10 Nutrition Myths That Just Won’t Die


Over the years, so much information surrounding weight loss nutrition has been debunked. Yet, it seems as though nutrition myths keep coming up in conversation and on the internet—they just won’t die! In this IIFYM article, we will break down some of the most common weight loss nutrition myths, one after after another so you can see through all of the misinformation out there. Hold on tight!!

1. You shouldn’t eat late at night

One of the most common nutrition myths that we all have heard is don’t eat food late at night or it will all be stored as fat. Really? So, what they’re trying to tell you is that when you go to bed to rest, so does your metabolism? Not the case. Your metabolism doesn’t simply shut down at any point during the day. What this myth is truly saying is that you can’t be trusted with your food choices.

Late at night, many people sit in front of the television and snack. That’s a big no-no. Don’t eat for comfort, eat for fuel and function. If you want to have a nice protein packed snack at night, by all means, go for it. You’re not going to wake up and instantly be fat. It doesn’t work that way. What you eat is way more important than when you eat. If you’re curious how many calories you should be eating each day, check out the IIFYM calculator.

2. Fat is bad for you

How many times has the news gone back and forth with eggs? Eggs are bad for you! No wait, eggs are good for you! The back and forth is enough to make any dieter want to rip up their nutrition plan. IIFYM.com is a great place to find a nutritional plan if you are in the market for such and want to lose weight or put on muscle. The IIFYM diet alone is a great way to fit a healthy nutrition plan into your personal lifestyle rather than finding it to be a chore.

But demonizing fat has been one of the nutrition myths we’ve heard for quite a long time. Just because you eat fat does not mean you’re going to get fat. Fats are an important part of regulating hormones in your body to ensure proper functioning—especially when it comes to testosterone levels.

Nutrition myths surrounding fat such as saturated fat is bad for your heart has been debunked a while ago. As it stands right now, the only inferior fat that you want to stay away from is trans fat. Getting in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet is essential and if you don’t seem to get enough through the whole food fats in your diet, consider picking up a supplement to boost your intake.


fat loss diet


3. Fad diets can help me lose weight

It’s true, fad diets may help you lose weight. But, I’m willing to bet the diet isn’t something you’re able to maintain long-term and keep the weight off. Most fad diets are nutrition myths at their finest. Cut out all sugar! Cut out all fats! Why not just eat a sensible well-balanced diet and exercise a little? Is it really that difficult? Most people want a quick fix and an easy way out. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have the obesity epidemic we do here in the United States today. IIFYM is a great nutritional plan if you are looking for one. It allows you to eat the foods you love, yet still stay caloric balanced so you can reach whatever your goal weight is.

IIFYM blueprint

You can’t out-train a poor diet let alone one that has you going from one extreme to the other. It’s a shame this isn’t on our list of nutrition myths as I’m sure we all wouldn’t mind the extra time in the gym. And the good news is that you don’t need to when you find a plan that fits into your life. IIFYM.com has everything from a 90-day weight loss challenge, to custom workouts, and even blueprints and recipes that you can utilize. If you haven’t checked out the IIFYM.com programs, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to see how they can take your health and fitness to the next level.

4. Avoid fast food restaurants like the plague

This topic is one of the nutrition myths that I myself have been trying to clear up for years. When I worked for a company that had me traveling every week, I didn’t have time to sit down at a fancy restaurant and get a nice meal. I literally had to shove food in my mouth and get to my next meeting. Fast food restaurants can easily fit into any diet you’re utilizing, especially IIFYM. Chick-Fil-A is a great example of how you can order just about anything there and have it customized to fit your needs.

You can order a salad with grilled chicken, use a low-calorie dressing, and then you can order another grilled chicken breast to give the protein content a boost. Or, you can grab yourself one or two grilled chicken breasts by themselves and get a fruit cup to go along with it. Just because fast food restaurants have been vilified for years does not mean that the times have not changed to where you can find a healthy meal on the go.


water intake myth


5. Drink eight glasses of water each day for health benefits

I’m not sure where some of these nutrition myths such as this example came from, but how do you put out a guideline for the amount of water you need? It’s completely personal from person to person based on their needs. While I think what they are trying to promote is the use of water over sugary beverages, throwing a number on how much you need each day as though it’s some magical number is wrong.

