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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well


Nutrition Fact vs. Fiction

By Christina Woodard, Dietetics Intern and Janet Hackert, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist


Adapted by Jessica Kovarik, RD, LD, Extension Associate, University of Missouri Extension


Do you, like many, have trouble distinguishing fact from fiction?


ADA spokesperson and Registered Dietitian, Kerry Neville says, “It may seem difficult to figure out the most healthful eating plan, and there are many nutrition myths that people follow as the truth. It’s important to focus on information that is based on scientific research.”

With all of the nutrition information reported, it’s easy to become confused. Here are some myths, but also the facts.

Myth: Carbohydrates make you fat!

Fact: Too many calories from any food contribute to weight gain.

Myth: Eating right before bed makes you pack on more pounds.

Fact: The total number of calories you eat in a day is what counts, not what time of the day you eat them.

Myth: Desserts are bad for you and will ruin your diet.

Fact: There are no “bad foods” that can make or break a healthful diet, and therefore all foods and food groups can be eaten as part of a healthful eating plan. It is the amount of a particular food that is important. For example, it is beneficial to your health to eat 5 or more cups of fruits and vegetables a day, but it would not be beneficial to eat 5 desserts a day. One or two moderately sized desserts would be a better choice.

Myth: A fad diet is a safe and effective way to lose weight.

Fact: Fad diets work for very few people. Most people who lose weight on a fad diet, eventually gain the weight back and then some.

It is also a fact that two of every three Americans are overweight or obese. We as a nation consume too much fat, sugar, and calories. It is time to make a change! What better time than now?

Consider following an eating plan where no foods are off limits and living a healthy lifestyle is emphasized. You can find science-based information and recommendations on nutrition topics at You can personalize the website to fit you, by plugging in your age, sex, height, weight and physical activity level. The site will then give you daily recommendations for each of the five food groups and also for total calorie intake. is useful to people of all ages and also to pregnant or lactating women.




Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009








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