Diet experts are frustrated that myths about certain foods persist despite the fact that science has debunked them as untrue. One of the most common myths is that eating fat makes you fat. While certain fats, such as trans-fats, are categorically unhealthy, experts say we need fat in our diets to achieve optimal health.
"Eating fatty foods does not make you fat," Dr. Carly Stewart of Cardiff Metropolitan University told LifeHacker Oct. 14. "Fat in moderation is a necessary part of any healthy and balanced diet."
Many nutrition experts point out that a high-fat ketogenic diet can produce rapid (and lasting) weight loss, and can be instrumental in treating obesity, diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy. Fortunately, more people are embracing the notion that healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and high-quality animal proteins (for meat eaters) should be part of a balanced diet.
Another diet myth that has experts up in arms is the idea that gluten-free foods are universally healthy. The gluten-free diet craze has skyrocketed in popularity recently, as elite athletes such as Novak Djokovic swear that eliminating gluten has drastically improved their health. But diet experts say just because a food is gluten-free does not mean it's healthy.
"The absence of gluten in a food does not automatically make it healthier. Soda is gluten-free," said dietician Andy Bellatti. "A lot of gluten-free breads are made with refined starches, which are not healthful."
Eliminating gluten is critical for people suffering from celiac disease, which afflicts about one in every 100 Americans. Many nutrition experts say avoiding gluten is a good idea, but note that gluten-free foods are not always low-calorie and won't necessarily promote weight loss.