4 Nutrition Myths You NEED to Know


Jan 18, 2023
Reaction score
Get Shredded!
The fitness industry is filled with misinformation. I am reminded of this every time I scroll through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and see my newsfeed lined with garbage. Surprisingly this actually ticks me off. How are uninformed people supposed to find quality nutrition information? I mean if its on Facebook it has to be true, right? Surely the average person is not going to scan through research articles on PubMed for hours where the real information is. For this reason, I feel its necessary to provide a list of my Top 4 Nutrition Myths You Need to Know.

Take a look at my list and see if you have been wasting your time worrying about one of these pointless claims. And remember, when it comes to nutrition the correct answer is often “it depends” and “IIFYM” :) enjoy.

Myth 1- Everyone Needs to Cut Gluten Out of Their Diet

There has been a lot of hype over the past few years surrounding gluten free diets. With the way people are so easily influenced by dieting fads, it doesn’t surprise me that some people are willing to pay ridiculous prices for gluten free cookies, but otherwise avoid quality foods in order to say “I’m Gluten Free”.

The fact of the matter is avoiding gluten is not necessary unless you have celiacs disease, and only about 1% of adults actually have it. Going by those statistics you most likely don’t have anything to worry about. There is no benefit for the average healthy adult to follow a gluten-free diet.

For people with CD gluten gets absorbed like normal, however, once it gets into the intestinal cell, immune cells see the gluten peptides as a threat and act accordingly. People with this condition obviously should avoid gluten as it can and will cause serious health issues. But for the rest of us (99%) there is nothing inherently dangerous about gluten, after all its just a protein.

What about non celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) you ask? NCGS is when people report having negative side effects from consuming gluten without actually having an autoimmune reaction to it. Again, this is quite rare as recent research has even shown NCGS to be less common then celiacs disease, effecting somewhere around .5% of the adult population. [1] Again this is a rare condition and could just be irritable bowel syndrome. The problem is there is an overlap between irritable bowel syndrome and NCGS. This suggests that there needs to be more stringent diagnostic criteria to try and separate the two conditions. Some of the benefits people get from following a “30 day paleo challenge” where gluten is eliminated from the diet for 30 days could unfortunately just be a placebo effect.

In fact a study in the August issue of Gastroenterology looked at the specific effects of gluten after dietary reduction of fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) in subjects believed to have NCGS. The authors found no evidence of specific or dose-dependent effects of gluten in patients with NCGS diets that were also low in FODMAPs [2]. This paper was interesting because its subjects all self reported symptoms improving with a gluten free diet before the study.

In another study, researchers out of Arizona State University published a paper in 2012 in which they looked at the literature surrounding the gluten free diet for the general population. As stated in the paper, “there is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population”. Although this may seem common sense to Hunt Fitness readers, the researchers found no evidence for weight loss following a gluten free diet outside of a calorie deficit. The researchers actually found a few studies in which subjects were put on a gluten free diet and gained weight [3]. I’m guessing those subjects did not fit those gluten free cookies into their macros…

I want to end this by pointing out there is nothing wrong with going gluten free. Gluten is not an essential nutrient and it doesn’t have any real proposed health benefits I think you should be concerned with. The fact is I just don’t like to see people become unnecessarily restrictive with their diet when they can get the same, if not better, results with a more flexible approach. If you do not have any digestive problems with gluten and feel fine after eating it there is no reason to avoid it.

Myth 2 – Increasing Meal Frequency Boosts Metabolism

This is a bodybuilding staple! Consuming smaller more frequent meals has long been advocated as a way to increase ones metabolism and aid in fat loss. I’m not exactly sure where it originated but if I had to guess it came from an observation of satiety/hunger increasing in conjunction with smaller more frequent meals. I know personally whenever I increase meal frequency for an extended period of time I always find myself getting hungrier more frequently. Getting hungry becomes like clock work. Now the real question is does getting hungrier more frequently mean it increases ones metabolism? Lets see what the research has to say.

