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Health Canada Considers Sweeping Ban On Junk Food Ads Aimed At Children And Teens

Government is also revising the Canada Food Guide to include foods that should be avoided altogether

The junk food advertising ban for everyone under the age of 17 would cover most cheeses and foods that are high in fat and salt such as chips, frozen waffles, fruit juice and even granola bars.

Health Canada is considering a widespread ban on the marketing of unhealthy food to kids under the age of 17. It could cover everything from TV, online and print advertising to product labelling, in-store displays and even end some sponsorships for sports teams.

The federal government announced the first step in St. John’s this morning by launching public consultations on how foods are marketed to kids in Canada.

“Most of the foods that are marketed to kids are these ones that are high in fat, high in sugar, high in sodium, so that’s what we’re looking at,” said Hasan Hutchinson, director general at Health Canada, who is overseeing the consultations.
“That would then cut out all of the things like, of course, your regular soda, most cookies, cakes, pies, puddings, ice cream, most cheeses because they are high in fat, they’re high in salt,” he said.

Health Canada would also target foods such as sugar-sweetened yogurt, frozen waffles, fruit juice, granola bars and potato chips.

The federal government looked at the Quebec ban on advertising to children, which has been in place since 1980.

In that province, companies can’t market unhealthy food to children under 13 years old. But Health Canada wants to go further, banning marketing to any person under 17.

“We know of course that children under 13 are particularly impressionable. But we feel that evidence is showing that teens [in the] 13- to 17-year-old age group are equally a vulnerable group,” Hutchinson said.

He points to the fact that many young teens have their own income for the first time, and are not as closely supervised by their parents.

Targeting high caffeine drinks

It is an argument Senator Nancy Greene Raine supports.

The Conservative senator introduced a private member’s bill last November that would have banned junk food advertising to children under 13.

But in her first appearance before the Senate committee studying her bill earlier this month, Greene Raine told senators she will be amending her bill to raise the age once it goes for clause-by-clause consideration.

‘Red Bull. Rockstar. These highly caffeinated soft drinks are working on the adolescents…but targetting them is really unhealthy,’
– Nancy Green Raine, Senator

“Some products that are being marketed to teenagers are, in my mind, very harmful. Red Bull. Rockstar. These highly caffeinated soft drinks are working on the adolescents — they like those products. But targeting them is really unhealthy,” Greene Raine said.

And she worries bad food choices made as teenagers lead to bad food choices in adulthood.

“A predilection to choosing foods high in sugar, salt, and fat as teenagers, can result in poor food choices for the rest of their lives,” said Greene Raine. “It’s recognized as one of the precursors to becoming overweight and obese, leading to all kinds of other chronic diseases.”

Sports teams

As part of the consultations, Health Canada is asking the public if the advertising ban should extend to sponsorships of sports teams.

Hutchinson said this is one area he thinks there could be some pushback from parents, who may believe sponsorships are critical for small sports teams to operate.

“They’re advertising because it has an effect. There’s a reason why they’re putting money into those sorts of programs,” Hutchinson said.

Greene Raine said she understands the link between sponsorships and sports — the senator won gold and silver medals for skiing at the 1968 Olympics, later becoming a spokesperson for Mars bars.

Still, Raine believes there should be some kind of limit on sponsorship of sports teams by companies that sell junk food.

“When you see things like: ‘wear your team jersey and come to our fast food outlet and we’ll give you a free slushie,’ that crosses the line,” Raine said.

Revising the Canada Food Guide

Health Canada is also launching a second round of consultations on the revised Canada Food Guide.

There were nearly 20,000 submissions in the first round of consultations in the fall of 2016, including 14,000 from the public.

The guide lists the foods Canadians should use as the foundation of a good diet, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

But for the first time, Health Canada is also listing the foods that should be avoided outright.

“What we’ve done is a special case on avoidance of processed or prepared beverages that are high in sugars, because based on our evidence reviews, we think we’ve got enough evidence to be as strong as that. We’ve never said anything quite that strong,” said Hutchinson.

On the naughty list: soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks including water, energy drinks and flavoured milks.

