Below you'll find side-by-side comparisons of David Zinczenko's "The 15 Worst Health & Diet Myths" and the Men's Health articles it draws from. [See related story here.]

Myth No. 1: Too much protein hurts your kidneys

David Zinczenko: Way back in 1983, researchers discovered that eating more protein increases the amount of blood your kidneys filter per minute. Many scientists immediately made the leap that a high-protein diet places your kidneys under greater stress. They were proven wrong. Over the past two decades, several studies have found that while protein-rich meals do increase blood flow to the kidneys, this doesn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney function.

Alan Aragon: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your "glomerular filtration rate," or GFR. Think of GFR as the amount of blood your kidneys are filtering per minute. From this finding, many scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress. […] Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney function.

Myth No. 2: Sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes

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David Zinczenko: Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren't eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter—all toppings that contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.

Alan Aragon: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn't necessarily better than the other. For instance, sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren't eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.

Myth No. 3: Red meat causes cancer

David Zinczenko: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed "heterocyclic amines," compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. Since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer. Yet no study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer. The population studies are far from conclusive. They relied on broad surveys of people's eating habits and health afflictions—numbers that illuminate trends, not causes.

Put the Truth to Work for You: Don't stop grilling. Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don't need to avoid burgers and steak—just trim off the burned or overcooked
sections of the meat before eating.

Alan Aragon: The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed "heterocyclic amines," compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. And since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.

What science really shows: No study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red- meat consumption and cancer. As for the population studies, they're far from conclusive. That's because they rely on broad surveys of people's eating habits and health afflictions, and those numbers are simply crunched to find trends, not causes.

The bottom line: Don't stop grilling. Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don't need to avoid burgers and steak; rather, they should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.

Myth No. 4: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar

David Zinczenko: "There's no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugar. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess. The only particular evil regarding HFCS is that it's cheaper, and commonly shows up everywhere from bread to ketchup to soda."

Put the Truth to Work for You: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts. How? By keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.

Alan Aragon: The truth is, there's no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugar. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess. The bottom line: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts. How? By keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.

Myth No. 5: Too much salt causes high blood pressure

David Zinczenko: Ziczenko: "Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there's no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake. Now,
if you already have high blood pressure, you may be "salt sensitive." As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful. However, people with high blood pressure who don't want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods—it's really the balance of the two minerals that
matters. In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average person consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.

Put the Truth to Work for You: Strive for a potassium-rich diet-which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes—and your salt intake won't matter as much. For instance, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium
per serving.

Alan Aragon: Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there's no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake. Now, if you already have high blood pressure, you may be "salt sensitive." As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful. However, it's been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don't want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods. Why? Because it's really the balance of the two minerals that matters. In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.

The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. For instance, spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beanss each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving."

Myth No. 6: Chocolate bars are empty calories

David Zinczenko: Cocoa is rich in flavonoids—the same heart-healthy compounds found in red wine and green tea. Its most potent form is dark chocolate. In a recent study, Greek researchers found that consuming dark chocolate containing 100 milligrams (mg) of flavonoids relaxes your blood vessels, improving bloodflow to your heart.

Jeff Volek: Cocoa is rich in flavonoids—the same heart-healthy compounds found in red wine and green tea. Its most potent form is dark chocolate. In a recent study, Greek researchers found that consuming dark chocolate containing 100 milligrams (mg) of flavonoids relaxes your blood vessels, improving bloodflow to your heart.

Myth No. 7: Gas station snacks are nutritional nightmares

David Zinczenko: Beef jerky is high in protein and doesn't raise your level of insulin—a hormone that signals your body to store fat. That makes it an ideal between-meals snack, especially when you're trying to lose weight. And while some beef-jerky brands are packed with high-sodium ingredients such as MSG and sodium nitrate, chemical-free products are available.

Jeff Volek: Beef jerky is high in protein and doesn't raise your level of insulin—a hormone that signals your body to store fat. That makes it an ideal between-meals snack, especially when you're trying to lose weight. And while some beef-jerky brands are packed with high-sodium ingredients, such as MSG and sodium nitrate, chemical-free products are available. If you have high blood pressure, check the label for brands that are made from all-natural ingredients, which reduce the total sodium content.

Myth No. 8: Restaurants comply with nutrition disclosure regulations

David Zinczenko: Even though many restaurants offer healthy alternatives, you could still be at the whim of the kitchen's cook. A recent E.W. Scripps lab investigation found that "responsible" menu items at chains ranging from Chili's to Taco Bell may have up to twice the calories and eight times the fat published in the restaurants' nutritional information.

Men's Health: Even though many restaurants offer healthy alternatives, you could still be at the whim of the kitchen's cook. A recent E.W. Scripps lab investigation found that "responsible" menu items at chains ranging from Chili's to Taco Bell may have up to twice the calories and eight times the fat published
in the restaurants' nutritional information.

