Top Five Nutrition Myths

Many ideologies make nutrition out to be complicated; this can be stressful when you’re trying to lose weight or simply wanting to adopt a healthier diet.

School Of Nutrition Posted Jun 27, 2017 Future Fit Training

Eating healthy is a surprisingly easy concept; we simply need to eat well to feed our bodies. Food is actually a big business for many people, which is why you’ll have noticed multiple diet trends being promoted online and new products appearing weekly in your local grocery store. New diet buzz words such as ‘Atkins’, ‘Paleo’, ‘Superfoods’ and so on can leave people feeling confused, misinformed and in more extreme cases, malnourished even.

Don’t let the following common nutrition myths stop you from enjoying what you eat;

Nutrition Myth 1 - Eating Late At Night Can Cause Weight Gain

It was previously proposed that limited or avoiding food in the evening can work as a successful weight loss strategy and improve body composition. Negative outcomes have been found in populations who prefer to consume large and mixed meals in the night but recently more data appears to suggest that the food choices - not the timing, are responsible for unwanted weight gain (1). In fact, one study suggests that consuming around 150kcals as a night time snack can actually be beneficial for muscle protein synthesis (1).

Nutrition Myth 2 - Consuming A High Amount Of Protein Can Spontaneously Build Up Muscle

To build up muscle, we know that a combination of adequate calories, a high protein intake and an exercise programs are required. However the timing of protein intake is crucial for building up muscle mass. A review article from 2012 suggests that protein supplementation both before and after a workout can promote physical performance, muscle recovery, strength and muscle hypertrophy (2). Ideally, a fast-acting carbohydrate source should be consumed along with a protein source for greater muscle protein synthesis and strength (2).

Nutrition Myth 3 - Brown Bread Is Healthier Than White Bread

A recent study which looked at the effects of white bread versus brown sourdough bread found no significant differences in glycaemic control. Participants were reported to have various responses which seemed to be dependant on their existing gut bacteria (3). Although wholemeal bread is an excellent source of fibre which can promote digestion and help individuals feel fuller for longer (4).

Nutrition Myth 4 - Water Is Sufficient Hydration After Exercise

Sweat contains water, sodium and multiple electrolytes and it is recommended that individuals begin their workouts when they are adequately hydrated (5). Ideally up to 600mL of fluid should be consumed two hours before exercise and a small amount of fluid should be consumed every twenty minutes of exercise (5). When the exercise is less than ninety minutes, water alone is enough to rehydrate but commercially available electrolyte drinks should be considered when exercise is prolonged, in hot weather or when meals are not calorie-adequate (5).

Nutrition Myth 5 - Fish-based omega-3 fatty acids alone are sufficient in a diet

Omega-3 is widely credited for multiple health benefits such as brain and cognitive function development, to improving cardiac health (6). Fish-based omega-3 fatty acids (commonly EPA and DHA) are known to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (7) whereas plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (commonly ALA) offer different benefits such as wound healing (8) therefore both fish and plant based omega-3 sources should always be included in a healthy diet.

For more information on nutrition, see our nutrition and weight management course.


  1. Kinsey, A.W. and Ormsbee, M.J., 2015. The health impact of nighttime eating: old and new perspectives. Nutrients7(4), pp.2648-2662.
  2. Stark, M., Lukaszuk, J., Prawitz, A. and Salacinski, A., 2012. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition9(1), p.54.
  3. Korem, Zeevi, D., Zmora, N., 2017. Bread Affects Clinical Parameters and Induces Gut Microbiome-Associated Personal Glycemic Responses. Cell Metabolism, 25 (6), pp.1243-1253.e5
  4. Anderson, J.W., Baird, P., Davis, R.H., Ferreri, S., Knudtson, M., Koraym, A., Waters, V. and Williams, C.L., 2009. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition reviews67(4), pp.188-205.
  5. Latzka, W.A. and Montain, S.J., 1999. Water and electrolyte requirements for exercise. Clinics in sports medicine18(3), pp.513-524.
  6. Ruxton, C., 2004. Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Nursing standard18(48), pp.38-42.
  7. Swanson, D., Block, R. and Mousa, S.A., 2012. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal3(1), pp.1-7.
  8. McCusker, M.M. and Grant-Kels, J.M., 2010. Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids. Clinics in Dermatology28(4), pp.440-451.