• Nikki Ostrower (Nutritionist)

Greatest Wellness Myths from the World of Nutrition



I’ve been a Nutritionist for over 14 years, so I’ve seen many, many fads come and go and have had many clients come to me with false information they heard from Aunt Sally or read on the internet.


While I do my best to keep an open mind, because science is ever-changing, there are still many myths about health that sadly are still thought to be true.


Here are the 5 top “Myths” about Wellness I want to bust for you for good!

Sugar is good for you.


Given that sugar is as addictive, if not more so, than cocaine, and can exacerbate weight gain, inflammation, pain, lethargy from blood sugar highs and crashes, acne, hormone imbalance, PMS, and mood irregularity, I’d say this is the first thing that needs to be weened off of with my clients.


Once we examine together where sugar is sneaking into their diet unnecessarily, usually in processed bagged, boxed, and bottled products they consume without their full awareness, my clients regain their sense of taste again! Their taste buds, without being inundated by sugar, can savor and appreciate the real taste of whole foods. The cravings melt away, and my clients always come back to me excited that they feel in control and balanced!


Upon reintroduction of something sweet, most of my clients don’t like the sensation - when you remove something, you regain the ability to see how your body and mind actually respond to it once you’ve had a break. You become sensitive to sugar again and allow your internal organs to function at their best, without the stress of a high sugar diet! That’s what we want. This helps remind you to keep your blood sugar in check, so that you don’t experience high highs and low lows from sugar crashes.

Fat makes you fat.

It makes me sad that many STILL believe this myth, but old habits die hard. This was falsely reported, and then finally debunked after we learned sugar companies were paying to publish that sugar is good for you and fat is not. Then came the “diet food” craze, where food companies removed fat from already processed foods. (But fat gives food flavor.) So of course, in order to get people to buy processed foods, they had to make them taste good. In came sugar, and in the decades since, Type II Diabetes, obesity, and other preventable health conditions have only increased tremendously.

There are some “fats” I would NOT advocate for - such as fried foods, processed dairy products, canola, hydrogenated oils, margarine, and fast foods. The good fats come from foods like avocados, nuts and seeds, olive and avocado oils, coconut, natural fats in fatty wild-caught fish, great quality butter, ghee, etc. These healthy fats help gut motility, hormonal health, blood sugar regularity and satiety, brain health, healthy pregnancy, and so much more.

In order to lose weight, you must count calories.


False - I have helped countless clients lose and maintain a healthy weight, and we never once counted calories. I use Food Journaling with my clients, which is a beautiful awareness tool. As they write what they eat, when they eat, and how foods make them feel, they also learn what foods are pro-inflammatory for their system vs. which leave them feeling energized, balanced, and happy.


By reducing inflammation and creating a solid sleep schedule, boosting hydration, creating a healthy movement routine, teaching how to eat whole foods, and reducing stress, they naturally lose excess weight without ever stepping on the scale or downloading a fitness app.

In order to lose weight, you must work out intensely.


False - I have seen many clients wreak havoc on their health by over-exercising, over-exhausting their body, and creating more inflammation and cortisol output. This is also a potential sign for me of eating disorders/body dysmorphia.


We’re meant to feel energized and stimulate the many positive benefits of exercise and movement. The good news is you don’t have to work out excessively to do that!


30 minutes of moderate-intensity each day is plenty. Lifting weights through functional movement is still very popular and excellent for your health, strengthening muscle and bone, burning fat, helping the body feel strong, and the sweat promotes glowing skin and detox. Body Conceptions is a perfect example (NAOBODY10 gets you 10% off. I highly recommend their services.)


I also love working out with a trainer, so that I am held accountable and challenged to do my best. I promote any/all movement that you love, and that is safe and effective.


I am also not a fan of pushing yourself like crazy at the gym in order to binge eat and drink on weekends and feel you are “making up for it.” That yo-yo effect will eventually burn you out, mind, body, and soul. Learning moderate practices is quite sufficient, so you are rewarded all the benefits of a great sweat session.

My Doctor says my labs are “fine”, so there’s no issue, even if I have symptoms.


Sadly, the labs you get at your doctor's office, the ones that your insurance most likely covers, don’t show you all the information you need to know about your health. It only shows the tip of the iceberg.


In fact, most clients are never shown their labs/don’t receive a copy, nor are they told why their labs are called out a certain way at all. If your numbers fall within a general, sometimes very large reference range that is based on the population you live in, even if you aren’t in “ideal” territory, you’re told you’re “fine” and potentially prescribed meds to handle your symptoms.


As a Nutritionist, I advocate for only the best labs, so that we have optimal data telling us what food, vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids your body needs. We can also tell how your genes affect your diet and lifestyle, as everyone’s needs are different! I love what terrific information Functional Labs can tell us about the body.


Autoimmune conditions are sadly on the rise, and many are walking around undiagnosed. Ex: Hypothyroidism is a common autoimmune condition, and if your TSH looks normal, but nothing else is considered, you could still have that imbalance, and there’s so much you can do to feel better. Another example is if you are a normal, healthy weight, you could still have high blood sugar nearing pre-diabetic/diabetic range. Never just guess - get Functional Medicine labs run at least once a year. We offer our own and can connect you to anything else you may need.


We love educating our clients one-to-one and corporations on the truths of health and nutrition, so that everyone feels empowered and in the driver’s seat of their health!



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