Are you tired of trying to decipher all of the information out there about nutrition and how to eat well? This post will set the facts straight on 16 food myths that you still think are true but are definitely way off the mark!
It’s a known fact that food myths can influence the way we eat. And with all of the info out there, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s true and what’s not.
We want to eat well because we know that’s how to ward off disease, increase our energy, and just feel better in general.
And to do that we’ve got to start initiating a few good habits. But sometimes the practices and rules we put in place are based on information that just isn’t true, despite our best efforts to do what’s best for our bodies.
I take my time, check sources, and get the facts.
So, to keep you well-informed and on track with your healthy lifestyle, I decided to take on a few myths about healthy food and reveal the truth based on science.
Keep reading, and we’ll tackle 16 myths together.
WHAT IS A FOOD MYTH?
A food myth is a misconception or unfounded idea about food in general. It may lead people to follow the latest trendy diet. It could involve cutting a completely nutritious food out of your daily eating regimen because you think it’s bad for you.
It’s often an entirely untrue statement that’s got to be busted. You know, like coffee is terrible for you (see that debunked in myth #2 below). Or how about avoiding dairy? I’ve put a lid on that in my post Is Dairy Good for Weight Loss? | Benefits of Full-fat Dairy. Learn the truth here.
DOES EATING CARBS MAKE YOU FAT?
What needs to be debunked here is the thought that carbs are bad. First off, if you want to know more about demonized foods that are actually good for you, including some carbs, take a look here.
Whether a carb will make you fat or not depends on the type of carbohydrate you are eating. Are you filling up on heavy cream-laden pasta? Do you eat a box of packaged crackers every time you sit down for a movie night? Those carbs may pack on pounds if you don’t enjoy them in moderation.
Instead, satisfy your desire for carbs with a healthy quinoa salad or a make-ahead smoothie with yummy added fruit.
ARE SUGAR-FREE AND FAT-FREE BETTER FOR YOU?
This question is a myth about health food that holds no water at all. Let’s break it down simply right here:
Sugar-Free: When food is touted as sugar-free, it does not mean it is a healthy choice. Why is this? The sugar is removed but always replaced with harmful chemicals. There is nothing healthy about sugar-free at all!
Not only that, but you may think a particular food does not contain sugar, but it is disguised as something else in what you are eating. For a detailed explanation of why sugar-free doesn’t automatically mean good-for-you, read 6 Easy Ways to Spot Hidden Sugars in Foods + 12 Foods That Have Shockingly More Sugar Than You Think.
Fat-Free: Fat-free is not a good term. Fat-free food often goes through a process that removes all of the nutritional fat (learn the myths about fat and cholesterol UNPUBLISHED), typically replacing it with tons of sugar. That’s right – beneficial fats are removed, and harmful sugars are added in their place. Fat-free foods are not better than full-fat, simple as that.
Now that we’ve cleared up a couple of untruths about carbs, sugar-free food, and fat, let’s take a look at 16 food myths you still think are true!
1. COFFEE IS UNHEALTHY
This misconception may be because of the caffeine that is found in coffee. However, coffee is rich in antioxidants and may fight certain health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. The truth is, it’s more likely the sugar and cream that you add to your cup of java that make it unhealthy. I’ve pointed out 11 insane benefits of coffee for all you coffee lovers out there. Take a look!
2. BROWN EGGS ARE HEALTHIER THAN WHITE EGGS
That’s a myth, folks. There is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs. For some reason, many of us have grown up thinking that the darker shell means it’s a healthier food. It’s just not so. However, I’ll tell you all about the awesome of eggs in this post on the benefits of eggs.
3. JUICE CLEANSES DETOX YOUR BODY
Organs in our bodies do the detox work. The spleen, liver, and kidney provide cleansing functions. The liver is critical in that it affects every organ in the body. Forget the sugary juice, my friends.
4. RED WINE IS THE ONLY ALCOHOL THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU
Observational studies have determined that although red wine and the resveratrol contained in it are beneficial, beer, wine, and spirits all offer the same cardioprotective benefits.
5. FRESH VEGGIES ARE BETTER THAN FROZEN OR CANNED
The fact that vegetables are often taken from the field and flash frozen or canned within a short period busts this myth. Veggies that sit on a truck for a week during transport can be quickly depleted of nutrients.
6. ULCERS ARE CAUSED BY SPICY FOOD
Ulcers are actually caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Some can be caused by medications or excessive acid in the stomach. But when it comes to ulcers and spicy food, the spice is only exacerbating what is already there.
8. RED MEAT IS BAD FOR YOU
While studies show that a diet high in red meat can lead to cardiovascular disease, consuming lean beef in moderation is healthy. Vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium are essential nutrients found in red meat.
9. GLUTEN-FREE FOOD IS BETTER FOR YOU
Gluten-free is not necessarily better for you, unless you have a gluten intolerance, of course. Those who do lack the ability to digest gluten will have to avoid wheat, barley, and rye. The rest of us can benefit from the fiber and other nutrients in these foods. The reality is, only about 1% of the population has gluten-intolerance.
10. CRANBERRY JUICE CAN CURE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
This myth is simply a slight mix-up of facts. While a urinary tract infection requires antibiotics to be cured, drinking cranberry juice may prevent UTIs from coming back.
11. CARBONATED DRINKS ARE UNHEALTHY
Sure, carbonated drinks in the form of soft drinks are highly unhealthy. Replace soda with carbonated water with lemon, cucumber, mango, or strawberry slices and see how thirst-quenching and satisfying it can be.
12. MARGARINE IS MORE CALORIE-WISE THAN BUTTER
Not only is this statement a myth, but margarine also contains less-than-healthy ingredients like trans fats that contribute to higher LDL cholesterol levels. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, while “HDL” is the good.
13. DON’T EAT EGGS BECAUSE OF CHOLESTEROL
Firstly, read my post on the benefits of eggs to put any myths about avoiding them out of your mind. Eggs have cholesterol, yes, but in moderation are very healthy. In fact, eggs are highly nutrient-dense. Egg yolks are also rich in choline, which is essential for muscle function.
14. ALCOHOL BEFORE BED HELPS YOU SLEEP
Even though many people think a glass of wine or other alcohol will help them drift off to sleep, there is evidence that alcohol can cause insomnia, aggravate breathing-related sleep problems, and disrupt your circadian rhythm.
15. NUTS ARE A JUNK FOOD
On the contrary, nuts are full of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and minerals like calcium and potassium. It has even been suggested that a serving of one of your 5 daily fruits or vegetables can be replaced by a serving of nuts.
16. STAY AWAY FROM MILK WHEN YOU HAVE A COLD
Some people believe that drinking milk when you have a cold only adds to the mucus problem. This is a myth, so there is no need to avoid dairy when you are under the weather. Instead, because drinking liquids is an essential part of recovery, you can add dairy as a variant to water and juice with Vitamin C.
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