There isn’t a magical diet either, but let us dial in the best approach to fit your lifestyle with a Custom Macro Blueprint built by one of our coaches!

Someone who is active and sweats a lot is going to need a lot more water than someone who sits all day long. Without water, the active individual risks dehydration which can lead to health issues or worse. We need to think about drinking throughout the day and especially when we are thirsty.

6. Coffee is bad for your health and promotes dehydration

Another common nutrition myths that you can include in the above section is coffee and tea. Our expert level coaches at IIFYM.com, we love our coffee and for the longest time, we were led to believe that coffee and tea dehydrated us because of the caffeine content in the beverage.

This diet myth was later debunked and these beverages can now to be included in your overall water intake for the day. In fact, if you want some extra antioxidants in your diet, coffee is a great way to do it. So, cheers to your favorite morning cup of Joe!

7. To lose weight you need to eat 5-7 small meals throughout the day

No offense, but none of us have time to sit down and eat that many meals each day if you’re out there hustling trying to grow your business or being productive at your job. Thank goodness, nutrition myths such as this were debunked by science!

The thinking behind this nutrition myth was that by eating more frequently, you will be able to keep your metabolism revving all day long and thus burn fat for rapid weight loss. The funny aspect about this diet myth is that there are zero studies that have ever proved the idea to be true.

Different macronutrients go through distinct metabolic pathways that we simply can’t throw calories into one big bucket and call each calorie the same.

So, where did this diet myth come from? Who knows? I will say this, though, eating more frequently does help with satiation, but it has no bearing on helping you lose weight. You can eat 2-3 meals each day or 5-7 and still burn the same number of calories. This is why we have our clients eat how ever many meals they want to when hitting their macros for weight loss. It is far more sustainable to hit your weight loss macros in 2, 3 or 4 meals based on your won schedule, than it is to be forced to hit 7 or 8 meals per day! Especially why science dictates that meal frequency does not matter for a rapid weight loss program to work!

If you’re looking to burn calories, the coaches at IIFYM.com can take your slow or fast metabolism and help you choose foods that provide you with both the micro and macronutrients your body needs to function optimally. IIFYM is a great lifestyle diet that can be plugged into anyone’s life no matter how busy you are.


too much protein


8. Eating too much protein is harmful to your kidneys

I love my protein. IIFYM followers love their protein. IIFYM.com staff loves their protein. You too should love your protein—and not have to worry about nutrition myths that should have died years ago. I live in Pennsylvania, and here, we love our meat and potatoes. And in all honesty, I could probably eat meat at every meal. In the past, many were told that if they ate a diet that was high in protein, that it would raise their risk of doing harm to their kidneys and potentially have kidney failure.

While adding more protein in your diet can provide benefits, let us build your Custom Macro Blueprint tailoring your approach with a proper protein intake

While the harmful effects of large amounts of protein are indeed dangerous to those who already have kidney disease, healthy individuals will have no issues upping their protein intake.With all of that being said, what are some reasons why you should increase your protein intake?

For starters, it can help promote muscle growth. Another great reason to up this macronutrient is because it helps you feel fuller throughout the day and satiated rather than feeling like your stomach is digesting itself due to lack of substance.Protein is a highly beneficial micronutrition. Don’t believe the misconceptions surrounding nutrition myths like this. Keep protein in your diet and have it in every one of your meals regardless if you’re following an IIFYM nutrition plan or not.

9. A calorie is a calorie no matter where it comes from

One of the long-running nutrition myths has been that a calorie is a calorie and it has no bearing on where it’s coming from. Well, I hate to break it to you but not all calories are created equal. Various foods break down and are metabolized differently than others. Foods that have the ability to increase your metabolism are clearly preferred over sustenance that has a slight impact on your metabolism.

What they don’t tell you is that generally what’s happening is that they are swapping out the fat in the product and substituting sugar for it.

Also, food sources coming from protein or even fats can help you feel fuller longer. You will feel satiated when compared to eating food high in sugar that can actually release hormones in your brain making you want to eat even more sugar (not a great phenomenon). It’s because different macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways that we simply can’t throw calories into one big bucket and call each calorie the same.

