Alternative Facts


Alternative Facts. You might have heard this recently. I am not going to get into that infamous quote, but welcome to my world everyday.

I am going to try to keep calm, but this may be more of a rant and less of a fact. Currently I am counting to 10, breathing deeply, you know, trying to be rational.

However, I work in an industry where “alternative facts” are ubiquitous.

Since this is a Food Fact here are my current favourite nutrition alternative facts. If you are unsure about science it goes like this.

Someone does research, other people replicate the research, everyone comes to the same conclusion = science.

Opinion and feelings do not qualify as science.

I get it. There is a lot of (mis)information about health and fitness everywhere. I don’t expect you to be an expert, but when people who have no knowledge at all, call themselves “experts”, it makes everyone look bad.

I love science. It makes me crazy when nonsense is promoted as truth. It has an impact. It can change your health. It wastes your money, your time and can be dangerous.

Here are some of the current Alternative Facts (AF) about nutrition.


AF- I need protein for energy.

Science Says – No. No. No. Protein has a specific function. It is a  building block. Protein makes muscle tissue, hair, connective tissue, immune cells.  Not  ideally used for energy. 

AF – Carbs make me fat.

Science Says – Eating too many calories causes you to store energy as fat. 

AF – Supplements are safe.

Science Says – Supplements are not regulated. You could be consuming anything. I do mean anything.

AF – Eating lots of small meals speeds up metabolism

Science Says – How often you eat has little to do with your metabolismEating more often could simply mean you are eating more calories.

AF – Cleanses detoxify your system.

Science Says – You do this already. Your liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal system all work hard to keep you healthy. Be good to them, eat real food.

AF – Alcohol is heart healthy.

Science Says – For the average American* it is, in moderation, heart healthy. Alcohol also is a carcinogen and increases the likelihood of some types of strokes. However, in people who (by American standards) are considered “health freaks”, someone who doesn’t smoke, eats one serving of fruit and vegetables daily and exercises for 30 minutes a day,  alcohol has no heart healthy effect.

*The average American is defined as someone who doesn’t do the minimum recommended 150 minutes of activity per week and eats less than one serving of fruit or vegetables daily.

AF – Raw vegetables are healthier than cooked vegetables.

Science Says – Just eat your veggies. Typically we don’t eat enough vegetables and most of us are chronically fiber deficient. Some vegetables are better cooked, you can’t absorb the antioxidant lycopene from tomatoes unless you cook them. However, the most important thing is to actually eat a variety of vegetables which is far more important than how you eat them, unless they are fried, sorry don’t fry them. French fries are not a vegetable.

AF – Soy is estrogen promoting.

Science Says – No. Soy has phytoestrogens (phyto means plant). Phytoestrogens are not the same as estrogen found in humans. Phytoestrogens can block estrogens effects. Men who eat soy have less prostate cancer. Women who eat soy have less breast cancer and symptoms of menopause.  Soybeans have a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids, but have more fat than other types of beans. Soybeans are 50% fat compared to black beans which are 4% fat.

Do you have an alternative food fact you want to know about? Send it to me. I would love to know what you think might be an alternative food fact.

And Esther’s fact about cupcakes, I wish it were true.

Change your mind, change your health,


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