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Quick guide: nutrition facts & myths

Let’s be honest, we all have that friend who juices everything in sight, takes morning shots of prune extract and has given up parmesan cheese. March is National Nutrition Month, and we know that proper nutrition is key to living a healthy lifestyle. However, society has many misconceptions regarding what constitutes proper nutrition, causing people to participate in sometimes extreme fads. While keeping track of what you eat is part of maintaining a balanced diet, too much or too little of any nutrient could have a counter-productive effect on your health.

We know it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the conflicting nutrition and diet information out there. To help you make an educated decision next time you go grocery shopping, we have compiled some common nutrition myths and facts.

1. A gluten-free diet will help you lose weight: Myth.

Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat, rye and barley. When consumed by people with gluten-related disorders, gluten can cause an adverse physical reaction. We’ve noticed an increase in gluten-free diets and so have the stores, which are steadily stocking up on gluten-free products. While there are people with severe gluten allergies, a large portion of gluten-free dieters have a different reason and goal in mind: weight-loss. Studies have shown that skipping gluten is not directly correlated to weight loss. In fact, unnecessarily cutting it out of your diet can result in a serious nutritional deficiency. ​

2. Kale is one of the greatest superfoods: Fact.

We all remember our mom telling us to eat all our greens while growing up. We watched Popeye eat spinach, which automatically boosted his strength. Imagine what he would’ve accomplished by eating kale instead! Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet. At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has nearly 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber. Better yet, it’s a water-soluble antioxidant packed with vitamin C and K, which are great sources of protein and calcium. 

3. Diet soda is healthier than regular soda: Myth.

Diet soda may boast “zero calories,” but that doesn’t mean it’s healthier than regular soda. The harmful artificial sweeteners used in diet soda often cause weight gain as opposed to weight loss. This is mainly due to the fact that diet soda drinkers tend to drink twice as much than regular soda drinkers, causing the artificial sweeteners to create a spike in weight gain. Keep this in mind next time you’re tempted to reach for a Diet Coke. Grab a bottle of carbonated water or some green tea instead. Not only are these options healthier, they’ll save you a ton of calories as well! 

4. Skipping breakfast will make you gain weight: Fact.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We’ve heard this over and over and we’re here to tell you it’s true; from a nutrition and weight-loss standpoint. Skipping breakfast increases your chances of gaining weight because you’re more likely to crave high-calorie foods. Research shows that your brain is tricked into thinking you want fatty and sweet foods instead of healthy snacks. If your goal is to prevent obesity or lose weight, make sure to eat breakfast every single day.

Whether you’re packing your lunch for work, grocery shopping with your family or out eating at a restaurant, always keep in mind these nutrition myths and facts. All in moderation is key, so unless you’re allergic to a certain food group, we suggest you abstain from completely cutting anything out of your diet. It’s never too late to start making the correct nutrition choices for your healthy future!