With marathon training season comes a ton of training advice that can lead active athletes down the wrong path. Carbo-loading, supplements and more can consume a marathoner's train of mind and muddy what they hope to accomplish: a healthy diet that works with their training regimen to optimize performance.
Let's talk a little about some of these commonly held myths and sort through them, one by one!
1. Milk - It does a body good!
For years we were all told that if we wanted strong bones, we should drink milk since milk contains calcium and calcium equals strong bones. Wrong! Science is now proving that there is no relation to calcium intake and bone density. In fact, a recent study from Uppsala University in Sweden suggested that consuming more milk could actually be associated with higher risk of fractures. Vitamin K and vitamin D have proven to be more crucial to bone health than dairy.
2. Eating fat causes heart disease.
Thanks to an erroneous conclusion made back in the 1950’s by Ancel Keys, we have all been told that there is a direct relationship between saturated fat intake and coronary heart disease. Turns out, his study was severely flawed and there's actually no link between the two. But don’t go reaching for the butter just yet! Fat is a macronutrient and a crucial component in a balanced diet, but that doesn't mean you can eat it with abandon. The basic tenants of a good diet remain the same: eat balanced meals consistently throughout the day. And incorporating butter, as well as those healthy monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, help accomplish that balance.
Click here to find out more about my take on healthy fats!
3. Bread is the root of all evil!
Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get from clients is, “Do I have to stop eating bread?” Absolutely not! Humans have been eating gluten for thousands of years, so gluten isn't inherently the issue. Most breads have become processed and refined, and that's the issue, rendering them physiologically akin to eating sugar.
Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, eating whole grain breadoccasionallywith a minimum of 3 grams of fiberis perfectly okay!
4. Supplements will help me be healthy.
Supplements are an increasingly popular and incredibly lucrative industry that has NO regulating body. As a result, I call the supplement business the snake oil industry of old. When you go buy any kind of supplement (including multi-vitamins), there is absolutely no assurance that what you think you are buying is actually what is in the bottle. Additionally, our bodies don’t have tanks to store all those excess vitamins, minerals, amino acids, protein, bee pollen, and herbs-you’ve-never-heard-of-but-sound-amazing that we're ingesting. That means Americans have the most expensive pee in the world.
What’s the answer? Get your vitamins and minerals from food. Whole food. Real food. Blasts!
5. I should avoid eggs.
This is probably the second most popular question I'm asked by clients. Don't! Eggs are the protein most easily assimilated by the human body and contain numerous vitamins essential to a balanced diet. Yes, they are high in cholesterol; however, it's been proven in study after scientific study that eggs and dietary cholesterol do not adversely affect blood cholesterol. In fact, eggs raise HDL (good) cholesterol. They also change LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (which is bad) to large LDL, which is benign.
Conclusion? If you like eggs, eat them!