Susan Lunn · CBC News   June 10, 2017
source: www.cbc.ca
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Those Burgers Aren’t JUST Making Us Fat—They’re Messing With Our Immune Systems, Too

New research reveals that high-fat diets can impair memory and make our immune systems attack our own bodies.

A junk food diet is clearly not healthy. Burgers widen our waistlines, raise our cholesterol levels and tighten our arteries. But scientists now think that even before it shows up as additional pounds on the scale, junk food is changing our bodies in other, surprising ways. It’s actually a form of malnutrition that could be making our immune systems attack our own bodies.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Immunology, scientists at Australia’s University of New South Wales investigated a typical western diet—one that’s high in saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Specifically, they looked at the diet’s impact on immune cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells.

The researchers fed mice a high-fat diet for nine weeks to see what effect it would have on the T cells before the mice gained weight. The results surprised study leader Abigail Pollock. “Despite our hypothesis that the T cell response and capacity to eliminate invading pathogens would be weakened we actually saw the opposite: the percentage of overactive T cells increased,” she explained.

This might sound great, but having more T cells doesn’t necessarily mean your immune system is stronger. In fact, when the immune system goes into overdrive, it attacks healthy parts of the body, resulting in autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Cell membranes—the bags that hold cells together—are made up of layers of fatty lipid molecules. Looking closely at the T cells, the scientists found that having extra fats in the diet actually changed the amount of lipid molecules in the cell membrane, which in turn, said Pollock, “changes the structure of the cell, altering the responsiveness of the T cells and changing the immune response.”

Altering immunity

The team had shown previously that altering the lipid content of T cell membranes affects how they signal and activate each other, but this is the first time the effect has been shown in a living animal. More research is needed, they say, to figure out exactly what’s happening and determine which fats we could avoid to make sure our immune systems don’t go into overdrive.

Indeed, this is not the first study to show that a high-fat diet impacts the immune system; almost 20 years ago, scientists at the University of Oxford in the U.K. studied rats on diets rich in different fats. They found that the lymphocytes of rats fed a high-fat diet rich in palmitic acid grew more, whereas natural killer cells—another type of immune cell—of rats on a high-fat diet rich in stearic acid grew much less.

More recently, scientists at the University of Ulsan in South Korea compared obese mice on a high-fat diet and non-obese mice on a normal diet, and found that the obese mice had significantly lower levels of immune cells, including T cells, in their lymph nodes, where the immune cells wait until they are needed by the body. The lymph nodes near the intestine were much lighter in the obese mice and contained far fewer T cells than those of the control mice.

The scientists concluded that the accumulation of fat around the organs—visceral fat—due to a high-fat diet causes cells in the lymph nodes to self-destruct: “Dietary fat-induced visceral obesity may be crucial for obesity-related immune dysfunction,” they explained.

A high-fat diet won’t only affect your immune system; it could also impair your memory—and that of your kids. When they fed pregnant mice a diet high in lard, scientists at Capital Medical University in China found that the fat in their offspring’s brain was altered. The authors explain in their study: “Our research demonstrated that long-term high lard diet […] changed the brain fatty acids composition and damaged the memory and learning ability of mice.”

What’s in your burger and fries?

A junk food diet is rich in fat, but there are all sorts of other harmful things lurking in there too. Firstly, junk food is highly palatable—it tastes good. This makes us eat more and more, which is an even bigger problem because it’s also very high in calories. A small cheeseburger is 300 calories, the same as a whole (nutritious) meal. And you would rarely just eat a cheeseburger; adding fries (230 calories) and a soda (170 calories) takes the total to a whopping 700.

An excessive calorie intake leads to obesity, which has an impact on the immune system. Norwegian researchers found that being overweight led to inflammation—a sign of an overactive immune response. They studied this on a molecular level, to establish a link between metabolism, inflammation, heart attack and stroke. Their theory is that overeating provides our cells with too much energy and the tiny cellular engines—mitochondria—can stall.

“We believe that long-term stress on the mitochondria may cause metaflammation,” explained Dr. Arne Yndestad of Oslo University Hospital. “A metaflammation is a low-grade chronic inflammation over many years, and unfortunately it’s a condition that’s difficult to detect.”

