TRUTH: “Organic” does not mean “more healthy”. It refers to how a product is made & processed through federal regulations. Lower pesticides (organic farming still allows pesticides!), no hormones, no antibiotics, specific agricultural practices & animal ethics are involved in organic farming.
A little more info on organic farming:
-An organic product must be made without: genetic engineering (GMOs), ionizing radiation, sewage sludge, most synthetic pesticides and herbicides, antibiotics, and hormones.
-Organic products STILL allow the use of approved pesticides and vaccines. Many people choose organic products due to less pesticides, no added hormones (note hormones aren’t allowed in poultry products anyways!), and sustainable agriculture practices. I myself choose organic meats & poultry, and choose the dirty dozen (listed by the EWG) to help decrease my exposure to pesticides/herbicides, lower the bioaccumulation of those products in my meats, & maximize nutrient intake (and ensure no ROUND UP is used)
-Choosing organic can decrease exposure to pesticides, but there is inconclusive evidence to fully answer whether the reduction of pesticides corresponds with a statistically significant health outcome (Inconclusive doesn’t mean there isn’t a benefit- just means the benefit and no benefit are mixed). There is no arguing that just getting in fruits and veggies outweigh no fruits and veggies though!!! The EPA also regulates pesticide usage in conventional products that are mostly well below safety limits- and washing your produce also greatly further decreases pesticides! .
-Do some organic foods have more nutrients than their conventional counterparts? Yes! But not all do and some actually have lower. So many factors play into this. Organic meats can have higher omega 3’s, while organic produce can have higher nutrients such as Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. But keep in mind this will depend on each different veggie or fruit, how IT was specifically grown, the soil quality, and then greatly influenced by how you cook it as well!!! (In water= nutrients leach into the water).
-Whew I think that’s enough for now- but overall point- Choose organic or not- just know WHY you are and know for some products- you are really just paying for the term ???? I personally choose organic meats, eggs, and the dietary dozen. But go conventional if organic isn’t on sale.
Myth 4: “If you cant pronounce it, don’t ingest it.”
TRUTH: Yes there are certain chemicals like BHT, BHA, sodium sulfite, alfatoxin, propylene glycol, brominated vegetable oil that should be avoided, but not ALL chemicals are carcinogenic or “detrimental” to health. Dosage and toxicity matter! Remember- water is dihydrogen monoxide ????
Myth 5: “Post workout you need immediate carbs and protein because of the anabolic window”
TRUTH: There is no window. There is a revolving door. If you workout and get a meal in within 2 hours, you’re still good. Muscle protein synthesis is elevated up to 72 hours post training. Yes maximize your protein feedings to at least 3x a day for best MPS elevation- but you don’t need a meal RIGHT after working out- esp if you are a meal prior as that fuel is STILL being digested from that meal! In this case you still have amino acids elevated, and muscle protein synthesis elevated.
Myth 6: “Saturated fat is what causes heart disease”.
TRUTH: Multiple mechanisms including genetic predisposition, low fiber intake, alcohol intake, high refined carbohydrate intake, chronic inflammation, and lack of physical activity play a role in the development of heart disease. You don’t have to avoid saturated fats! In fact- saturated fats can be great sources of vitamins/minerals as eggs (vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, and choline), red meat (iron, B vitamins), and ghee (vitamins A, D, E, and K). Just have them in moderation with OTHER healthy fats- including omega 3’s & omega 6’s (your polyunsaturated fats!) and other monounsaturated fats. Overall quality of your diet matters and your lifestyle.
Myth 7: “A detox can help you lose weight & flush out toxins.”
TRUTH: Your liver, skin, and lunges are in charge of detoxing. Unless you have a CLINICAL reason to do a PROPER detox protocol (something monitored by a medical professional – for example you have high mercury in your body or mold toxicity), you don’t need a detox. You need to drink water, exercise, and eat a nutrient dense diet. There IS such a thing as having poor detoxification, and in this case, this can be due to lack of micronutrients, enzyme deficiences, genetic mutations, or sub-optimal bile status. This is where a liver supporting supplement such as N-acetyl-cysteine or milk thistle can help, but not a “detox tea”.
