“There are many mixed opinions in nutrition science. Dozens of studies are published every week, but most of them are of a low quality. The studies most commonly promoted by the media are test-tube studies, animal studies or observational studies. These studies have limited value on their own, and their results often completely contradict each other.
This has caused a lot of confusion about what constitutes evidence-based nutrition.
However, there are a few facts in nutrition that are truly backed by strong evidence. These are supported by systematic reviews, meta-analyses or randomized controlled trials — the best types of studies we have.
Here are 14 nutrition facts that are supported by strong evidence.
1. Low-Carb Diets Promote Weight Loss
Many controlled studies have shown that low-carb diets are very effective for weight loss. They also reduce many risk factors for heart disease.
2. Saturated Fat Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease
Comprehensive analyses of observational and controlled studies have found no convincing evidence that eating saturated fat causes heart disease.
3. Coffee and Green Tea Are Healthy Beverages
Many studies have shown that coffee and tea have beneficial effects. This includes improved mood, increased mental and physical performance, enhanced metabolism and a reduced risk of several diseases.
4. Sugary Drinks Are Fattening
Sugar-sweetened beverages have been shown to promote weight gain and unhealthy abdominal fat, which increases the risk of disease.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is Good for You
Extra virgin olive oil contains oleic acid and antioxidants, both of which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and improve other markers of heart health.
6. Cutting Carbs Improves Diabetes Management
Low-carb diets containing 20–100 grams of digestible carbs per day have been shown to lower blood sugar levels. In some cases the participants can significantly reduce their diabetes medication.
7. A High Protein Intake Is Beneficial for Weight Loss
High-protein diets promote weight loss and maintenance by decreasing hunger, increasing feelings of fullness and boosting metabolism.
8. Nuts Are Healthy and Weight Loss Friendly
Nuts are anti-inflammatory, help protect heart health and are beneficial for weight control.
9. Ketogenic Diets Can Help Control Seizures
The classic ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet have been shown to reduce seizures in many children with epilepsy.
10. Whole Grains Are Healthier Than Refined Grains
In most studies, whole grains have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect heart health and help with weight control. Refined grains have been linked to negative health effects.
11. Vegetables and Fruits Are Healthy
Several large studies have found that eating fruits and vegetables is linked to a decreased risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
12. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Lower Triglycerides
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower blood triglyceride levels in many studies, along with other benefits.
13. Calories Are Important, Although You May Not Need to Count Them
Reducing calorie intake is required for weight loss, but counting calories may not be appropriate for everyone.
14. Dietary Cholesterol and Whole Eggs Aren’t Bad For You
For several decades, dietary cholesterol was believed to raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.
However, studies show that when you eat more cholesterol, your body produces less.
In fact, eating eggs has been shown to improve some risk factors for heart disease, including raising HDL levels and promoting beneficial changes in the size and shape of LDL cholesterol (130, 131, 132, 133).
A small number of people, who are considered “hyperresponders” to cholesterol, have been found to experience a large increase in blood cholesterol levels in response to a high dietary cholesterol intake (134, 135, 136).
However, for most people, regularly eating eggs has been shown to be very healthy.
Importantly, you should eat the whole egg, including the yolk. That’s where almost all the nutrients are found.