There’s more. According to World Action on Salt and Health (WASH) we eat on average 8.1 grams of salt a day—about a third more than the recommended 6 grams. Junk food is high in salt; a junk food meal can tip you over the limit of your daily intake.

What’s the problem? Salt is implicated in making our immune systems go haywire. In three separate studies published in Nature, scientists showed that high salt intake increase production of T cells, taking them to harmful levels. One of the studies showed that feeding mice with multiple sclerosis a high salt diet made their disease progress faster.

One of the researchers, Dr. Vijay Kuchroo of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, points out that the evidence is not yet definitive, but “is building a very interesting hypothesis [that] salt may be one of the environmental triggers of autoimmunity” and that it’s not yet possible to predict the effect salt has on autoimmunity and the development of diseases like type 1 diabetes.

 

Not-so-happy meals

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s a bleak picture for kids too. In 2015, WASH carried out an international study on the salt content of children’s meals, concluding that 8 out of 10 meals had more than 1 gram of salt per serving, tipping the maximum recommended serving per meal.

“The more salt you eat as a child, the more likely you are to have serious health issues in later life,” said Prof. Graham MacGregor, WASH chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University of London. “This can include high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney disease. That is why it is vitally important that children do not get used to the taste of salt.”

Unfortunately, our kids might be at a disadvantage from the outset: the gut bacteria they inherit can have an impact on their immune health. Babies get their gut bacteria—their microbiota—from their mothers at birth and this continues to be shaped through breastfeeding. The microbiota is known to have an impact on our immunity; Spanish researchers found that children with type 1 diabetes had different gut bacteria compared to healthy children.

In his review “Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity,” Dr. Ian Myles of the National Institutes of Health gives an overview of what we know about the effects of a western diet on the immune system. The bacteria found in children’s intestines can have a surprisingly big impact, he says. “Our bodies are a kind of mini-ecosystem, and anything that disturbs our bacteria can alter our health in profound ways,” he said in an interview with Time.

They might also be inheriting a genetic preference for unhealthy food. Researchers at Imperial College London have identified a gene linked to cravings for high-calorie foods. They asked 45 people to look at photos of high- and low-calorie foods and rate how appealing they were, and monitored their brain activity. They found that people with a particular genetic change near a gene called FTO who preferred high calorie foods had more activity in parts of the brain linked to pleasure. This, say the researchers, means people with this genetic trait will find it harder to avoid junk food. And if it’s written in our DNA, there’s a chance we can pass it on to our kids.

Even more reason to stop bombarding them with adverts for junk food. Children’s food choices are strongly influenced by advertising, and many countries are already responding by restricting advertising to kids.

Immune-boosting alternatives

Switching off the TV is one way to cut junk food cravings and intake, and therefore protect our immune systems. And the same researchers who found the genetic variants that cause food cravings also found a dietary supplement that can stop those cravings. But there are plenty of other things that can boost our immunity.

The problem with junk food isn’t just the bad ingredients it contains; it’s also the good ingredients it doesn’t contain. You won’t find vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in a fast food meal, but a study by U.K. scientists revealed that these vegetables switch on immune cells in the intestines, which they say explains the link between diet and immunity.

Junk food is also low in fiber, which is known to boost immunity. According to one study, dietary fiber encourages friendly bacteria to grow in the intestine. These lactic acid bacteria can boost immunity, so eating foods that help them grow—like fiber-rich prebiotics, fermented vegetables and raw garlic—could strengthen your immune system.

Immune-boosting antioxidants are also hard to find in your hamburger (unless it’s topped with mushrooms), so eating plenty of sweet potato, elderberry and low-fat yogurt will help.

In his review on fast food fever, Dr. Myles wrote: “While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.”

So the next time you’re tempted by a meal deal, consider cooking up some vegetables with chicken and a refreshing yogurt and berry dessert instead. Your immune system—and your memory—will thank you for it.

By Lucy Goodchild Van Hilten / AlterNet September 30, 2016
Lucy Goodchild van Hilten is a freelance writer. Read more of her work at telllucy.com.


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The Truth About Nitrates

Have you ever wondered what nitrates are and what foods contain nitrates? Are nitrates linked to any health concerns? If you have questions about nitrates and their role in the food supply, read on to get the truth about nitrates.

What are nitrates?

