As a private practice dietitian I thought it would be interesting for me to share the #1 nutrition misconception that I encounter most frequently in my clients.
Drum roll please……
CARBOHYDRATE AVOIDANCE FOR WEIGHT LOSS
This may come as no surprise, but yes the avoidance of carbohydrates due primarily to fear over weight gain is the #1 nutrition misconception that I encounter in my private practice.
Hats off to the anti-carb movement (sarcasm) for doing such a great job of scaring the general public, but I have to say from my own experiences in my client population, carbohydrate avoidance is a real thing.
Most often, clients will not explicitly share that they are avoiding carbohydrates ( some are probably not even consciously aware of it) but it does not take long to figure out that someone’s diet is essentially devoid of fruits and whole grains.
Yes, the anti-carb movement has been so effective that it has some people avoiding fruit intake due to fears over the negative effects of sugar in fruit.
This is actually a massive issue, given that fruit and vegetable consumption is already problematic in the Canadian population. Not to mention the extremely important role that fruit consumption plays in human health in both the short and long term.
I am not going too spend much time rehashing all the reasons why a low carb diet is unnecessary and never the best approach to healthy eating and weight management because that is a whole article in itself ( you can read that here).
What I will note, however, is the irony that robust Health Canada data from 2004 actually showed that Canadian’s were likely to over consume fat, rather than carbohydrates, as per the AMDRs (a fancy term describing the recommended range of intake for each nutrient).
In fact, some of the foods responsible for contributing nutrient-free caloric excess in the Canadian diet may actually contribute more calories from fat than from carbohydrates.
These foods include items such as salad dressings, chocolate bars, potato chips, butter, donuts, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, cake and pizza.
Yes those foods contain carbohydrates, but they generally contribute significantly more calories from fat.
You can learn more about this big “fat” problem here.
A little bit of food for thought…
Bonus Content: Runner-Up
Oh, and the second most commonly encountered nutrition misconception HAS to be in-regards to soy and how both men and women have been trained to fear some sort of horrendous health effects from consuming it in any quantity. Read my article here to learn why that just isn’t true.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH