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The Worst Nutrition Tips from 2020, According to Experts

Don't believe everything you hear! Nutrition experts share the worst advice they heard this year.
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Just because a health guru you love to follow said to try something doesn't mean you always have to follow that advice. In fact, there can be a lot of misguidance in the nutrition world, which is why we spoke with a few registered dietitians and health experts to learn about some of the worst nutrition tips they heard in 2020 that you should probably avoid.

Here are the worst nutrition tips these experts heard this year, as well as what you should actually be doing instead. And for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

1

"Fast one time per week for 24 hours."

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"This can be extremely dangerous for sustaining healthy blood sugars through the day and maintaining energy. It can also lead to binge-like behavior," says Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD. "Instead individuals should choose a balanced plate containing fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains at each meal. Portion control can help to manage blood sugars, energy levels, and weight."

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2

"On days you plan on drinking, you should eat less to save calories so you don't feel guilty while drinking."'

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"Not only does this promote disordered eating, it actually leads to weight gain," says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian. "By not eating very much during the day, you're depriving your body of essential nutrients, calories, and protein it needs. Once you start drinking, you're more likely to start snacking on whatever you can find! Instead, try to focus on eating lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fats during the day, especially on days you plan on drinking. Don't skip any meals! That way, you won't be as hungry or craving all the things when you're drinking."

3

"Go on a low-protein, high-carb, high-fat diet."

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"If you are trying to look fit and be healthy then this is not the best advice for you. A high protein, high-fat, and low carb diet is how you can lose that stubborn belly fat from the holiday weight," says Rickey Cyr, co-founder and editor of MuscleEvolved.com. Cyr specifically references a study published by Obesity Facts that proves the positive outcome of consuming a protein in your diet.

4

"You should adopt a carnivore diet to improve heart health."

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"When it comes to heart health, there is overwhelming evidence to support the consumption of a plant-forward diet that includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and seeds—all of which are foods not allowed on a carnivore diet," says Ansley Hill, RDN, LD.

Here's Exactly How a Plant-Based Diet Can Protect You From Disease, According to Experts.

5

"Stop eating fruit because it has too much sugar."

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"Sugar from fruit is not the issue," says Emily Danckers, MS, RD. "The problem with sugar comes from eating too much sugary processed foods like candy and soda. Yes, fruit has sugar, but it also contains filling fiber and important vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy. If you want to be healthier, don't cut out fruit. If you're concerned about sugar intake, try cutting back on sweetened beverages and processed sugary treats instead."

6

"Chew gum, brush your teeth, or drink water when you feel hungry."

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"From a physiological level I will never understand how an empty stomach can be cured by any of these actions," says Lexy Penney, MS, RD, LDN, RYT and owner of Shanti Nutrition, LLC. "This is especially problematic when people are literally just trying to survive a pandemic right now! They definitely don't need to be told to gum-chew their way out of hunger—a completely normal and natural body signal."

"From a psychological perspective, this is extremely harmful because it sets you up with an unhealthy relationship with food by feeling like you can't trust your own hunger, and that hunger is a bad thing," Penney says. "It also tends to cause bingeing later on when people finally do allow themselves to eat as a normal, biological response to food restriction. So instead of chewing gum, snapping a rubber band on your wrist, or saying hateful things to yourself in the mirror—yes, my clients have reported all these things to me as advice they've received—to ignore your hunger, my advice is simple. Eat food!"

Here are 30 Reasons Why You're Always Hungry.

7

"Don't eat egg yolks."

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"Oftentimes, I've heard this bad nutrition advice from everyday women who are trying to lose weight and who think that 'eating fat makes you fat', so these women will aggressively cut 'fatty foods' from their diet. But this is a huge nutrition mistake because egg yolks are rich in vitamins A and D, as well as "good fats" like omega-3's which can actually promote weight loss," says Dr. Phoenyx Austin, MD and founder of DRPHOENYX.COM. "And fun fact: Omega 3's and vitamins A and D are also some of the top nutrients that promote healthy skin and hair. So that's why I tell women 'don't toss the yolk' and 'don't fear that fat' because there's an abundance of health and beauty benefits to be gained from eating egg yolks."

8

"Avoid bloating by not drinking too much water."

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"This has so much wrong with this," says Brooke Alpert, nutritionist, author of The Sugar Detox, and medical advisor to Cure Hydration. Hydration is so important to help with bloating especially, often bloat is due to poor digestion and adequate fluids can help with that. Even more so, with so many Americans chronically dehydrated, telling the average person to drink less, is definitely not the answer. As a dietitian, proper hydration is one of the first things I tackle with my clients and it makes such a difference in how they're feeling. For my clients who struggle with enough water or my athletes, I often have them add in Cure Hydration for additional electrolytes and to make water more appealing."

9

"Drink your fruits and vegetables."

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"This is the worst nutrition advice I've ever heard because you're missing out on so much fiber when you're juicing or even blending your vegetables," says Aja Gyimah, MHSc and founding registered dietitian of kuudose. "You are also likely to consume more calories than you would if you were just eating the vegetables or fruit in their natural form. Imagine how many strawberries go into your morning smoothie, you'd likely be able to only eat half of that amount if they were whole. Lastly, particularly smoothies, contain sugar (from the fruit or other foods that you add into it), which will be absorbed way faster than if you just ate each ingredient whole. This can cause a spike in blood sugar and should be avoided, especially if you have trouble metabolizing sugar (ie. diabetes)."

Now that you know what not to do, here are The Best Nutrition Tips from 2020 to follow instead!

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more