Misguided Madness: The Tournament of Bad Food Advice

It’s about that time…

Every year, March rolls around, and our whole world becomes brackets and madness. Some will be poring over Duke vs. Kentucky. But you, FACTS Follower, may be poring over some of the worst food advice we’ve heard this year. Whether it starts with a morning show, food blog, or diet ad, our experts are regularly banging their heads against the wall, trying to process this irresponsible and/or illogical advice.

Rather than sob quietly in a corner, mourning the death of science in food conversations, we’ve asked them to channel their annoyance at such terrible advice into something else: competition. Each of our in-house experts submitted some of the worst pieces of advice they’ve heard all year. Now, they’ve voted to give you your Elite 8:

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Change how you eat to cure cancer: This is so wrong that it’s hurtful. Though these myths have swirled forever, the latest claims are about magical curative properties of coconut oil. Check the myths and facts about coconut oil, and use nutrition to strengthen your body while working with a medical professional on any health conditions. In fact, while no single study should be taken as definitive, recent research suggests that, while some risk factors such as cigarette smoking are well-established, the vast majority of cancers might have nothing to do with environmental or lifestyle causes.

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‘Diet’ products make you gain weight: This comes down to understanding how calories work. Using ‘diet’ products and tools like low-calorie sweeteners can absolutely help with weight loss. Learn more about how low-calorie sweeteners can support your weight loss efforts.

Change how you eat to alter the pH of your body: Choosing your food based on acidity doesn’t take into account nutrients, calories, or eating a balanced diet. Don’t look at just one aspect of a food—look at the entire food and how it fits in your whole diet.

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If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it: This one is breaking our heart. Never mind that all of our parents still pronounce quinoa as “kwin-oah.” This is generally targeted at ingredients that get used in packaged food. But these ingredients are actually there for a reason, typically to contribute to your safety, convenience, enjoyment, or nutrition. They’re safe, tested, and there’s no reason to avoid them. After all, while “cyanocobalamin” might sound poisonous, in reality, it’s actually B12 and is quite beneficial to your health.

Use lemon juice to burn body fat: We’re not sure if you’re supposed to drink it, or squirt it on your thighs, but this one doesn’t make sense to us. While lemon is a low-calorie way to make water and healthful foods more appealing, there isn’t a quick fix or magic bullet to burn fat. If you’re looking to burn fat and calories, start with exercise.

juice-looks-good-but-doesnt-cut-it-as-a-mealJuice is a good replacement for a meal: Juice has a bunch of things going for it. Heck, it can even offer nutritional benefits beyond fruit. But there are also a lot of nutrients that it won’t provide, so it’s critical that your meals bring in protein, fiber, and healthful fats.

Cut out all carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients and a source of energy. Read why to avoid the elimination diets of actresses and athletes.

“Cleanse” toxins out of your body: Guess what: Your liver and kidneys do this for your every day, and unless you overconsume real toxins like alcohol or you have some other underlying health condition, they do a fine job of it. It’s not something you need to do with spices or crash dieting. Read 4 reasons not to cleanse.

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