Bariatrics and Weight Loss

The truth behind common nutrition myths

Close-up of a Black woman eating a salad in the living-room while smiling because she understands the truth behind common nutrition myths.


Learn the truth about common nutrition myths once and for all, so you can make informed choices about your diet that support your overall health and well-being.


By, Amy M. Lohman, MD, Bariatric Medicine, Family Medicine, Nuvance Health


Nutrition is a complex and ever-evolving field, often flooded with misinformation and myths passed down through the generations. As new research and information becomes available, it’s crucial to debunk common and emerging myths to help you make informed decisions about your diet and overall health.


Here are some common nutrition myths and the truths behind them.


Learn more about Nuvance Health’s comprehensive weight loss program.


Nutrition myth: Carbohydrates are bad for you

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet. They are your body’s primary source of energy and play a crucial role in brain function. However, not all carbs are created equal. It’s important to eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which provide fiber, vitamins and minerals to your body. On the other hand, you should limit simple carbs like sugar and refined grains.


According to the American Heart Association, refined grains, such as white flour and white rice have been processed which removes many beneficial nutrients and dietary fiber. Many foods containing refined grains lack B vitamins and other important nutrients unless they’re enriched. Foods that contain high amounts of simple carbs (added sugars), especially fructose, raise triglyceride levels which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and other negative health impacts. While carbohydrates in general are not bad for you, ensure you are consuming the types of carbohydrates that are going to support health and metabolism.


Nutrition myth: Eating fat makes you fat

Nutrition fact:
Dietary fat is necessary for overall health. Fat helps your body absorb vitamins, maintain cell membranes, and regulate hormones. The key is to consume healthy fats found in whole or natural foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil, in moderation. You should avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats which are found in processed foods and red meat, as they can increase the risk of heart disease. Healthy fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell function. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Healthy fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones.


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Nutrition myth: Skipping meals helps you lose weight


Nutrition fact: Skipping meals can actually hinder weight loss efforts. When you skip meals, you’re more likely to overeat later in the day, leading to weight gain. It’s important to eat regular, balanced meals to maintain steady blood sugar levels and prevent excessive hunger.


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Nutrition myth: Eating late at night causes weight gain


Nutrition fact: Weight gain is more about the types of calories consumed more so than the time of day you eat. While eating late at night may not directly cause weight gain, it can lead to poor food choices and overeating, especially if you’re eating out of boredom or stress. Focus on eating balanced meals throughout the day and recognize your body’s hunger cues.


According to the Center for Disease Control Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 a healthy eating plan should include a variety of protein foods, such as lean meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds. Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains and fruits and vegetables should also be a part of your balanced meals.


Calorie consumption throughout the day depends on a variety of factors such as weight, gender, age, height and level of physical activity. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases offers a free calculator to help you effectively balance your food intake and activity levels.  Learn more about the body weight planner here.


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Nutrition myth: All supplements are safe and effective


Nutrition fact: While some supplements can be beneficial, most are not regulated by the FDA or backed by scientific evidence. It’s important to be cautious when taking supplements and to consult with your doctor about possible interactions with other medications before starting any new supplement regimen.


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Nutrition myth: Detox diets are necessary to cleanse your body


Nutrition fact: Your body has its own natural detoxification systems, primarily your liver and kidneys, which work to remove toxins from your body. Detox diets often involve severe calorie restriction or the elimination of entire food groups, which can be harmful and unnecessary. Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to support your body’s natural detoxification process.


Related content: How fiber can help manage your weight and feel full


The bottom line: It’s essential to separate fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition. By debunking common myths and focusing on evidence-based recommendations, you can make informed choices about nutrition that support your overall health and well-being.


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