10 Food Rules That Are Outdated

It’s 2023, but some beliefs around food and dieting have managed to stay for decades despite being proven wrong. From snacking to excessive fasting, let us​​ discover why these outdated beliefs no longer hold true in our evolving understanding of nutrition.

By URLife Team
29 May 2023

Food is a deeply personal and subjective aspect of our lives. It fuels our bodies, satisfies our taste buds, and often carries cultural and emotional significance. Simultaneously, a lot of negative perception about food has emerged, which has shaped our choices and thoughts regarding nutrition. However, it is important to recognise that our understanding of nutrition is continually evolving, and has led to many preconceived notions about food and diets becoming outdated.


In this article, we delve into 10 food rules that have lost their relevance in light of new scientific knowledge and changing perspectives. From restrictive diets to carb avoidance, excessive fasting to protein obsession, we explore how these once widely-held beliefs no longer align with today’s-balanced and evidence-based approach to nutrition.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Related story: Good Gut Food: Prebiotics And Probiotics


1. Fats are bad for you

Whether you’ve seen it in ads or interviews, there has been a long-standing idea that all fats are bad for you. In the past, there was a widespread belief that all fats were unhealthy and should be avoided. However, we now know that not all fats are created equal, and some are actually beneficial for our health.


Research has shown that certain fats, such as monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts, and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish, seeds, and vegetable oils, can have positive effects on our health. These healthy fats are essential for brain function, hormone production, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.


Instead of avoiding fats altogether, it is important to focus on consuming the right types of fats in moderation while minimising the intake of unhealthy trans fats and saturated fats found in processed and fried foods. A balanced diet that includes healthy fats can contribute to improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and better overall well-being. By updating our understanding of fats and incorporating the right ones into our diet, we can make more informed choices and enjoy a more balanced and nutritious approach to eating.


Related Story: How To Build A Healthy Plate


2. Calorie counting is the best way to manage weight and health

Another outdated food rule is the idea that calorie counting is the most effective way to lose weight. While it is true that calories play a role in weight management, only focusing on calorie intake is an overly simplistic and misconceived approach to nutrition.


Calories are not the only factor that should determine if food is nutritious or not. Different foods can have varying effects on our metabolism, hormone regulation, and overall well-being, even if they contain the same number of calories. For example, a 100-calorie snack of processed cookies will have different effects on our body than a 100-calorie serving of fruits or vegetables.This is because the breakup of these two will be different. Processed cookies will have more fats and added sugars, while vegetables will have more fibre and protein content.


Instead of fixating solely on calorie counting, it is more beneficial to prioritise the quality of the foods we consume. Opting for whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, can provide a more balanced and holistic approach to eating.


By shifting the focus from solely counting calories to emphasising the overall quality of our food choices, we can foster a healthier relationship with food, promote satiety, and ensure our bodies receive the essential nutrients they need for optimal health.


Related story: The Best Weight Loss Strategy: Calorie Counting or Intermittent Fasting


3. Restrictive diets aid in optimal health

There is a prevailing notion that restrictive diets are the key to achieving optimal health and weight loss. In the past, there has been a trend of adopting extreme diets that severely restrict certain food groups or macronutrients, such as low-carb, low-fat, or eliminating entire food categories like gluten or dairy.


While it's true that some individuals may have specific dietary requirements or sensitivities that require them to avoid certain foods, the idea that everyone should follow a highly restrictive diet for general health benefits is outdated and not supported by scientific evidence.


Restrictive diets can often lead to nutrient deficiencies, imbalances, and an unhealthy relationship with food. They may also be difficult to sustain in the long term, leading to a cycle of yo-yo dieting and weight fluctuations.


Instead of adhering to strict and rigid diets, a more balanced and sustainable approach is to focus on a varied and well-rounded eating pattern. This means including a wide range of whole, unprocessed foods in appropriate portions, listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and incorporating moderation and flexibility into your eating habits.


Related Story: What Food Labels Tell You….And What They Don’t


4. Avoid carbohydrates

Ever heard someone telling you to avoid carbs for better health and weight loss? Carbohydrates have often been demonised in certain diet trends, leading to the misconception that cutting out carbs entirely is necessary or beneficial.


In reality, carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that provides our bodies with energy. They are the primary fuel source for our brains and muscles. Cutting out carbs entirely can lead to low energy levels, nutrient deficiencies, and potential imbalances in our metabolism. While it's true that not all carbs are created equal, and some sources of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and highly processed grains, can have negative health effects when consumed in excess, it's important to distinguish between "good" and "bad" carbs.


"Good" carbs include whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, which provide important vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. These types of carbohydrates can contribute to a balanced and nutritious diet. On the other hand, "bad" carbs, such as sugary beverages, white bread, and sweets, provide little nutritional value and can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed in large amounts.


Rather than completely avoiding carbs, a more sensible approach is to choose complex carbohydrates over simple sugars, opt for whole food sources, and practice portion control.


Related story: Is Cutting Carb is Doing More Harm Than Good


5. Excessive fasting is good for health

It is an outdated belief that excessive fasting is linked to better health. Fasting has been practised for centuries for cultural, religious, and even therapeutic reasons. However, the idea that prolonged or extreme fasting is a sustainable and effective approach for everyone is not supported by scientific evidence.