Myth 8: “Gluten is bad for you & makes you fat”.
TRUTH: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is bad for you if you have celiac disease (in which the body attacks itself with ingestion), and can cause harm in individuals with intestinal permeability and in autoimmune disease. This is related to molecular mimicry and increases in zonulin. Gluten containing products actually have more vitamins/minerals and fiber & less calories and carbs than normal gluten products for the most part! Additionally, going gluten free can be detrimental if you don’t ensure adequate micronutrient intake. If going gluten free makes you feel better- do it! But gluten isn’t evil. Common symptoms that gluten MAY be something you are sensitive to (but may indicate another sensitivity or medical condition): brain fog, joint & muscle pain, digestive distress, fatigue, diarrhea, excess gas/bloating, tingling or numbness. Work with a professional (like me- a dietitian), or doctor to determine whether you need to try removing gluten or not in your diet.
Myth 9: “Too much protein is bad for your kidneys”.
Truth: Too much protein is bad for your kidneys IF you have kidney damage or kidney disease. NOT if you’re a normal, healthy person. Numerous studies now have shown that high protein diets of 1.5-3.5g/kg of protein per day do not negatively impact kidney function. Though this amount is FAR from necessary (I suggest 1g/kg for healthy, sedentary individuals at least and 1.5g-2.5g/kg for those who strength train), it will not create kidney damage. Another mention-
more protein does not equal “more gains”. Excess protein can be utilized in the body by being converting to glucose OR stored as body fat (less likely- way less likely as the thermic effect of protein is substantially elevated over other macro nutrients) What harms your kidneys more?⚠️ Not drinking enough water, overusing NSAIDS, too much phosphorus in packaged foods, hypertension, excessive alcohol, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), illegal drugs & steroids, diuretics, herbal supplements like Kava Kava & St Johns Wort, & malnutrition.
Myth 10: “GMO’s are bad for you”.
TRUTH: Context Matters.???????????????? GMOs save lives. Golden rice , a GMO, combats low income populations with a Vitamin A deficiency. Insulin, a GMO, saves thousands of lives of diabetics. GMO’s also greatly reduce food waste & improve shelf life, increase potential micronutrient quality, and can enhance taste/texture. Keep things into perspective!!
What is a GMO? It’s a “Genetically Modified Organism” which can be a plant, bacteria, virus gene, or animal. Many GMOs in the food industry are created to help increase shelf life, increase nutrient content, increase bacteria/herbicide/insecticide/resistance, or increase crop yield. Truth is- there are no long term studies telling us the full safety of GMOs. We don’t know exactly how they influence long term health- but what we DO know is that for many people and countries- they help save LIVES. For many farmers and food industries- they help increase food production & decrease food waste. I believe people have the right to know what foods are GMOs, but we shouldn’t demonize them if we don’t know safety. Let’s be real- consuming 3 alcoholic drinks per day on the weekend is going to contribute more to cancer than eating a “gmo based cereal”????????????
In my opinion, the problem with GMOs in FOOD is not the alteration in DNA in the food themselves – but the result of the resistance to herbicides that further increases use of other herbicides and pesticides on our crops. The health risk doesn’t lie in the gene altered- but the EXPRESSION of the gene in relationship to the environment. ???????? Hope this helps! Whether you want to eat or support GMOs or not it’s YOUR CHOICE. Know that ???? Just don’t be one of those “fear mongerers” or make others feel bad for THEIR choice. Keep in mind- there are only 9 allowed GMO crops at this time. “GMO Free” salt, strawberries, bananas, chicken, eggs, etc- complete BS. Another fun fact- the “Non GMO” label is not regulated and does NOT guarantee being GMO free.
Hope this clears up some common nutrition myths!
– Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, LD, CPT