The Real Deal: Internet Nutrition Trends
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Oh, the internet, so powerful and useful, but also dangerous. With the rise of social media and influencer culture, the amount of unreliable nutrition and health information out there is astounding. Let me be clear, not all the nutrition information that you see online is bad...but a lot of it is. I also think that many of the people who spread that misinformation believe it to be true, so it’s not malicious, it’s just false.
As a dietitian, I hate to see clients spending money on useless trends hoping that by drinking $15 green juice, they will somehow detox their bodies or achieve sustainable weight loss. What bothers me most about this type of misinformation is the lack of responsibility shown by those people in positions of authority on the internet. Being an influencer is a responsibility and people will earnestly follow advice from those influencers because they feel so desperate. When that advice starts to mess with people’s health, that’s a problem.
So let’s dive into some of the more widely spread and currently trending nutrition myths out there:
Myth #1 “Clean” Food
“Clean” food is not a real thing. The only clean food I know about is the kind that has been washed. Using the word clean implies that other foods are dirty and begins to give people who “eat clean” some new sort of moral high ground upon which to stand and look down on others.
Eating “clean” is an elitist term with no real definition because influencer culture and the wellness industry continue to make it up as they go! Not long ago, juices used to be vilified as sugar-filled empty calories until juicing became popular and now expensive fruit and vegetable juice is arbitrarily included in a “clean eating diet”.
More than that, it makes other people who can’t manage to eat this way feel inferior. Try not to categorize your food, eat what you love, aim for balance and all will be well!
Myth #2 Lemon Water and Apple Cider Vinegar
This could actually be split into two different myths but here we go. Lemon water and apple cider vinegar do NOT burn fat, help you lose weight, alkalize or detox your body. This is because no food can burn fat. No food can change the pH of your body, if it could, we would be in major trouble. Also, the human body is a miraculous thing. We have a built-in detox system! We have a liver and kidneys that detoxify our bodies on a daily basis. Our liver processes almost everything we eat and breathe and works to identify and pull out toxins or waste (like pollution, drugs and alcohol) from our bloodstream, thereby cleansing our blood. It then sends them to the kidneys to be disposed of in our urine. Every time you take a trip to the bathroom you’re essentially detoxing. If you’re interested in learning more about detoxes and my tips to naturally detox, head on over to the blog.
Myth #3 Bread Will Make you Gain Weight
Remember back in the 90’s when fat was the worst thing you could consume and the market was flooded with fat-free products? We’ve circled back on that one and the new trend is to tout fats like coconut oil, avocado, and olive oil for their health and wellness properties.
The latest offending nutrient is carbs, especially bread. This simply isn’t true. Whole grains like bread are a great source of energy and fibre. If you’re
anything like me, you love a good brioche bun or a crusty baguette. There is no reason to deny yourself. Eat all sorts of whole grains, including bread.
Just stay mindful of maintaining a good balance of carbs, protein and fat. For a more visual representation of how to achieve good balance at meals, see Canada’s Food Guide.
Myth #4 Collagen
Hailed for its beauty-enhancing and skin glow effects. Collagen is a protein that is collected from binding tissue like the skin, hooves, and tendons of animals. When we ingest it, it’s broken down into amino acids in our digestive tract. Those amino acids are then sent to wherever our bodies need them at that time. They don’t necessarily have a GPS system guiding them to our skin, hair, and nails. However, more research is needed. In the meantime, it’s important to know that the tissue from which collagen is collected can also contain contaminants and heavy metals that are bad for health. If you want to take collagen, you need to do your homework and buy one from a trusted brand that tells you about their quality control and what they’re doing to prevent contamination.
Myth #5 Eating at Night
You can eat after 7pm. This popular rule really makes no sense and can’t be used as blanket advice for everyone. We each have different schedules, needs, medical histories etc. If you feel hungry at night, honour your hunger and have a snack. If you adopt this mentality and take away the stigma, you’ll be able to listen to your body and choose a snack that feels right. Sometimes it will be popcorn, other times it will be a piece of fruit and a yogurt. If you’ve eaten well throughout the day, chances are you won’t feel the need to binge at night. If you do, there is likely something else going on that needs to be addressed in order to heal your relationship with food.
Have questions or want to book an appointment? Contact us, we love to help!