Nitrates (or nitrites) are natural chemicals that are found in the soil, air and water. Nitrates are also used as a food additive to stop the growth of bacteria and to enhance the flavour and colour of foods.

Where are nitrates found?

Nitrates are naturally found in vegetables such as:

  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes and
  • Spinach

These foods provide the most nitrates in our diets. However, there is no recommendation to limit vegetables that naturally contain nitrates.

Smaller amounts are found in:

  • Dairy products like cheese
  • Beef
  • Poultry and
  • Fish

Nitrates are added to these foods to make their appearance and flavour more appealing.

Generally speaking, Canadian’s average daily intake of foods that contain nitrates is within safe limits.

What about nitrates and processed meat? 

Nitrates are added to processed meat like:

  • Deli meat/cold cuts
  • Ham/Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Hot dogs/Wieners

This is done to preserve the product and prevent bacteria from growing. Nitrates also give processed meats their pink colour.

Should I avoid processed meat?

Yes. There is strong research that shows a diet high in processed meats increases the risk of colon cancer. However, it is not yet clear if this is because of the nitrates or other compounds in processed meat. To decrease your risk of colon cancer, it is a good idea to eat very little processed meats or avoid them altogether.

deli-meat

Do organic foods have nitrates?

It depends on the food. Organic foods like vegetables and fruit typically have fewer nitrates compared to conventional foods.

However, processed organic meats do not have nitrates.  In Canada, adding nitrates to processed organic meats is not allowed. Read more about organic foods in Canada.

Tips on making nitrate-free food choices 

  • Avoid foods with ingredients like potassium nitrate or sodium nitrate.
  • Avoid foods with the words ‘cured’ or ‘smoked’ on the ingredient list. This means that the food may contain nitrates.
  • Avoid processed meat or have them once in awhile. Have a cooked ham during the holidays or an occasional hot dog in the summer.
  • Skip the bacon and sausage for breakfast and try fresh fruit or grilled vegetables with your eggs.
  • Stuck on lunch ideas? Think beyond the sandwich! Try a vegetable wrap with hummus instead of a deli sandwich.  Try other quick and easy lunch ideas for you and your kids.
  • Eat vegetarian more often. You might be surprised at how tasty it can be! Learn more about healthy vegetarian meals for you and your family.
  • Throwing a party? Avoid party sandwiches that use processed meats and instead try a variety of fresh salads with an assortment of flat breads and dips.

Bottom line 

Nitrates are naturally found in some vegetables, dairy products and meat. There is no recommendation to limit foods that naturally contain nitrates. Nitrates are also added to processed meats as a preservative. There is strong research that shows a diet high in processed meats increases the risk of colon cancer. However, it is not yet clear if this is because of the nitrates or other compounds in processed meat. To decrease your risk of colon cancer, it is a good idea to eat very little processed meats or avoid them altogether.

October 9, 2016
 

 

————————————————————

 

Does the sodium nitrate in processed meat increase my risk of heart disease?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Sodium nitrate, a preservative that’s used in some processed meats, such as bacon, jerky and luncheon meats, could increase your heart disease risk.

It’s thought that sodium nitrate may damage your blood vessels, making your arteries more likely to harden and narrow, leading to heart disease. Nitrates may also affect the way your body uses sugar, making you more likely to develop diabetes.

And you already know that most processed meats are high in sodium and some are high in saturated fat, which can disrupt a heart-healthy diet.

If you eat meat, it’s best to limit processed meat and instead choose lean, fresh meat and poultry, and keep serving sizes small. For greater heart health, consider going one step further and increasing the amount of seafood in your diet.

With Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
 


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Top 11 Most Common Nutrition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Nutrition is full of misinformation.

Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.

Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.

1. Drinking Fruit Juice

Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.

It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.

In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.

But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.

That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!

Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.

There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.

While whole fruits take a long time to eat and digest, it is easy to consume large amounts of fruit juice in a short amount of time. One glass of orange juice can contain the sugar equivalent of several whole oranges.

If you’re healthy, lean and active or you just ran a marathon, then you can probably tolerate fruit juice and other sources of sugar without problems.

However, the majority of people would do best minimizing all rapidly digested sugars, which can lead to insulin resistance and all sorts of serious diseases down the line.

