We encounter nutrition information almost everywhere we go: the checkout line at the grocery store, on social media, at the gym, and on the news. How do we know what information is accurate? Here is the truth behind some common nutrition myths.

For additional nutrition myths to avoid, view these blog posts: Nutrition Fact or Fiction and Nutrition Myths to Avoid
To browse various other nutrition posts written by Intermountain Healthcare employees, check out our blog: The Intermountain Healthcare Blog Network

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Myth: The Paleo Diet is the healthiest way to eat; After all, if it worked for the caveman it should work for me, right?

Truth: While the Paleo Diet offers some health advantages, it may not be the best option. A Registered Dietitian can help you incorporate some of the beneficial principles of Paleo eating without having to eliminate nutrient-rich whole grains, dairy, and legumes.

Learn more from our blog post: The Paleo Diet - Is it a Step in the Right Direction?

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Myth: Coconut oil is the healthiest oil to use in cooking and has health benefits such as reducing risk of heart disease and decreasing belly fat.

Truth: There is not sufficient scientific evidence to prove that coconut oil can decrease belly fat. Also, this popular oil is not necessarily heart healthy either. Only 1 tablespoon of coconut oil provides 12 grams of saturated fat, which is more than half the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. Heart healthy oils, such as olive oil and canola oil, have been linked to lowering LDL and total cholesterol. These oils would be a better choice for those at risk of cardiovascular disease. While coconut oil can be delicious, this oil should not be chosen for the perceived health benefits. All plant-based oils can be beneficial when consumed in moderation (1-2 tablespoons per day).

Learn more from our blog post: How to Choose the Right Cooking Oil for Better Heart Health

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Myth: Healthy eating does not include sweets such as cake, cookies and candy.

Truth: In moderation, every food can fit in a healthy diet. Occasionally, allowing yourself to eat sweets or other favorite foods may help you maintain your weight. Restricting certain foods can lead to overeating these foods later, which can lead to weight gain.

Learn more from our blog post: Dietitians Guide to Indulging Over the Holidays

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Myth: Skipping meals is the most effective weight loss method.

Truth: Although skipping meals may lead to weight loss, this may not be the best option because skipping meals can also lead to overeating. When you a skip meal, you feel hungrier and often eat more than you normally would at your next meal. Most importantly, listen to your internal hunger cues and when you are hungry do not avoid eating.

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Myth: Healthy eating is expensive.

Truth: Healthy eating does not need to cost a lot of money. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in season and look for sales and coupons. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables can also be good options. When choosing canned vegetables, look for low-salt options and when choosing canned fruit, steer clear of heavy syrups and instead choose fruit canned in its own juice. Also, you will be surprised how much money you can save when you eat out less or reduce your soda consumption.

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Myth: Sea salt is a healthier alternative to regular table salt.

Truth: Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value and comparable sodium content by weight. The differences between sea salt and table salt are taste, texture and processing. Whichever salt you choose, make sure you use salt in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.

Learn more from our blog post: Salt: The Silent Killer

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Myth: Browsing grocery store isles looking at food packaging is a good way to make healthy food choices

Truth: At a glance, foods labeled as “healthy” may seem like the best choice. Food companies can make claims on packaging that may not necessarily be true. The best way to select the healthiest options is to look at the nutrition label and ingredient list.

Learn more from our blog post: Avoid Falling for Grocery Store Food Traps
Learn more from the Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics article: The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label

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