Myth No. 9: Sports drinks are ideal after-workout refreshment

David Zinczenko: Carb-loaded drinks like Vitaminwater and Gatorade are a great way to rehydrate and reenergize; they help replenish glycogen, your body's stored energy. But they don't always supply the amino acids needed for muscle repair. To maximize post-workout recovery, a protein-carb combination—which those drinks may not offer—can help. Put the Truth to Work for You: After you suck down that sports drink, eat a bowl of 100 percent whole-grain cereal with nonfat milk, suggests a 2009 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. A glass of low-fat chocolate milk is a good choice as well.

Men's Health: "Carb-loaded drinks like Vitaminwater and Gatorade can help replace glycogen, your body's stored energy. But they don't always supply the amino acids needed for muscle repair. To maximize post-workout recovery, a protein-carb combination—which those drinks may not offer—can help. One
option: a bowl of 100 percent whole-grain cereal with nonfat milk, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Myth No. 10: You need 38 grams of fiber a day

David Zinczenko: That's the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. And it's a lot, equaling nine apples or more than a half dozen bowls of instant oatmeal. (Most people eat about 15 grams of fiber daily.) The studies found a correlation between high fiber intake and lower incidence of heart disease. But none of the high-fiber-eating groups in those studies averaged as high as 38 grams, and, in fact, people saw maximum benefits with a daily gram intake averaging from the high 20s to the low 30s.


Put the Truth to Work for You: Just eat sensibility. [sic] Favor whole, unprocessed foods. Make sure the carbs you eat are fiber-rich—that means produce, legumes, and whole grains—because they'll help slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.

Maria Masters: That's the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine. Scientists there crunched data from three studies and squeezed out the number 38 in 2005. It equals 9 apples, or 12 bowls of instant oatmeal. (Most people eat about 15 grams of fiber daily.) The studies found a correlation between high fiber intake and lower incidence of heart disease. But none of the high-fiber-eating groups in those studies averaged as high as 38 grams, and, in fact, people saw maximum benefits with a daily gram intake averaging from the high 20s to the low 30s. A simple strategy: Eat sensibly. Favor whole, unprocessed foods. Make sure the carbs you eat are fiber-rich—this means produce, legumes, and whole grains—to help slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. "The more carbohydrates you eat, the more fiber becomes important to help minimize the wide fluctuations in blood-sugar levels," says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut.

Myth No. 11: Saturated fat will clog your heart

David Zinczenko: Most people consider turkey, chicken, and fish healthy, yet think they should avoid red meat—or only choose very lean cuts—since they've always been told that it's high in saturated fat. But a closer look at beef reveals the truth: Almost half of its fat is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid—the same heart-healthy fat that's found in olive oil. Second, most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart-disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.

Jeff Volek & Adam Campbell: "Most people consider turkey, chicken, and fish healthy, yet think they should avoid red meat—or only choose very lean cuts—since they've always been told that it's high in saturated fat.But there are two problems in that thinking. The first problem is that almost half of the fat in beef is a
monounsaturated fat called oleic acid—the same heart-healthy fat that's found in olive oil. Second, most of the saturated fat in beef actually decreases your heart- disease risk—either by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, or by reducing your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.

Myth No. 12: Reduced-fat foods are healthier alternatives

David Zinczenko: Peanut butter is a representative example for busting this myth. A tub of reduced-fat peanut butter indeed comes with a fraction less fat than the full-fat variety—they're not lying about that. But what the food companies don't tell you is that they've replaced that healthy fat with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a filler in many processed foods. This means you're trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories.

Men's Health: "A tub of reduced-fat ­peanut butter indeed comes with a fraction less fat than the full-fat variety—they're not lying about that. But what the food companies don't tell you is that they've replaced that healthy fat with maltodextrin, a carbohydrate used as a filler in many processed foods. This means you're trading the healthy fat from peanuts for empty carbs, double the sugar, and a savings of a meager 10 calories."

Myth No. 13: Diet soda is better for you

David Zinczenko: Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn't mean it can't lead to weight gain. It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages—even if they're artificially sweetened—may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert—everything. In fact, new research found that people who drink diet soda on a daily basis have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Men's Health: Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn't mean it can't lead to weight gain. It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages—even if they're artificially sweetened—may lead to a high preference for sweetness
overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert— everything. Whatever the reason, it's clear that people who drink a ton of diet soda aren't doing themselves any favors: New research found that people who drink diet on a daily basis have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Myth No. 14: Skipping meals helps you lose weight

David Zinczenko: Not eating can mess with your body's ability to control your appetite. And it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn't have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest.

Lisa Jones: Not eating can mess with your body's ability to control your
appetite. But it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. "Regulating yourself is a brain activity, and your brain runs on glucose," says Martin Ginis. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn't have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest.

Myth No. 15: You should eat three times a day

David Zinczenko: Most diet plans portray snacking as a failure. But by snacking on the right foods at strategic times, you'll keep your energy levels stoked all day.

Zach Veilleux: More specifically, snack often. By snacking on the right foods at strategic times, you'll keep your energy levels stoked all day, says sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, R.D.

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