While intermittent fasting (alternating periods of eating and fasting) has gained popularity and shown some potential health benefits for certain individuals, excessive fasting or prolonged fasting can have negative effects on overall health.


Extended periods of fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, a decrease in metabolic rate, and disruptions in hormone regulation. It can also contribute to an unhealthy relationship with food and lead to a cycle of binge eating or overeating during non-fasting periods.


Related story: The Truths About Diets: Intermittent Fasting


6. Protein is not meant for all

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a crucial role in numerous bodily functions, including building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, producing enzymes and hormones, and maintaining muscle mass.


In the past, there was a misconception that protein was primarily important for athletes or bodybuilders, while the general population could easily meet their protein needs without much consideration. However, research has shown that inadequate protein intake can have negative implications for people of all ages and activity levels.


Insufficient protein intake can lead to muscle wasting, impaired immune function, slower wound healing, and a higher risk of infections. It can also contribute to feelings of fatigue, weakness, and difficulty recovering from exercise or illness.


It is important to consume adequate amounts of protein from various sources, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein varies depending on factors such as age, sex, weight, and activity level, but a general guideline is to aim for around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.


Get your Health Risk Assessment done now with UR.Life.


7. All Calories are Equal

Another outdated food rule is the belief that all calories are equal, regardless of their source. This oversimplification suggests that the type of food we consume matters less than the number of calories it contains. However, emerging research indicates that not all calories are metabolised and utilised by the body in the same way.


Different foods can have varying effects on our hunger, metabolism, hormones, and overall health, even if they contain the same number of calories. For example, 100 calories from a sugary soda will have different metabolic consequences compared to 100 calories from a serving of vegetables.


Calories from whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense and high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, are generally more satisfying, promote satiety, and provide a broader range of essential nutrients.


On the other hand, calories from highly processed foods that are high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and refined grains, such as sugary snacks, fried foods, and sugary beverages, tend to be less filling and offer fewer nutritional benefits.


8. All cholesterol-rich foods must be avoided

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in certain foods, as well as produced by our bodies. The popular belief before was that all cholesterol-rich foods must be avoided to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. There was a widespread belief that consuming foods high in cholesterol directly increased blood cholesterol levels and posed a risk to heart health.


However, scientific research has shown that the relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels is more complex than previously thought. While dietary cholesterol does have some impact on blood cholesterol levels, it is not the sole determinant.


More recent studies have found that for the majority of individuals, consuming foods high in cholesterol does not significantly raise blood cholesterol levels or increase the risk of heart disease. The liver tightly regulates cholesterol levels in response to dietary intake, and it can adjust its production accordingly.


9. Snacking between meals is bad for the health

In the past, snacking was often associated with mindless eating, unhealthy food choices, and weight gain. However, the concept of snacking has evolved, and research has provided a more nuanced understanding.


Snacking, when done mindfully and with nutritious choices, can actually have positive effects on our overall health and well-being. Snacking can help maintain steady energy levels throughout the day, prevent excessive hunger, and support better portion control during main meals.


The key lies in making mindful and nutritious snack choices. Opting for whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, yogurt, and whole-grain snacks can provide valuable nutrients, fiber, and satiety. These choices can help curb cravings, provide sustained energy, and contribute to a well-balanced diet.


Get access to health tools with UR.Life now!


10. All red meat is bad for you

Another outdated food rule is the belief that all red meat is inherently bad for you. Red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, has often been associated with negative health effects, particularly due to its saturated fat and cholesterol content. However, the relationship between red meat consumption and health outcomes is more complex than a blanket statement that all red meat is unhealthy.


While it is true that consuming excessive amounts of red meat, particularly processed meats like sausages and deli meats, has been associated with an increased risk of certain health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, it is important to consider the context of consumption and the overall dietary pattern.


Red meat can provide valuable nutrients, including high-quality protein, iron, zinc, and various B vitamins. Lean cuts of red meat, when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, can be a nutritious component of a healthy eating plan.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Get personalised nutrition plans now!


UR.Life Canteen Assessment

At UR.Life, we understand the significance of ensuring a safe and healthy food environment for your employees. A corporate canteen plays a pivotal role in nourishing and energising your workforce, and obtaining FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) approval is an essential step towards achieving this goal. By obtaining FSSAI approval, you demonstrate your commitment to maintaining high standards of food safety, hygiene, and quality, thereby safeguarding the well-being of your employees and the public at large.

With our comprehensive UR.Life Canteen Assessment, we go beyond mere compliance with regulations. We partner with your organization to assess the hygienic practices, nutritional value, and adherence to food safety protocols within your canteen. Our team of experienced professionals examines every aspect, including food storage, handling, preparation, and overall cleanliness, to ensure that your canteen meets the highest standards of hygiene and safety.

Furthermore, we understand the importance of catering to individual dietary requirements and preferences. Our assessment includes an evaluation of the canteen's ability to accommodate diverse food choices, allergies, and specific dietary needs. We believe that a well-rounded and inclusive menu not only promotes better health but also boosts employee satisfaction and productivity. Click here to find out more.



Follow Us On Instagram