Working with food brands on their nutrition communications and marketing, we see the same nutrition myths popping up over and over again. Getting your nutrition communications right is crucial to maintaining your credibility as a brand with your consumers and industry professionals.
So we are here to bust a few nutrition myths for you!
1. “Sugar-free” and “Natural Sugars”
Many brands think that using natural sweeteners such as dates, maple syrup or honey means that they can market their product as sugar-free and this is far from the truth. Dates, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar etc. all contain the same sugar molecules that are found in standard table sugar in very similar amounts. Marketing a sweet potato brownie made with dates as sugar-free is entirely false! You could perhaps say “made without refined sugar” but this can still be a bit misleading as sugar is sugar and is processed the same in the body no matter where it comes from.
2. Detox Products
Detoxing your body through products such as lemonades, teas, juices, supplements and smoothies is one of the biggest nutrition myths out there. Our body has two very powerful organs that do all of our detoxing for us:
the liver and the kidneys.
If we truly had “toxins” building up in our body, we would get very ill and die as the toxins in our body are indeed toxic! The idea that a drink or product could cleanse these for us is not true. A drink may feel very refreshing or even energising but it is not clearing your system of toxins!
3. High Protein Everything
A common trend at the moment is to add high levels of protein to so many different products – even water and bread! While a good supply of protein is important to build and maintain our muscles and can help us stay full, we do not need so much that it needs to be in every single product. Most people who eat a few servings of meat, eggs, dairy or plant proteins a day are getting all the protein they need. Our body can’t use more than 20-25g in one go so products with excessively high levels of protein are a bit pointless!
4. Vegan = Healthier
While a vegan diet certainly can be a very healthy way of eating that involves lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals, it is not always guaranteed. Many vegan products are marketed as “healthier” or “cleaner” simply because they meet vegan requirements and not because they are truly healthy.
5. Immune Boosting
There are plenty of products out there labelled as immune boosting which surprise, surprise is also a myth! No food or drink has been shown to truly “boost” the immune system, there are plenty of foods which contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for supporting normal function of the immune system, but nothing can boost it and give it superpowers sadly!