6 Health & Fitness Myths You Still Believe (But Shouldn’t)

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What if I told you everything you thought about nutrition, health and fitness was a lie? Complete and utter nonsense fed to us by doctors and exercise gurus; “truths” that we have been believing for decades.

With the ever-changing advancements in the area of health and exercise science it can be difficult to grasp which nutritional habits and commonly held gym dogmas are true.

A lot of the so-called “nutrition and health rules” that we grew up believing were based upon studies done more than half a century ago. Most of this science was biased and/or scientifically unsound. However, through current modern research, many of the foods, drinks and practices that were previously considered forbidden by doctors were predicated on false theories.

The following is a list of myths you still believe, but shouldn’t.

Myth #1 – Coffee is dangerous

For decades doctors and health experts warned the American public about the so-called dangers of over-indulging in coffee. The belief was that java could lead to health complications such as high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, insomnia, and even more dangerous potential side effects such as heart attacks and strokes.

The truth is coffee is one of the most antioxidant-rich substances that we can consume. More recent studies have shown that drinking two cups of coffee per day can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and even prolong our lives.

While it is possible to overdo caffeine consumption, this is hard to do unless you are chugging coffee at every waking moment. Limit yourself to a few cups per day and you’ll be just fine.

Red Meat

Should you fear red meat? It appears that healthy cholesterol levels are no guarantee of heart health.

Myth #2 – Cholesterol ruins your health

For years high levels of cholesterol consumption have been tied to health risk factors such as heart attack, stroke and other forms of heart disease. That is the reason why doctors, for the last several decades, have recommended limiting our intake of egg yolk and red meat consumption (no more than a serving the size of a deck of cards).

Recently, the focus has been on good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. But the truth is that we should not place such a strong emphasis on this concept. Recent findings have suggested the opposite of what we believe might be true.

Prolonged periods of low cholesterol intake can lead to negative health side effects such as brain impairments and heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that the vast majority of people who suffer from heart attacks had normal cholesterol levels to begin with.

Now, it’s wise to still be aware and reasonable when it comes to consuming anything, including cholesterol. Obviously, too much of any one substance can have negative consequences.

Hundreds of people die of Vitamin C overdoses yearly but nobody ever speaks of it. As with anything, always practice moderation.

Myth #3 – Saturated fat is bad for you

Much of what was said about cholesterol is also true about saturated fat. Truthfully, if you were to ask anybody what saturated fat is, nobody would know.

Saturated fat is simply fatty acids in which the chains of carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats primarily come from animal byproducts.

Most of the early research done on saturated fats was conducted on rabbits. Why the hell was the FDA basing its dietary guidelines on rabbit studies? It makes perfect sense to give herbivorous creatures such as rabbits high levels of animal byproducts and see how they react, right?

Humans have developed highly developed and unique digestive systems through centuries and centuries of evolution. Our ancestors lived off consumption of animal products, whihh includes saturated fat. There is no reason why we can’t either.

Myth #4 – Cardio is healthier than weightlifting

For years doctors have preached that in order to be “heart healthy,” it is necessary to perform several 30 minute cardio sessions per week. Now I am not saying that performing cardio isn’t without benefits. This form of intense exercise can help maintain a healthy heart.

However, regular weight training can be just as effective in reaching your target heart rate and maintaining good heart health. Weightlifting can promote joint health and prevent long term bone loss. Jack LaLanne practiced regular weight training up until the time of his death in his late 90’s, and if he isn’t the symbol for long term health and fitness I don’t know who is.

On the extreme end, excessive bouts of cardio such as long distance running can result in long term health risks such as chronic joint problems.

Woman on Treadmill

On the extreme end, excessive bouts of cardio such as long distance running can result in long term health risks such as chronic joint problems.

Myth #5 – High protein can cause kidney problems

Protein has had its share of controversy over the years as well. For some reason, people began spreading misconceptions that high levels of dietary proteins may lead to kidney disease and could result in renal failure.

The truth of the matter is that there is no pure science-based studies supporting this statement. The standard bodybuilding “bro” recommendation of approximately 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight is not nearly high enough to induce prolonged damage to our internal organ functions.

Is it possible that extremely high levels of protein can have negative side effects? Yes, however one would have to consume insanely high levels of protein in order to damage our bodies. As we all know, too much of anything can have negative side effects but that is the case with anything in life.

Myth #6 – Sodium will raise your blood pressure

Table Salt“Don’t salt your foods.”

I can recall doctors advocating the avoidance of adding salt to food, with the goal of keeping daily sodium levels to a minimum. A high level of sodium was said to directly correlate to high blood pressure.

Another common doctor recommendation was that older individuals should limit sodium intake. Now I can see where an older individual may be more sensitive to high sodium levels, but sodium should not matter THAT much to the vast majority of individuals.

In fact, high-level athletes rely on sodium to increase performance, hence the reason Gatorade was first invented. It’s purpose was to assist athletes during periods of high intensity training.

For moderately active individuals sodium should not be a huge concern. If an active individual is consuming adequate levels of water and potassium then sodium retention should not be an issue. The excess water consumed should help flush out extra sodium from. For this reason the majority of people will not have anything to worry about.

Final Thoughts – Moderation is Key

Overconsumption of any type of dietary substance may lead to negative and perhaps harmful results. However, dietary guidelines have changed in recent years and continue to change on an ongoing basis. What we can clearly see is that moderation is the key to maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.

The single largest factor associated with obesity and health problems stems from eating an excess of calories. If someone consumes excessive amounts of calories with excessive amounts of fat, excessive amounts of cholesterol, and excessive amounts of sodium, then there is a strong likelihood they will experience health problems somewhere along the line.

Strive to maintain a balance in your diet and exercise routine. Stay informed when it comes to your dietary and fitness decisions and practice moderation in all aspects of life.

Editor’s note: If you’re concerned with exercise, good health and proper nutrition, but can’t always find the time to eat a broad range of fruits and veggies, MTS Machine Greens + Multi allows you to drink your vitamins and minerals all in one convenient shake. Click here to learn more.

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Name: Ryan Rodal

Bio: My short term fitness goals include reaching a 300lb bench, 405 lb squat and a 500 lb deadlift. Longterm I want to become more involved in the fitness industry and help others achieve their goals. The bodybuilding lifestyle is not about how much you can lift or even how you look, its simply about being the best version of yourself.