Myths and misinformation can run rampant on the internet. This is true for nutritional information as well. Here are 10 nutritional myths that are busted by some of the top nutrition experts in the US.
Fresh fruits and veggies are healthier than canned, frozen, or dried:
Truth is frozen, canned, and dried fruits and veggies can be just as nutritious as fresh. In fact, it can save you money by minimizing spoilage if you do not eat your fresh food soon enough. One word of caution: check the ingredients. You want to make sure there is no added sugar, fats, or sodium in the products you buy.
All fats are bad:
Saturated and Trans fats can harm you by increasing the risk of heart disease or stroke. Monounsaturated (found in plants such as olive, avocados, certain nuts and seeds) and polyunsaturated fats (found in sunflower, walnut, fish, and flaxseeds) are healthy, reduce the risk of heart disease, and stroke. Good fats are important to supply energy, hormone and cell production, as well as the absorption of some nutrients.
“Calories in, calories out” is the most important factor for long-term weight gain:
Although there is truth that if you eat more calories than you do burn you will probably gain weight and vice versa, the most recent research shows that it is the types of foods we eat that have a greater impact on weight management in the long run. Avoiding ultra processed foods is one of the most important factors to losing weight and staying healthy. Focussing on quality of food versus quantity can be more beneficial.
People with Type 2 diabetes should not eat fruit:
This myth came about by assuming fruit juice and whole fruit are equal which they are not. Fruit juice often has added sugar and minimal fibre, which can raise blood sugar levels. Eating whole fruit, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples will actually help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If you already have Type 2 diabetes, eating whole fruit can help you control your blood sugar. Ultimately, you should talk to your doctor to determine what foods you should avoid.
Plant milk is healthier than dairy milk:
Plant milk is a good substitute if you are lactose intolerant, or are vegan, however that does not mean it’s healthier. Cow’s milk is a good source of protein with 8g per 1 cup serving where as almond milk only has about 1 – 2g and oat milk has 2 – 3 grams per cup. As well, many plant-based beverages have added ingredients such as sodium and added sugars. Always check the ingredient list before buying.
White potatoes are bad for you:
White potatoes tend to have a high glycemic value meaning they contain carbohydrates that can be quickly digested and spike blood sugar. However, they can also be very nutritional. White potatoes are high in Vitamin C, potassium, fibre, and other nutrients especially when eaten with the skin. The healthiest way to prepare them include baking, boiling, and air frying.
Never feed peanut products to children in their first few years of life:
This was told to parents as a way of preventing the development of allergies to peanuts. Now allergy experts say it is better to introduce peanut products to your child early on. Feeding your child a diverse diet in the first year of life will help prevent food allergies. Talk to you paediatrician about what is right for your child and the best way to introduce various foods into their diets.
Protein in plants is incomplete:
All plants contain all 20 amino acids that make up protein; the problem is that the proportion of the make up of the amino acids is not as ideal as in animal-based foods. In order to get a good mix of amino acids, it is important to eat a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day including grains, beans, and nuts.
Eating soy-based food can increase the risk of breast cancer:
To date there is no science that has confirmed a link between soy and breast cancer. In fact, soy based food offers many benefits including high-quality protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Fundamental nutrition advice keeps changing:
This, in fact, is not the case. Since the 1950’s, doctors recommended a balanced diet that avoids saturated fat, salt, and sugars as the best way to stay healthy, manage weight, and avoid heart disease and diabetes. Although scientist have learnt more about how various foods play a role in our health the bottom line is consistent – eat a variety of healthy foods, do not over eat, and eat mostly fruits, vegetable and legumes. What tends to change a lot are the latest fad diets.