The Worst Diet Advice In History
People have been advised to do all sorts of strange things that challenge common sense.
Some of these things are not only useless, but potentially harmful.
The worst part… a lot of this misguided advice is still being pushed.
Here are the top 5 contenders for the worst diet advice in history.
1. Throw Away The Egg Yolks, The Most Nutritious Part Of The Egg
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Just think about it… the nutrients in a whole egg contain all the building blocks needed to turn a single fertilized cell into an entire baby chicken.
There’s only one problem… the yolks also happen to be high in cholesterol. Because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, people believed that they would raise cholesterol in the blood. For this reason, mainstream nutrition professionals often recommend that we limit our egg consumption to 2-6 whole eggs per week.
However, most of them say we can eat more eggs than that… as long as we make sure to throw away the yolks. This is pretty much the worst thing you could do, because the yolks contain almost all the nutrients. The whites are mostly just protein.
Many studies have looked at whole egg consumption and blood cholesterol… in 70% of people, eggs have no effect on cholesterol levels (1).
In the other 30% (termed hyper-responders), egg yolks raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and turn the LDL particles into the large, fluffy kind… which is not harmful (2, 3, 4). In fact, many studies, some of which included hundreds of thousands of people, have looked at whole egg consumption and the risk of heart disease in healthy people and found no association between the two (5, 6, 7).
Additionally, let’s not forget that eggs have many amazing benefits.
- They’re loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants… almost every nutrient your body needs (8).
- They’re very high in choline, a brain nutrient that 90% of people don’t get enough of (9).
- They contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that are highly protective for the eyes, lowering the risk of various eye diseases (10, 11, 12).
Eggs are also among the most weight loss friendly foods you can eat. Replacing a grain-based breakfast with eggs can increase fullness and make you eat less, helping you lose weight (13, 14).
To top it all off, eggs are cheap, easily prepared and taste amazing. Really… whole eggs are pretty much nature’s perfect food. Throwing away the yolk is the absolute worst thing you could do.
Bottom Line: Egg yolks are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. The cholesterol in them doesn’t raise the bad cholesterol in the blood, or increase the risk of heart disease.
2. Everyone Should Eat a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet… Even Diabetics
The universal advice to eat a low-fat diet was never based on good science. It was originally based on a few poorly conducted observational studies, animal experiments and misguided political decisions.
Even though there was no evidence that saturated fat caused heart disease at the time (and still isn’t), some scientists were convinced that it was harmful and that a low-fat diet would prevent heart disease. This has been the official position of the governments and mainstream health organizations around the world for decades. At the same time, rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed.
Since then… many massive studies have been conducted on the low-fat diet.
The biggest and most expensive diet study in history, The Women’s Health Initiative, randomized 48,835 women into groups… one ate a low-fat diet, the other group continued eating the standard Western diet.
After 7.5-8 years, there was only a 0.4 kg (1 pound!) difference in weight and there was no reduction in heart disease or cancer (15, 16, 17, 18). Many other studies have led to the same conclusion… the diet that is still being recommended by the mainstream simply does not work (19, 20).
The truth is, the low-fat diet is a miserable failure. Almost every time it is pitted against another type of diet in a study, it loses (21, 22).
Even diabetics have been advised to follow this type of diet… the “carb up and shoot up” strategy that benefits no one but the drug companies. It is a simple biochemical fact that carbs raise blood sugar. This keeps the diabetic patients dependant on blood sugar lowering drugs (23).
Although low-fat diets may be okay for healthy people, they are a complete disaster for people with obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
In fact, several studies show that low-fat diets can adversely affect some of the key risk factors for metabolic syndrome and heart disease. They can raise triglycerides, lower HDL and increase small, dense LDL particles (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29).
It is time for the mainstream to retire the ridiculous low-fat fad and apologize for all the terrible damage it has done over the decades.
Bottom Line: The low-fat diet is a miserable failure. It has failed in every major study, yet is still being recommended by governments and nutrition organizations all over the world.
3. A Calorie Is A Calorie… Food Quality Is Less Important
The excessive focus on calories is one of the biggest mistakes in the history of nutrition. It is the myth that it is the caloric value of foods that matters most, not the foods that the calories are coming from.
The truth is… calories are important, but that doesn’t mean we need to count them or even be consciously aware of them. Humans were the healthiest and leanest way before they knew that calories existed. It’s important to realize that different foods have different effects on the hormonesand brain centers that control what, when and how much we eat… as well as the number of calories we burn (30, 31).
Here are two examples of why a calorie is NOT a calorie:
- Protein: Eating a high protein diet can boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and significantly reduce appetite and cravings. Protein calories have a different effect than carb or fat calories (32, 33, 34).
- Satiety: Many studies show that different foods have varying effects on feelings of fullness. You need much fewer calories to feel full from eggs or boiled potatoes, compared to donuts or ice cream (35).
There are many more examples of foods and macronutrients having vastly different effects on hunger and hormones The myth that calories are all that matters for weight (and health) is completely wrong.
Bottom Line: The idea that calories are more important than food quality is a huge mistake. Different foods directly affect the hormones and brain centers that control our eating habits.
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