Everyone and their mom likes to claim they know the latest secret to a healthy diet. Whether they’ve gotten their info from a study, the internet, or friend of a friend who’s married to a doctor, the chance they’re sharing accurate info is kinda unlikely. Not to mention, a lot of these “health facts” are contradictory, thanks to the fact that most of them are total myths. Here, five common healthy eating myths you’ve likely heard through the grapevine—and why you should ignore them.
Myth #1: Eat fruit only in the morning.
There’s no doubt that fresh fruit is a healthy choice and the perfect snack if you want to eat clean. However, certain fruits (including pineapple, watermelon, and bananas) contain a lot of natural sugar, giving them a high glycemic index—meaning they can spike blood sugar levels. To avoid a quick spike and crash, pair fruit with a source of protein or fats, which will take longer to digest, and help supply you with lasting energy. And even though fruit is inherently healthy, you do need to regulate how much you eat. Most fruits are a good source of carbs (which are perfectly healthy!). But if you’re counting carbs or trying to stick to a low-carb diet, it’s worth scaling back. (Related: How Many Carbs Should You Eat In a Day?)
Myth #2: Snacking speeds up your metabolism.
Your metabolic rate is related to what you eat, not how often you eat. For example, you’re better off not snacking than snacking on something unhealthy in the name of “boosting your metabolism.” Instead of focusing on your eating frequency, focus on consuming as many nutrient-rich whole foods as possible. (Here are more metabolism myths you should ignore.)
Myth #3: Coconut oil melts fat.
Coconut oil has developed a reputation as the solution for all your problems. People are using it as makeup remover, as a moisturizer, and as a substitute for other oils while cooking and baking. However, simply consuming coconut oil won’t magically “burn fat,” as some myths claim. Plus, consuming too much (or consuming it in addition to all your other meals for the day) can inhibit weight loss or even cause weight gain, since it has 121 calories and 11 grams of saturated fat (which you should consume in moderation) per tablespoon. (More on that: Could coconut oil actually be bad for your heart?)
Myth #4: Eating carbs at night leads to weight gain.
A lot of research has shown that ditching carbs completely could actually be detrimental for your health. Carbs are a source of fuel for your body, and your body can efficiently metabolize and digest carbohydrates at any time of the day, according to Bob Harper. One study even found that limiting carbs before bed can throw off blood sugar levels. (Related: Eating Carbs May Help You Live Longer, But There’s a Catch)
Myth #5: Juicing is good for weight loss.
Although juicing is an easier way to increase your intake of veggies and fruits, it can actually leave you deficient in calories, protein, fiber, and fat. That’s because, unlike with smoothies, you’re only getting the juice from the fruits and veggies you’re juicing—not the fibrous parts of the produce that helps slow digestion to keep you feeling full. Juicing is not necessarily bad—especially if it’s supplying you with nutrients from fresh produce you otherwise wouldn’t be eating—but it shouldn’t be your only intake of fruits and veggies. (Get Blake Lively’s favorite green juice recipe.)
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