When it comes to eating healthy, we’re flooded with info from websites, magazines and social media about what the latest trends and scientific studies are. But real talk: Nutritionists know best. Which also means they know what common “wisdom” you should toss to the curb like last summer’s Tinder fling. Read on for nutritionists’ least favorite pieces of advice and why. And hey, even if it’s 9pm, go ahead and eat one of those ombre donuts you made…
1. Don’t eat after 8pm. “Most studies found that meal frequency and timing isn’t as significant as we once thought it was,” says Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities. “If you have a well-balanced diet and your daily caloric intake is less than the energy you expended, it doesn’t really matter how many times you eat or if your last meal is at 6pm, or 10pm.”
2. Eat every [two, or other randomly defined period of time] hours. “You — and only you — know when your body needs food,” says Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. “There is no perfect formula that is superior to any other when it comes to deciphering when or how often you should eat. Tune into and trust your own internal signals for optimal functioning.” Now, if you excuse us, we may have had lunch an hour ago, but that handful of homemade sweet and spicy Sriracha roasted cashews are a’callin’.
3. Stay away from frozen foods. You may think you should click your heels three times straight to Kansas yourself the heck out of the grocery store frozen food aisle, but this nugget of wisdom can be a myth: “This isn’t always the case, especially when it comes to produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables may actually have more nutrients than fresh!” exclaim The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. “They are picked and frozen, nutrients intact. Fresh produce loses nutrients as it’s exposed to light, heat and travel. So unless you’re living on a farm and eating your produce as you pick it, there’s a good chance your frozen fruits and veggies contain more nutrients than fresh ones do.”
4. Stay away from white foods. “Um, what about cauliflower, onions and mushrooms?” ask The Nutrition Twins. White foods have a bad rep for no reason, thanks to nutrient-lacking carb foods. “Some of the most healing foods in the world and best for weight loss too [are white]— [they’re] lowest in calories and higher in fiber foods! ”
5. You should have a “cheat day” every week. Make no mistake, this piece of advice is about as good as listening to your Dad for hashtag strategies on Instagram. “I hate this so so much! This idea of being ‘good’ most of the time but having cheat days leads to deprivation, and overeating during ‘cheat’ times,” Lisa laments. “Instead, I recommend listening to your body every second of the day, and responding with what it wants and needs. This better prepares us to ward off cravings and binges.”
6. Be all about that protein. “Protein is not a food group. Foods that tend to be affiliated with ‘protein’ also happen to coincide with saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, heme iron, [hormones] and other toxins found in animal products,” cautions Julieanna. “If you focus on a variety of whole foods, you will end up with just the right ratio of protein to carbs to fat.
7. Only eat organic produce. Time to file this one under “no way,” ladies. “Not only is it cost prohibitive, but it also discourages people from eating the one thing we need to eat more of for better health — veggies! Research has also shown that when you eat more produce, you reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes, regardless of whether it’s organic or not!” share The Nutrition Twins.
8. Eat breakfast immediately when you wake up. “Wake up at 5am? If you eat breakfast then, as a weight loss-hopeful, you’ll be disappointed that you’re starving for lunch by 9am, and you’ll end up snacking incessantly to get you to your next meal,” explain The Nutrition Twins. “Instead, if you wake up early, allow yourself to hydrate first with a large cup of hot water and lemon, and give yourself some time before you eat breakfast, even a few hours. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to allow yourself to get too hungry, as this would also result in you overeating. The one exception may be if you’re working out immediately when waking and feel you need a light source of food in your stomach, like half an apple and a teaspoon of peanut butter to get through your workout.”
9. Steer clear of carbs! If you’re calling carbs the bad guys, they’re about as far away from the villains in the “Batman vs. Superman” cast as it gets, so it’s time to think again. “Most people don’t realize that most of our diet is supposed to be made from carbohydrates; anywhere from 45-65 percent, actually,” says Lisa. “Does that mean they should come from pasta, rice, candy and white bread? No, definitely not, but there are a ton of carbohydrates in certain fruits, vegetable, beans and whole grains that play an important role in our health and are necessary to keep us alive and well.”
What other popular nutrition advice are you most curious about? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)