So… eat your fruit (unless if you’re on a low-carb diet, which may require moderating them) but avoid fruit juice like the plague.

Bottom Line: Most fruit juices contain as much sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages. It is best to avoid them and choose whole fruits instead.

2. Not Reading Labels

Many of the marketers at the junk food companies are shameless liars.

They tend to put highly misleading labels on foods… convincing health conscious people to buy unhealthy junk foods for themselves and their children.

Because most people don’t know much about nutrition, they repeatedly fall for labels like “includes whole grains,” “low-fat” or “contains Omega-3s.”

Adding small amounts of healthy ingredients to an unhealthy, highly processed food does not make it healthy.

For example, tiny amounts of Omega-3s are not going to make up for the fact that a food contains large amounts of sugar.

So… it is important to read labels. Even health foods can contain sugar, refined wheat and other very harmful ingredients.

This also applies to children’s foods that are marketed as healthy… do NOT trust the food manufacturers, READ the label.

Bottom Line: It is important to read labels, even “health foods” can contain nasty ingredients like added sugar.

3. Eating Whole Wheat

Awareness of the harmful effects of refined wheat has increased dramatically in the past few decades.

However, whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy.

The problem is that whole wheat usually isn’t “whole” … the grains have been pulverized into very fine flour.

This makes the grain rapidly digestible and it can spike blood sugar just as fast as its refined counterpart.

Wheat also contains large amounts of gluten, a protein that many people are sensitive to and can contribute to various adverse effects like digestive issues, pain, fatigue and stool inconsistency.

There are also multiple studies linking wheat consumption to serious diseases, including schizophrenia, autism and cerebellar ataxia. One study shows a dramatic increase in cholesterol for people eating whole wheat.

Saying that whole wheat is better than refined wheat is like saying that filtered cigarettes are better than unfiltered cigarettes.

Using that same logic, everyone should be smoking filtered cigarettes for the health benefits. It doesn’t make sense.

Bottom Line: Whole wheat is often mistakenly assumed to be healthy, but studies show that it can contribute to various symptoms and health issues.

4. Not Focusing on Real, Unprocessed Foods

When it comes to optimal health, people tend to get lost in the details. They miss the forest for the trees.

Even though “nutrition” as an academic discipline can be incredibly complicated, eating healthy can and should be simple!

Keep in mind that humans and pre-humans have managed to survive and be healthy for millions of years.

Yet, we only learned about calories, vitamins, macronutrients and all that stuff very recently. Knowing about this stuff has NOT made us healthier.

What healthy, non-industrial societies that maintain excellent health all have in common is that they eat real, unprocessed foods that resemble what they looked like in nature.

Multiple studies have examined such societies and noted almost a complete absence of Western, lifestyle-related diseases like obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

If it looks like it was made in a factory, don’t eat it!

Bottom Line: It is most important to simply eat real, unprocessed foods. Avoid stuff that looks like it was made in a factory.

5. Not Eating Enough Protein

The health authorities advocate a relatively low protein intake.

They say that we should aim for about 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women.

However, even though this meager intake may be enough to prevent downright deficiency, it is not enough for optimal health.

nuts

Studies show that a higher protein intake can be beneficial for body composition, especially in people who are physically active.

Protein is also by far the most satiating macronutrient and your body expends quite a few calories metabolizing it. For this reason, adding protein to your diet can help you lose weight without even trying.

Bottom Line: Most people aren’t getting enough protein in their diet. Increased protein can enhance fat burning, reduce appetite and improve health in various ways.

6. Being Afraid of Eating Fat

Back in the 60s and 70s, many scientists believed that saturated fat was a leading cause of heart disease.

This idea formed the foundation of the low-fat, high-carb diet… which has been recommended to all Americans since the year 1977.

Since then, multiple studies have shown that the low-fat diet simply does not work. It doesn’t lead to weight loss or a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.

In the past few decades, many studies have examined the health effects of saturated fats.

They consistently show that these fats are harmless. They raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change LDL (the “bad”) to a benign subtype. Saturated fat does NOT raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.

The fats to avoid are man-made trans fats and refined vegetable oils like corn, soybean and others.