You will feel satiated when compared to eating food high in sugar that can actually release hormones in your brain making you want to eat even more sugar (not a great phenomenon). It’s because different macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways that we simply can’t throw calories into one big bucket and call each calorie the same.



low fat options


10. Look for low-fat foods because they are healthy options

Food that has natural fat in them should always be chosen over their low-fat counterparts at the grocery store. Nutrition myths that we still hear to this day that just won’t die seem to revolve around fat. A common myth is that low-fat foods are healthier options because they contain less fat. What they don’t tell you is that generally what’s happening is that they are swapping out the fat in the product and substituting sugar for it.

That’s a horrible trade-off. The question might come up as to why a brand would decide to remove fat and add sugar. The simple answer is that when you remove the fat from a product, the taste can be terrible.

At the end of the day, it’s about how you feel from a mental and physical standpoint, give yourself a diet that promotes longevity. Have one of our coaches build your Custom Macro Blueprint!

Therefore, they add excess sugar to the product to compensate. Without you knowing it, you’re trading fat for an unhealthy ingredient that doesn’t belong in your diet. Skip the low-fat version of anything you are looking to purchase.

The question might come up as to why a brand would decide to remove fat and add sugar. The simple answer is that when you remove the fat from a product, the taste is terrible. Therefore, they add excess sugar to the product to compensate. Without you knowing it, you’re trading fat for an unhealthy ingredient that does not belong in your diet. Skip the low-fat version of anything you are looking to purchase unless needed.

11. All Oatmeal is good for you (Bonus nutrition myth)

I simply couldn’t leave one of the newer nutrition myths off the list so I needed to make sure it was included. Nutritionists, dieticians, trainers, doctors, and gurus alike have all said we should be including oatmeal in our diet. So how the heck can adding oatmeal to our diet be included in the list of nutrition myths? It’s quite simple, what you’re buying the box is full of sugar. At IIFYM.com we want to spread knowledge and ensure you know the truth behind your food choices.

If you are making oatmeal from scratch, you’re getting one heck of a healthy addition to your meal. However, if you are opening a packet of “oatmeal” you truly aren’t getting the health benefits they proclaim. The majority of the oatmeal found in packets where you add water and throw them in the microwave are full of sugar. Think of the packets you see flavored as Apples and Cinnamon or Strawberries and Cream. Not only that, but many of them have added trans fat in them to improve the taste.

What to do instead

A better option is to make your own oatmeal and add items such as nuts and maybe a packet of Stevia to sweeten it up to your liking. Just because the box is telling you the contents are healthy does not necessarily mean that they are. Don’t be fooled by nutrition myths similar to this. Without looking at the nutrition label and ingredients, you would think the prepackaged oatmeal was a healthy option when in reality it truly isn’t.

We hope you enjoyed this IIFYM article showcasing nutritional myths we have all heard time and time again. If you have any questions about any of the nutrition myths found in this article, our qualified staff at IIFYM.com can help you find the right nutrition plan to suit your needs and goals.

about the author

Matt Weik

Matt Weik is the Founder/Owner of Weik Fitness, LLC and is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. His work has been featured in over 85 fitness magazines and over 1,500 websites.

  • Clár Ni Luasaigh

    Some questions. If IIFYM is all about Macro counting, and I’m trying to stay low on fat, now I can’t even get low fat or fat free items?
    Also, how does one make their own oatmeal? I’m not a farmer!

    • Emily Bradford

      lol you just buy raw oats

      • Clár Ni Luasaigh

        But.. that’s what I do. He said ‘dont buy oats that you just add water to and bung in the microwave’, but – isn’t that how you cook ‘raw oats’??? Like, I use plain oats…

        • Kimmery Nguyen

          He’s saying not to use the pre-packaged ones that have all the sugar and flavoring added to them. Try reading that section a little slower.

          • Clár Ni Luasaigh

            Wow. Rude. I guess I forgot that in America, sugar is added to everything. Where I’m from, we only get what you call ‘raw oats’. We’re not obsessed with sugar like you guys 🙂

          • ptnasm

            Being from the US I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I cooked from scratch probably 90% of my food and I add sugar to nothing. Yes, highly processed foods often have more sugar than is needed. The author was simply giving a public service announcement that oatmeal is not created equal.

