NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Avoid eggs. Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Eating carbs will make you fat. Nutritional advice such as this has been touted for years -- but is it accurate?
Not necessarily, according to Wendy Repovich, an exercise physiologist at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, who did her best to dispel several common nutrition misconceptions during an American College of Sports Medicine-sponsored health and fitness summit held recently in Dallas.
"Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol." This myth started because egg yolks have the most concentrated amount of cholesterol in any food, Repovich told Reuters Health. However, when eaten in moderation, eggs do not contain enough cholesterol to pose health risks, she said.
"Most people avoid eggs and probably if they have any kind of cardiovascular risk their physicians tell them to avoid eggs," Repovich said. "But really, there aren't a whole lot of studies that show that one or two eggs a day really make a difference to cholesterol levels."
"Eating carbohydrates makes you fat" is another myth. Cutting carbs from the diet may help a person shed pounds due to water loss from a decrease in carbohydrate stores, Repovich said, but eating carbs in moderation does not directly lead to weight gain.
Here's another myth. "Drink 8 glasses of water a day." Repovich said people need to replace water lost through breathing, urinating, sweating each day -- but that doesn't necessarily total 64 ounces of water.
"I see an awful lot of people carrying bottled water around," Repovich said. "I think people are still under the impression that they have to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but most people don't realize they get water from other sources in the diet."
And too much water can be harmful, Repovich warned, leading possibly to an imbalance in the body of sodium, a condition called hyponatremia.
It's also a myth, Repovich said, that everyone needs vitamin supplements, although she admits to popping a multivitamin each morning. People who eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, along with moderate amounts of a variety of low-fat dairy and protein and the right quantity of calories, probably don't need a vitamin supplement, she said.
"But for the most part, we don't eat the way we should so probably a simple multivitamin is good for most people," Repovich said.