by Tony Gjokaj July 08, 2020 6 min read

One of the hardest answers I have to give people in fitness is "it depends". The reality is it all really depends.

Whether is a specific diet, exercise style, and more, it's dependent on the following:

  • What are your goals?
  • What kind of exercise do you like?
  • What foods do you prefer?
  • What kind of foods did you grow up around?
  • And a variety of other factors...

There is more to nutrition than meets the eye. In this post, we are going to debunk 8 nutrition myths that we believe will make your diet easier to manage.

Our goal with this is to make you realize that if you "make a mistake", life goes on. There's always a chance to continue with your diet, and you shouldn't be ashamed of making one small mistake.

So with that, let's debunk these bad boys!

Nutrition Myths

I. Protein is BAD

Protein has been demonized from time to time, easily said to cause kidney or liver problems. However, unless you have an underlying problem, protein is not necessarily bad.

Protein is a macronutrient that repairs and rebuilds cells. This is why it is desirable to have a moderate protein intake, especially when going through fat loss. When it comes to fat loss, our body will attempt to breakdown muscle as well. This is why we consume additional protein to retain as much muscle as we can.

Lastly, from personal experience, most people I have trained who diet for fat loss tend to have an incredibly low protein intake. This is probably why their energy levels are low, and they suffer from fatigue.

If you have no underlying issues, get your protein in! For more on protein, read our post here.

II. Avoid Carbs

Carbohydrates always have a bad reputation, no matter what diet fad exists. This is mainly because carbohydrates are considered the "non-essential macronutrient". Our body typically turns our food into glucose (a carbohydrate).

While this may be true, carbohydrates are a direct source of our body's preferred energy. This is why marathon runners and sprinters use carbohydrates for longer-lasting energy.

With carbohydrates, you should consider the following:

  • If you feel energized by eating many carbohydrates, a higher carb diet may work better for you.
  • If you feel lethargic or tired of eating many carbohydrates, you will be better with more fats in your diet.
  • If you do long-distance running or work in higher rep ranges, you may need carbohydrates for your source of energy.

    To conclude, carbohydrates shouldn't be considered bad, as they have their place in nutrition. For more on carbohydrates (and even fats), check out this article here.

    III. Avoid Sodium

    For years, sodium has received such a bad reputation, mainly because most prepackaged foods are loaded with sodium.

    Here's the thing: moderation is key to anything.

    Sodium is an electrolyte that helps muscle function and helps balance water in the body. Its bad reputation is primarily the result of overconsumption of sodium (and underconsumption of potassium) in the United States. Our bodies typically find it very difficult to get rid of excess consumption of sodium in the body, leading to high blood pressure.

    On the other hand, too low of sodium can lead to various health problems that come with having too low of a blood pressure (heart problems and other consequences).

    This study concludes that too much or too little sodium can be bad for you.

    Dietary guidelines typically recommend 2,300mg (2.3g) of sodium daily. Athletes or active individuals may require more.

    If you typically don't eat prepackaged goods, it is recommended to add a little salt or sauce to spice up your life (and diet). Sometimes, making your food taste better can help BOTH your body and your sanity.

    IV. Don't Eat Egg Yolk

    Another one of my favorite myths is the "don't eat egg yolk" myth. While foods with high cholesterol can be bad for certain individuals, egg yolk in moderation isn't necessarily bad for you (if you eat a nutritious diet).

    It's been said that egg yolk drastically increases cholesterol levels, but various studies have found this not to be true. It is pretty negligible at best.

    Our recommendation is to limit egg yolk to some extent (2-4 eggs if you're active won't be harmful), but you do not need to completely eliminate them (unless recommended by a doctor for heart and cholesterol health).

    V. Don't Eat Food Before Bed

    A great myth I love is to not eat past 9 pm "because your body will store it as fat". This myth is overexaggerating, as explained in this examine post. Since your body is in constant fasted or fed states, your body stores calories and expends calories no matter what part of the day... it doesn't discriminate.

