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A Look at 4 Food Myths

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Salt. Butter. Red meat. Protein rich diets. Find out which of these are harmful to the body, and which aren't so bad.

Science can be confusing. Over the last several decades, we’ve seen one scientific study after another telling us which foods are healthy, and which aren’t. Often, the studies are contradictory.

But some of these studies linger on long after they’ve been disproved. The general public continues to talk about them, and they never seem to go away. The studies are often touted as nutritional gospel, even by many in the fitness and bodybuilding realm.

This article will take a look at several popular nutritional beliefs. You will get the facts. Armed with facts, decide for yourself what is myth, and what isn’t.

The Food Myths

ButterButter

When’s the last time you’ve used butter? If you’re a natural bodybuilder, odds are you haven’t used it in a while. In general, butter is labeled as toxic and avoided. It is believed that butter clogs arteries, and pushes you closer to the grave with every serving.

But hold on butter haters. Let’s look at the facts.

Are you familiar with the bodybuilding weight loss supplement called CLA? Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can assist in the acceleration of fat loss. It’s also been shown to be an effective cancer fighting agent.

Butter has one of the highest CLA concentrations of any food.

Adding a small serving of butter to your vegetables makes them healthier. The healthy fat in butter assists your body in absorbing vitamins A, E, D and K.

Research has revealed that the saturated fats in butter do not negatively impact your cholesterol levels. In some cases, butter improves cholesterol. The human body needs a minimum of 20 grams of saturated fats per day. Butter is a good source for these saturated fats. One pat of butter contains only 36 calories, and 3 grams of saturated fats.

So the bottom line is this…do not avoid butter. Don’t go overboard either. A healthy, balanced diet is just that. It’s balanced. A small amount of butter each day is good for you.

Salt

We all know to avoid salt. After all, salt is evil. That’s a proven fact.

Wrong!

Here’s the truth. It is not the salt that’s bad for you. It’s the salt/potassium balance that’s important for overall health. When the body’s salt/potassium balance is out of whack, you have placed your health in a precarious situation.

Major studies have been performed on the impact of salt on high blood pressure. The results revealed that those with high blood pressure have no reason to avoid salt intake. To fight high blood pressure, it’s best to simply increase your potassium intake. One major study also indicated that most people are not getting enough daily potassium.

To up your daily potassium intake, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes. Bananas, white potatoes, spinach, broccoli, and many beans contain more then 400 mg of potassium per serving.

There is no need to avoid salt. On the same note, there is no need to over-use it either. You’re better off focusing your energy on daily potassium intake, then to worry about salt intake.

Red Meat

I’m sure you have plenty of friends who try to limit their read meat consumption. Somewhere along the line, it became a popular belief that red meat can be very unhealthy.

Most of this anti-red meat hype was the result of a 1986 study that came out of Japan. The study revealed that rats who ate over-cooked red meat developed cancer. Notice, the focus of this study was on over-cooked red meat.

Bottom line: charring your meat into oblivion isn’t a healthy thing to do.

It should also be noted that there has never been a study linking normal red meat consumption to cancer.

Continue to eat red meat. Remove all charred sections of the meat before eating it. This will assist in keeping your body healthy, and cancer-free.

Protein

Here comes the big one! How many times have you read in an article, or on an Internet forum that high protein intake is horrible on the kidneys? Probably more times then you can count.

Fortunately, for natural bodybuilders, this is not the case.

A protein rich diet increases your glomerular filtration rate, or GFR. Simply put, the GFR is how much blood your kidneys are able to filter per minute. High protein diets increase bodily GFR rates. Because of this, some bodybuilding scholars assumed that extra protein was harmful on the kidneys. Science has never backed up this theory.

In fact, research has indicated that a bodybuilder can safely eat up to 1.27 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you can safely consume up to 250 grams of protein per day without any health risks at all.

Balanced Diet

Nutrition is rather simple. Maintain a balanced diet, and it becomes much easier to remain in good health. Salt, butter, red meat, and large sums of daily protein are not bad for you. But, over-eating some of these foods can be.

Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Make sure you’re getting enough daily potassium – especially if you’re an athlete. A proper balance between potassium and salt is critical to peak performance. And don’t forget to cut off charred portions of red meat.

When you read a study that claims that such and such is bad for you, dig deeper. Nine times out of ten, an opposing study will claim that such and such is good for you. The best plan is to eat any iffy food in moderation. Also, explore the food’s nutritional content. You may be surprised by the health benefits that come with eating that food.

Who knew that butter contained CLA!

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  • About The Author
    Ian Coleman has written over 150 articles on muscle building and fat loss, and is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable muscle building trainers on the planet.
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