There is no reason to avoid foods that are naturally high in saturated fat. This includes butter, coconut oil, eggs and red meat… these foods are perfectly healthy!

Bottom Line: Studies show that saturated fat is harmless and that the low-fat diet pushed by the mainstream nutrition organizations doesn’t work.

7. Throwing Away The Egg Yolks

“When life gives you eggs, you eat the damn yolks.”
– Mark Shields.

Nutrition professionals have an excellent track record of demonizing perfectly healthy foods.

Probably the worst example of that is eggs… which happen to contain a large amount of cholesterol.

Because of the cholesterol, people have been advised to reduce their consumption of eggs.

However, studies show that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t really raise cholesterol in the blood and that eggs do NOT increase your risk of heart disease.

What we’re left with is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, quality protein, healthy fats and various nutrients that are important for the eyes and brain.

Keep in mind that this applies to whole eggs only. The yolk is where almost all the nutrients reside, the white contains nothing but protein!

Throwing away the yolks and eating only the whites is just about the worst thing you could do.

Bottom Line: Eggs are incredibly nutritious, but most of the nutrients are found in the yolk. Despite being high in cholesterol, eggs do not raise the bad cholesterol in the blood or your risk of heart disease.

8. Thinking That All That Matters is Calories

There is a large misconception that all that matters for weight (and health for that matter) is calories.

Even though calories (the energy we take in and expend) are important, they are far from being the only thing that matters.

The truth is that different foods and macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways and can affect hunger and hormones in different ways.

Even though simple calorie counting and portion control work for a lot of people, many others fail using these methods.

For some people, it is much better to focus on the right foods and macronutrients to optimize your hunger and hormones to make your body want to lose weight.

Eating less sugar and carbohydrates with more protein and fat can help you lose weight without counting a single calorie.

Bottom Line: Weight loss and health are about much more than just calories. Different foods affect hunger, hormones and health in vastly different ways.

9. Cutting Back on Sodium

The nutrition organizations consistently tell us to reduce sodium in the diet.

This is supposed to lower blood pressure and reduce our risk of heart disease.

However, this doesn’t actually work.

Even though sodium restriction can cause mild reductions in blood pressure, studies show that this doesn’t lower the risk of heart disease, stroke or death.

Restricting sodium too much can even lead to adverse effects such as insulin resistance, as well as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.

The biggest source of sodium in the diet is processed food. If you’re already avoiding highly processed foods, then there’s no reason not to add some salt to your foods to make them palatable.

If the “experts” had their way… we’d all be eating bland, tasteless foods with zero evidence that it would actually lead to health benefits.

Bottom Line: Despite being able to mildly reduce blood pressure, sodium restriction doesn’t lead to improved health outcomes. Avoiding salt is completely unnecessary for most people.

10. Eating Too Many Meals

Many people seem to think that it is best to eat 5-6 small meals per day.

They say that you need breakfast in the morning to “jump start metabolism” and then eat regularly throughout the day to “stoke the metabolic flame.”

It is true that eating can raise your metabolic rate slightly while you’re digesting and metabolizing the food

However, it is the total amount of food you eat that matters, NOT the number of meals.

This myth has actually been tested and refuted repeatedly. Controlled trials where one group eats many, smaller meals and the other fewer, larger meals find no difference between groups.

The thing is… it’s not natural for the human body to be constantly in the “fed” state.

The human body is well equipped to handle short periods of famine and there are studies showing that a cellular repair process called autophagy starts to occur when we fast for a short while.

Bottom Line: Eating so frequently is completely unnecessary and highly inconvenient. There is no evidence that it leads to improved outcomes.

11. Eating Too Many “Health Foods”

Every passing year, more and more people are becoming “health conscious.”

For this reason… the market for so-called “health foods” has grown rapidly in the past few decades.

The marketers have taken notice and brought all sorts of foods that are supposed to be healthy to the market. On these foods, you will find labels like “organic” and “gluten-free.”

The problem with many of these foods is that they usually aren’t healthy at all. Organic sugar is still sugar and gluten-free junk food is still junk food.

It is best to avoid processed, packaged foods… even if they are found in the “health food” aisle.

If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it probably isn’t.

By Kris Gunnars, BSc