    Here are some things to consider:

    • If you eat a big meal of carbs and find yourself sleepy or lethargic, we would recommend eating a bigger meal before bed.
    • If you eat a big meal of carbs and find yourself energized, we would recommend eating a small snack before bed.
    • If you are eating to lose weight, the daily or weekly deficit calorie target will allow you to drop weight.
    • If eating late makes you want to eat more food, don't do it.

    From personal experience, I find myself getting sleepy when I eat a lot of carbs. Therefore, I tend to eat two small meals (morning and pre-workout/late afternoon) and two large meals (afternoon and before bed/post-workout).

    Once I started eating carbs in the evening, my diet was significantly more enjoyable. In fact, there's an Instagram Hashtag that I follow called #carbsafterdark, and a lot of "flexible dieters" implement this strategy if carbs allow them to sleep well into the night.

    VI. Eating 6 Meals a Day Boosts Metabolism

    This is my all-time favorite myth because this was so therapeutic on me mentally after I found out it was not true.

    According to a controlled trial, the number of meals made no difference when calorie intake was the same. With that, you can argue that "stoking the metabolic flame" is a little overexaggerated.

    We would recommend the following:

    • Keep calorie tracking or portion control in check. We recommend following Precision Nutrition guidelines. This guide will be perfect for you.
    • If you find yourself stressed from trying to get 6 meals a day, eat fewer meals but combine "meal 6" into other meals of the day.

    Personally, I eat four meals a day:

    • Meal One (around 5-8 am) - Small Snack
    • Meal Two (around 12 pm) - Big Lunch
    • Meal Three (around 3-4 pm) - Small Snack/Pre-Workout Snack
    • Meal Four (around 6-8 pm) - Big Dinner/Big Post-Workout Meal

    All in all, find what works best for you and stick with it consistently. You can also read our article on Flexible Nutrition here.

    VII. Fasted Cardio to Lose Fat

    For some reason, we tend to think training fasted scorches fat. I could see why people think that: empty stomach = no calories to burn, only fat.

    This isn't true.

    Your body stores and digests food. It's in a constant state of growth and repair, burning, and consuming calories.

    I think another reason why people believe this myth is the fact that fasted cardio has been shown to burn "stubborn fat". However, the get these benefits, you would have to be in a significantly lower body fat percentage. Physique competitors tend to utilize fasted cardio for this purpose.

    VIII. Food Is Always Better Than Supplements

    Now while typically nutrients from food are better... sometimes they're not enough.

    Supplements (when combined with specific foods) can provide synergistic benefits. Synergistic benefits allow nutrients to enhance the effects of one another. When people consume things like turmeric, it should be combined with black pepper extract to enhance its effects. This is best acquired through supplementation.

    Another example is folate, which is found in most foods. The supplement, folic acid provides more bioavailability than regular folate (found in foods).

    We like to view supplements as "gap-fillers" - if you don't get enough sunlight, consider Vitamin D. If your diet is lacking in iron or magnesium, make sure you get a multivitamin that covers these.

    Sometimes supplementation will help people with deficiencies in their diets and lifestyle. You may not necessarily need to supplement, but it truly makes things easier.

    We recommend taking care of your nutrition first before diving into supplement use - unless prescribed by a doctor or physician.

    Myths...Busted!

    With these myths busted, we wanted to bring three practical points to your view:

    • Everything in moderation. It's ok to have things in moderation in most of fitness... except Trans Fats. They're an enemy.
    • Less is sometimes better. Life never works in extremes. Sometimes more of something is not always better for your sanity.
    • Do nutrition in a way that makes it easier for you. No need to stress out about 6 meals a day if you can happily conquer your diet with four.
    • Sometimes, supplements are necessary. Make sure you cover as much nutrition you can with actual food. Look at our article links above for more information.
    • Always look at what opposing evidence says. This is how I realized that most commonly held myths were completely misinformed.

    Now that we have conquered these eight myths... do you have any questions or would like to add other myths?

    Please feel free to comment, or email me at tony@reforgedperformance.com. I'm here to help!

    Until next time, Reforged Legion!

    Tony Gjokaj
    Tony Gjokaj

    Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He has been in the fitness space for over a decade, previously coaching individuals in body recomposition and strength training. His goal is to connect others with the knowledge they need to reach their greatest potential.


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