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Debunking Popular Nutrition Myths

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019 - 7:00am

Introduction: [20-second music intro] Farm & Family is a production of Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers (Introduces segment title): Today, we are going to debunk a couple of  popular nutrition myths.  Hello, I’m Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm & Family. Today, we’re speaking with Kyle Lavka and Carlie Mapp, dietetic interns at Mississippi State University. 

Amy Myers: The first myth I would like to address is the myth that eggs are bad for you. Can you elaborate on this?

Kyle:  This myth comes from the amount of cholesterol found in eggs. Previously, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans had a recommendation to limit the amount of cholesterol consumed in the diet. Years of research on this subject has found lots of evidence that challenged this recommendation. So much so, that the newest version of the dietary guidelines that were came out in 2015 revised their recommendation and said that as long as you are healthy, the amount of cholesterol you eat does not have an effect on your cholesterol levels.

Amy Myers: Keto Diet

Carlie: This diet was specifically created for people with epilepsy. It is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. The body will use the high intake of fat to produce ketones as an energy source instead of carbohydrates. To put it simply, the brain functions mainly off of the body’s stored form of carbohydrates called glucose. The Keto Diet switches the brain’s energy source to ketones from glucose. The body is put in a state of ketosis, meaning, fat stores are broken down to be used as energy. This is how people lose a lot of weight, rather quickly. But it shouldn’t be assumed that this is good for you. A lot of muscle mass can be lost during the keto diet, which will slow your metabolism. It’s not an ideal diet to follow long-term because it is so restrictive. All the weight that is lost will be regained plus some.

Amy Myers: The next myth that I would like your input on is the myth that says eating too much protein is bad for your kidneys.

Kyle: The idea behind this is based on the fact that our bodies can only utilize a set amount of  protein at one time. If we eat more than we can utilize our bodies excrete the excess in the urine. It was believed that the large size of protein molecules damaged the part of our kidneys that filter our blood. Years of research have shown that large amounts of protein has no effect on the function of healthy kidneys. However, if you have kidney disease, large amounts of protein can cause kidney disease to progress and get worse. So depending on the health of your kidneys, this myth can have some truth to it.

Amy Myers: Gluten

Carlie: Gluten is a protein found in wheat and wheat products. There are no health benefits eliminating it from your diet unless you have a gluten intolerance or have Celiacs Disease. People who are intolerant or have Celiacs Disease lack the ability to breakdown and absorb this protein cause mild to severe side effects. Lots of major companies used the phrase “Gluten Free” as a marketing strategy to sell more of a product without it having any actual health benefits. Those who have gone gluten free may have lost weight but that is because they removed common breads, pastas, and snacks from their diet. The weight loss had nothing to do with removing gluten necessarily.

Amy Myers: We have time for one more myth. It is the myth that foods labeled as low-fat are healthier than their full fat counterparts.

Kyle: This refers to foods that are ready to eat that you can buy at the store, like ice cream, muffins, and salad dressings. While it is important to pay attention to the amount and types of fats that we eat, substituting low-fat versions of your favorite foods may not be the best option. Food manufacturers often substitute extra sugar and non digestible fat substitutes to replicate the feel and flavor of fats. These can cause stomach issues and the added sugar can cause unwanted weight gain. The best option is to eat the full fat version of your favorite treats, just try to limit the frequency that you eat them.

Amy Myers: Where can we go for more information on this subject?

Carlie:  Government websites and research universities can be trusted. Websites with .edu, .org or .gov will have the most evidence based information available. For example, Harvard Health.gov for the dietary guidelines. Good reference for all of the Kyle questions. 

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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