Top 5 Nutrition Myths You Need To Know

For Chelsea Blackbird, a certified nutritional therapist, diet is a dirty word.

“It implies a short-term goal with a sacrificial mindset. Health is an everyday, long-term goal full of delicious opportunities, and when we focus on health instead of fitting into our skinny jeans, our skinny jeans usually start fitting better by default,” she says.

However, Blackbird typically has to do some “dietary myth-busting” with clients to get them on the right health track. Here, she tackles the top-five nutrition myths that lead to common problematic mindsets.


This is not a health plan; this is a torture plan. Eighty percent of body composition is determined by the food you eat, and only 20 percent is exercise, genetics, and environmental factors. What’s important is the quality of calories that you do eat, not having less of them.

For instance, 200 calories worth of toast and 200 calories worth of eggs work completely differently in your body. The toast spikes your blood sugar, induces cravings, and depletes the body of important vitamins. Eggs steady blood sugar, reduce cravings, and promote brain power. The focus needs to be on foods that serve your body, which I call Foods With Benefits (FWBs). Also, too much exercise sends stress signals to the body and creates blood sugar problems and fat retention.


You are either a sugar burner or a fat burner. Our bodies are designed to use fat as our main source of energy. But most people are afraid of fat, so they eat grains, sugar, and low fat foods that our bodies burn up too quickly as energy, triggering our bodies to require (crave!) more of these foods. This creates a viscous cycle of sugar burning.

Our bodies have limited places to store these kinds of calories, and when those places are full, those grain and sugar calories turn to circulating blood fat (triglycerides) or body fat (adipose). But the body has unlimited places to store healthy fat. Every cell requires fat to make its membrane. The brain is 60 percent fat, which is the greatest source of energy for the heart, and fats are required to make our hormones. Examples of healthy fats to eat are coconut oil, olive oil, organic (preferably grass-fed) butter, and avocados.


Wrong, wrong, wrong. Please, run to your kitchen and throw out every bottle of vegetable, corn, canola, peanut, grape seed, and soybean (check your salad dressing) oil that you have, plus all tubs of margarine or fake spreads. I beg you.

These are some of the most damaging substances to our bodies. They are processed in a way that creates oxidation (free radicals) and inflammation in the body, which lays the groundwork for chronic illness and disease. Manufacturers would like you to think that man-made, refined fat substances are better for you than fats easily derived from nature like olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. But they’re not. They’re absolutely not. Get old school and back to nature with healthy fats.


Nope, not so much. Wheat, corn, rice, beans and oats (among others) turn to blood sugar very quickly. Once these turn to blood sugar, the storage is limited. If these are a mainstay of your diet, then they are likely being converted to triglycerides or adipose fat (both of which are not heart-healthy).

Also, most grains have had all of the life (nutrients) processed right out of them. Manufacturers try to add some back in, but any time you see a product has been “fortified,” just know that the body does not easily assimilate these “after-thought” nutrients.

Finally, whole grains are often difficult to digest, and that is the way our bodies break down food to get the nutrients out of them. We don’t need to make this a more difficult process. Instead of making grains your primary source of carbohydrates, you are much better off eating vegetables to fill this need.



Although I respect those who choose a vegetarian diet for religious and/or ethical reasons, I would redirect someone randomly choosing vegetarianism or veganism because they assume it’s a “healthier” way to eat. In reality, vegetarians and vegans have to work harder at finding nutrients that are as readily available and as easily absorbable as found in animal foods. Here’s a great example: People are on a major flax and chia seed bandwagon for sources of Omega-3s. But, unlike fish and grass-fed beef, which are easy-to-absorb sources of this essential fatty acid, flax and chia have to go through a serious bodily conversion process to become an available source of Omega-3. Most people do not or cannot make that conversion well.

Another example: Plant foods do not have vitamin A. They contain beta-carotene (found in those pretty vegetable colors), which must be converted to vitamin A. Again, this is a tough bodily conversion for many people to make. They could much more easily get vitamin A from eggs, seafood, meat, and full-fat dairy.

Vegetarians and vegans also risk deficiency in certain amino acids (critical for mental health) by relying solely on plant foods for protein. Animal protein offers the full spectrum of essential amino acids while plant proteins do not. Studies that show vegetarians are “healthier” than meat eaters are typically lumping in lifestyle factors (not just food) to make that claim. People who choose vegetarianism tend to be more conscious in all areas of health (not smoking, more exercise, choosing organic foods, etc.) over the average meat eater, which skews the study. But when you match a health-conscious omnivore with a health-conscious vegetarian, studies show that the meat eater’s health markers stack up just fine.


Truth: Focusing on nutrients and food quality is the best long-term health plan.Every day you have the opportunity to give your body everything it needs for optimal health and wellness and for looking good in those skinny jeans.

Chelsea Blackbird is a certified nutritional therapist who uses a holistic approach to health and wellness. For more information or to schedule a personalized nutritional assessment, go to or contact Chelsea at