I must admit the research in this category is somewhat lacking. There is a very small body of work that looks at meal frequency however, the majority of the research evidence there is does not support the fact that increasing meal frequency boosts metabolism or has any greater effect on body composition.

Lets look at one paper in particular. A study from 2012 compared the effects of consuming 3 vs 6 meals per day on 24 hour fat oxidation and subjective ratings of hunger. The subjects were provided with isoenergetic, energy balanced diets to specifically examine the effects of meal frequency. The researchers found no difference in 24 hour fat oxidation between the 3 and 6 meal per day patterns. In addition, there was no difference in fullness but the subjects on the 6 meal per day protocol had a greater “desire to eat” and hunger [4].

The take home point here is meal frequency should come down to personal preference. There doesn’t seem to be any benefit in any one meal frequency pattern. Obviously the bodybuilding method of eating smaller meals more frequently works for them and on the flip side people can also make gains with intermittent fasting. At the end of the day calorie and macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) intake is what matters most.

I personally feel around 4 meals per day is optimal. It seems to be the sweet spot between low and high frequency eating patterns. There is some research that suggest that eating too frequently (inside of 3 hours) actually reduces your bodies ability to maximize protein synthesis due to a refractory period following protein containing meals. So I would caution against the higher end of meal frequency. On the flip side not eating for long periods of time (upwards of 6+ hours) seems counterintuitive for muscle building and also forces one to eat excessively larger meals which can be a chore.

Eat how ever many times per day you want. As long as you have your calorie and macronutrient goals dialed in you will be alright!

Myth 3- There are “Clean” and “Dirty” Foods

I’m going to take the easy way of addressing this myth and just direct you to a video I did on this topic a while back. This is episode two of my Flexible Dieting Series on YouTube @HuntFitnessTV

Myth 4- You Can’t Have Carbs Past 6 PM

Come on man, everyone knows you cant have carbs at night…

Even with the popularity of Kiefer’s Carb Backloading protocol and intermittent fasting the no carbs at night myth just refuses to go away. The reality is, this little tid bit of bro science seems to make perfect sense. Typically when the nutrition “gurus” recommend avoiding carbs at night it has to do with two main principles. One, since you will be going to bed soon you wont need any energy from the carbs as well as assuming there is a metabolic rate decline at night which will lead to the carbs being stored as fat. Secondly, “gurus” may also point to insulin sensitivity being the reason to avoid carbs at night. A common claim could be insulin sensitivity is reduced at night therefore it promotes the carb storing directionality more towards fat and away from muscle.

The first claim makes partial sense. You probably wont need any energy at night if all you are doing is relaxing at home watching TV. However, these people are not looking at nutrition and metabolism in the big picture. It’s more about energy balance throughout the day rather then acute timing. With that being said, I do feel there is some benefit to nutrient partitioning and having more carbs around your workout. But like I always say, your total carb intake for the day is what is most important.

Throughout the night there are metabolic fluctuations. In the first part of sleep there tends to be a metabolic downshift, but once the body gets into deep sleep that changes. The deep REM sleep actually causes an increase in metabolic function that is even greater in those who workout. So it’s not correct to assume sleep is directly correlated with a downshift in metabolism.

As far as insulin intolerance goes, yes there is a difference between morning and evening meals. Even though insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance appear to be worse at night compared in the morning, there is a reason. Morning meals fall after a long overnight fast which improves insulin sensitivity. If you compare a regular mid-day meal vs. a nighttime meal there is actually no difference in insulin sensitivity or glucose tolerance. So in reality there is no difference in insulin sensitivity. Boom!

The take home message here is to consume your daily carbs whenever you prefer.


Like I said in the introduction, the fitness industry is filled with misinformation regarding nutrition. That is not to say the fitness industry hasn’t been ahead of scientific discoveries because it has. But broscience dies hard. This is just another step in correcting the ship and providing quality information.