produced in all the cells of the body. The liver produces most of the daily cholesterol. It makes up 30% of the cell membranes and is used to build and maintain them. It enables the body’s production of Vitamin D and steroids, hormones and more. And it’s crucial for transports and signals between cells.
The fear of cholesterol is the biggest disaster in healthcare because it encourages people to eat vegetable oils, the foods actually killing you.
📚 The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden is a great book on this topic.
Truth 3: Red meat is a superfood
Meat is a food that tastes great, provides complete nutrition and helps to improve body composition.
Meat doesn’t cause cancer. Red meat is a very nutrient dense food, filled with vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. Not a single controlled study proves any link between eating red meat and a significant increased cancer risk.
Humans have been eating red meat for millions of years. Our brain size increased to its current size because of the quantities of fatty red meat our ancestors consumed. Given the very long history of humanity eating all the red meat it could hunt down and kill, it seems highly unlikely that eating red meat leads to anything other than good health.
Even processed meat, such as bacon and hot dogs, isn’t unhealthy. It contains fewer nitrates and nitrites than many vegetables, and these compounds have not been definitively shown to increase cancer risk, there have been no controlled trials that prove this hypothesis.
Your body naturally produces hundreds of times more nitrites in your saliva each day than you could possibly get if you ate nothing but processed meat all day.
📚 The Carnivore Diet by Shawn Baker is a great book on this topic.
Truth 4: Three eggs a day keep the doctor away
The persistent myth that cholesterol causes heart disease has scared many of us away from eating eggs on a regular basis. But there is absolutely no research that links egg consumption to heart disease.
One of the worst thing to do when you want to eat healthy is stop eating eggs, and start eating stuff that are being advertised as healthy foods instead. If they have to advertise that it’s healthy, it’s definitely not as health as they say. And probably it’s not even healthy.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. One egg provides 13 essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B, D and E, iodine and phosphorus.
Eating eggs improves cardiometabolic markers like insulin sensitivity and lipid markers. There’s absolutely no reason to limit your consumption to three to four per week. It’s important, however, to make sure that you buy organic, pasture-raised eggs, coded with a 0 in Europe.
Truth 5: Salt regulates hydration and satiety
Salt is not bad for you at all. It’s an essential mineral. Salt has become a proxy for processed foods in the human’s mind and that’s the reason it has gotten a bad name now.
For all our existence on this planet we have loved salt and have eaten as much as we wanted or could find. Our bodies are able to autoregulate our salt intake just like it regulates our water intake. Salt regulates hydration and signals satiety.
The more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease. Salt had virtually no impact on blood pressure, which is caused by insulin resistance. Unless you have poor kidney function or significant heart failure, you’re free to relax your fears and eat salt to taste on all your food.
📚 The Salt Fix by James DiNicolantonio is a great book on this topic.
Truth 6: The sun is a magic fireball
Humans have been playing and working in the sunshine for many thousands of years. Human skin has been exposed to sunlight for so long that it has learned to.
In the last forty years, some of the smartest among us have discovered that the very thing that makes all life on this planet possible is now also the leading cause of skin cancer.
Sunshine actually reduces certain kinds of skin cancer, as well as cancer in other parts of the body. Living further from the equator is a risk factor for skin cancer and other types of cancers.
Your skin is made of what you eat and completely replaced with new cells every month or two. The new cells are made of the proteins, fats and other nutrients you have eaten, for better or for worse. Eating quality natural foods would help you build better skin that is much unlikely to burn and become cancerous.
Doctors and dermatologists keep telling us to stay out of the sun and put poisonous sunscreen on our biggest organ to protect ourselves. This is another great example of via negativa gone wrong. Instead of adding sunscreen and all the toxic chemicals it contains, it’s better to adjust your sun exposure to your personal situation.
Our skins will get stronger from stress in small amounts (hormesis). If your skin can handle 15 minutes of sun exposure today it will get stronger afterwards and can probably handle 16 minutes tomorrow.
Truth 7: There is no need to eat fiber
The minimum fiber intake you need is 0 grams. In fact, many studies have demonstrated that excess intake of fiber may actually be harmful, particularly for gut health.
The need for fiber was first invented by John Kellogg from the breakfast cereal company.
Fiber is an indigestible product for the body and provokes constipation because it bulks the stool. Bloathing and belching are common symptoms. Except for if you want to defecate more, it’s not important. Fiber indeed slows down the digestive process, because it interferes with digestion in the stomach and, later, clogs the intestines.
Fiber can help you to feel satiated earlier because of the bigger bulk. They are recommending to eat fiber because it suppresses blood sugar spikes, but if you don’t eat foods that provoke those spikes in the first place there is no need to bother your digestive system with useless load (via negativa again). It’s better to eat less carbs anyway.
Fiber may cause bowel problems because they contain FODMAPs, a wide category of fibers that cause digestive symptoms, including gas and abdominal pain, in many people.
📚 Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky is a great book on this topic.
Truth 8: Grains are cheap fillers with few nutrients
Grains such as bread, cereals, pasta and rice are cheap foods loaded with empty calories and carbohydrates, that provoke blood sugar spikes while providing few nutrition. This makes you hungry again when the blood sugar drops, leading to overeating. Whole grains spike insulin almost as much as refined grains.
Food companies and health institutions basically made the population sick by advising to get the majority of calories from “heart healthy grains”. In the long run, this leads to insulin resistance because of overeating (good for Big Food) and sick people (good for Big Pharma).
📚 Wheat Belly by William Davis is a great book on this topic.
Truth 9: Fruits are sugar bombs
The idea that fruit is a food that we need for good health seems obvious.
But fruits are loaded with sugars without containing a lot of vitamins and minerals. Something that causes insulin spikes is not a healthy snack, and there are better sources of vitamin C to be found.
Bananas contain about 93% of calories as carbohydrates, most of that sugar. Apples and pears are similar in composition. Berries, like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, are an exception because they are lower in sugar.
Drinking fruits is even worse. A glass of orange juice contains as much sugar as a can of soda, hence is simply as unhealthy.
Truth 10: Fasting is the best diet of all
Intermittent fasting is one of the best options to restrict ourselves for better survival. When you eat in a pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, you automatically eat less calories because of satiation.
It can have many benefits for your body and brain if your body doesn’t have to process food all the time. The easiest way to achieve an 8 to 10 eating hour window is by skipping breakfast. This improves insulin resistance, blood sugar regulation, stress resistance, hypertension and inflammation among others.
But when we skip breakfast, we are eating less and there is less to money to be made. No wonder they advice to never skip it.
📚 The P:E Diet by Ted Naiman is a great book on this topic.