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Posted April 04, 2022 by Laura Ilg RD, LD
We’ve been told time and again all fats are unhealthy, multigrain is healthier than white bread and fruit juice is a good replacement for the whole fruit. But, are these facts or myths that have been ingrained in us?
With so much conflicting information, it can be difficult to make the healthiest choices and the unfortunate truth is we often fall victim to food myths.
We might reach for a food commonly believed to be healthy, but in actuality, it could be harmful to our health, or guiltily grab something considered unhealthy, when it actually contains several nutritional benefits.
Summa Health gets to the bottom of 7 common food myths to separate out the facts so you can make more informed healthy choices. After all, when you reach for the healthy snack over potato chips, you want to be sure it’s actually benefitting your health.
Myth: Eggs are bad for your cholesterol.
Fact: Eggs have taken a beating over the years. While egg yolks do contain cholesterol and unhealthy fats, research has shown moderate consumption of eggs (one a day) is fine because the effect on blood cholesterol levels is minimal compared to saturated and trans fats. Plus, eggs are a great source of protein, fatty acids and other essential vitamins and minerals, including iron.
Myth: Raw vegetables are better for you than cooked.
Fact:While some nutrients are lost when vegetables are cooked, the numerous health benefits you get from eating vegetables, whether cooked or raw, far outweigh these negatives. Both raw and cooked vegetables provide you with essential nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E, while reducing your risk for chronic illness.
So go ahead and eat your vegetables any way you like them — just as long as you’re eating them.
Myth: All fats are bad for your health.
Fact: All fat is not created equal and it’s important to distinguish between healthy vs. unhealthy fats in your diet. Foods can contain healthy fats, which reduce your risk for heart disease, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, and unhealthy fats, which clog arteries, cause weight gain and increase your bad cholesterol.
So, limit saturated fats, found in butter, high-fat meats and dairy products, and trans fats, found in prepackaged foods, margarines and fried fast foods. Instead, increase your intake of good fats that are found in salmon, nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Myth: Multigrain is the same as whole grain.
Fact: A multitude of grains sounds healthy, right? Not necessarily. Multigrain foods are made with more than one grain, but none of them may be whole grains. Whole grains include all the nutritional components, the bran, germ and endosperm, which give you fiber, vitamins and minerals. Multigrain can lack any nutritional value.
So don’t let multigrain advertising fool you. Read the labels to be sure they list whole grains, such as whole wheat. You also can look for the 100% Whole Grains stamp on packaging.
Myth: Fruit contains bad sugar.
Fact: Yes, fruit contains natural sugar, or fructose, and too much fructose is linked to an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. However, whole fruits add minimal fructose to your diet, while giving you many important vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Just make sure you’re eating the whole fruit and not packaged fruit juice. Fruit juice is sweetened and can add too much sugar to your diet. It also doesn’t contain the fiber from a whole fruit, which helps you feel fuller and slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
Myth: Drinking coffee is bad for your health.
Fact: Not so fast. Drinking coffee in moderation has been shown to have health benefits. Coffee contains antioxidants, and studies show it can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes and liver damage.
The health concern comes into play when you drink too much because it contains caffeine. Plus, if you add creamer and sugar to your coffee, you’re adding empty calories and unhealthy fats.
Myth: Eating more carrots benefits your vision.
Fact:Unfortunately, eating more carrots won’t help your poor vision suddenly become clear. However, carrots can improve your overall eye health and reduce your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye conditions.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which our bodies use to produce vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for overall eye health. So make sure you get carrots in your diet, as well as other foods rich in vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, spinach and other dark leafy greens.