          • Kimmery Nguyen

            I’m really sorry you read my comment as rude. That’s certainly not what I intended. I was really just trying to take parts from his article and reiterate them but I saw where you might have gotten confused with the wording and thought if you went back and read that part slowly it would make more sense. Sometimes I read too fast and misunderstand the overall meaning. I was really trying to help. I’m genuinely sorry that you read my comment with a rude tone, that was not my intention.

    • Gina Moyes Weibel

      The world is full of natural foods that are low fat or fat free (like all plants.) You can still get lots of those items.
      Cooking your own food from basic ingredients gives you control over how much fat ends up in your recipes. Here, I think they just mean don’t think that “low fat baked goods/ ready-made meals/ snack foods” instead of “baked goods/ meals/ snack foods” are better. What is really better: make your own baked goods/meals/snack foods from scratch (simple ingredients) and control the macros that go into it.

    • ptnasm

      I think what he was saying was that there’s a myth that fat free and low fat foods are automatically healthier and good for fat loss and this just isn’t the case. In your case if these foods fit your macros better they might be better for you. The point though is that this isn’t some automatic thing where these foods are always better or that they are better for everyone. Also, when you have time, real, whole foods you cook yourself are always going to be superior and easier to control than packaged and processed foods.

      As for oatmeal, he didn’t mean growing your own oats. He just meant getting whole oats instead of instant oats that come in a pouch with the sugar already added. Go get whole oats and add your own flavors and you’ll do much better.

  • Emile Jarreau

    Nice work Matt.

    Man-made Frankenstein food is more the challenge. Eliminating most of these will make huge inroads to fat and weight loss. Sleep more and add just enough specific to your goal strength and cardio training…and youre on the right track. Measure your results to see whats working and what adjustments need to be made on your journey.


  • FumingSalmon

    very informative article…to the point…thanks. Special mention of the picture in the article where a thin girl is eating plate full of food and plump girl eating few lettuce leaves…haunting…perfect example of a picture can say what thousand words cannot.

  • Derek

    Low fat Greek yoghurt for example has no sugar added and actually has more protein than the full fat version in less calories. Trade offs like this are important to be able to make IIFYM, er, fit your macros. It’s more important to educate people to read the food labels and understand what is going on with a products ingredients rather than say “all low fat products are bad” My understanding of IIFYM Is that no foods are bad (with the exception of trans fats) and that is why it works. That is why it is important to get to grips with food labelling rather than saying low fat and high sugar products are inherently bad.

    • Erich Belan

      Totally agree Derek. There’s a very common misconception that reduced fat products have “added” sugar, but that’s not true by default. Plain, fat free yogurt does not have added sugar. However, the process of skimming fat changes the proportions of natural components of the food. Because yogurt naturally contains Lactose (a form of sugar found in Dairy), removing the fat in the yogurt means the proportion of sugar (and protein) has increased in the remaining food. If the author is referring to yogurts with fruit added or sugary flavorings, yes that’s true, but those added ingredients are equally common in full-fat versions of yogurt, and has nothing to do with its low-fat nature. For someone on a cutting diet vs a mass gain diet, a low-fat or fat-free version of yogurt or cottage cheese can be an excellent snack for low-calorie, high-protein food to more easily meet your protein macros within a low calorie diet.

      • Derek

        Exactly! And if sugar was to go up via lactose because fat had been removed, i.e. The ratios had changed, well if calorie balance/ deficit was the goal than that would still work in the favour of the low fat version as CHO has 4 cals to fats 9 per g. If bulking was the protocol then absolutely, go for the full fat version. I just felt the article wasn’t really in keeping with how IIFYM actually works. Everything, at the end of the day is a trade off and calories are king

  • Ashley

    How would you count alcohol in your macros. For example “vodka soda water” comes up just as calories(no macros are listed in Fit Pal). I’ve read to count as a carb(divide calories by 4).. and I’ve ready to count as a fat(divide cals by 9). Thoughts?

    • Derek

      Alcohol in itself is a macronutrient. 7 cals per gram however most of the calories encounters via alcohol is usually from the carbs in the alcohol. This is why beer has more calories than clear spirit for example. As much as alcohol is classed as a micronutrient, the body does not neccesarly process it in Exactly the same way as others.