Nutritional Myths Debunked

“Don’t eat anything past 7pm! Avoid egg yolks! Don’t eat unless you are hungry!”

As nutritional trends come and go, you may wonder what information to listen to and which to discard. Registered Dietitian Melissa Rifkin debunks common nutritional myths and provides common sense, expert advice to follow.

“Only eat when you’re hungry.” When you skip meals, your body’s metabolism slows down, and at some point, overeating is likely to occur. When we are “starving” or really hungry, food choices tend to be less nutritional. If you’ve waited too long to eat, your blood sugar drops, and it’s common to experience irritability, shakiness, headache and difficulty concentrating. Eating regularly helps maintain blood sugar control and speeds up metabolic functioning.

“Avoid eating anything past 7pm.” While not eating past 7pm may work for you, that same schedule may not work for an individual waking up at 11am. The reason 7pm was promoted as the sticker time to stop eating is because of the recommendation not to go to sleep on a full stomach, especially when your metabolism is at it’s slowest. The recommendation for meal timing is to eat within 1-2 hours of waking, don’t go for more than 4-6 hours without eating and don’t eat 2 hours before bedtime for adequate digestion. So, if you wake up at 6am, eat breakfast at 7-8am, lunch around 12-1pm and dinner around 6-7pm.

“Consuming egg yolks will raise your cholesterol.” Research shows that dietary cholesterol (in egg yolks) has no impact on serum cholesterol. In fact, in one study, consuming eggs daily showed that total caloric intake decreased throughout the day. If you do have high cholesterol, >200, keep in mind that the recommendations for cholesterol are 300mg per day, one egg contains 186mg cholesterol, or 62% of your daily need.

“Brown sugar is better than white sugar.” The “brown” tint of sugar is actually molasses, which is a thick by product of refined sugar cane. All sugars – white, raw and brown are generally considered equal when considering caloric intake. Raw sugar is less processed than white, and brown. It’s a good idea overall to use less sugar in your diet. Current recommendations are no more than 10% of our daily intake should come from sugar.

“Detoxing with juicing will help you lose weight.” Juice only detox diets or cleanses will most likely cause weight gain and irritability. These diets are often low in calories, so once normal calorie intake is consumed, weight gain most always follows. Your lungs, liver, kidneys and digestive tract do a fabulous job of eliminating and detoxing the waste from your body. Eat a well balanced diet with a variety of nutrient dense foods, and your body will detox very well on it’s own.

  • Michael A. Beran

    I appreciate and respect the insight and intent to debunk nutritional myths. That said, I would suggest reviewing what the “net” nutritional benefits are of consuming eggs in general beyond the yolk, no yolk debate. A great resource is Nutritionfacts.org. Dr. Michael Greger provides an exceptional platform of evidence-based nutrition facts supported by science through his scouring the world’s medical journals on nutrition research. Conflict-free with no incentives by sponsors. Keep up the good fight for helping to educate people on nutrition! Thanks and by the way, I love your quinoa burger which I purchased at Johnny’s Tavern in Overland Park! Awesome!

  • CarolAnnie44

    No links? No studies? Why is your opinion more important or accurate than another article recommending these “myths”? I’m not saying they are incorrect (although recent studies do suggest that intermittent fasting is beneficial, which contradicts the “breakfast is the most important meal” myth – and no, I don’t have a link, since I didn’t write an article on it).
    Credentials don’t really count as evidence.

    • Melissa Rifkin

      CarolAnnie44 thank you for your input. For more information check out eatright.org for research that backs up what I have put together. Thank you for your support of Hilarys~!