It’s not what people don’t know that gets them into trouble; it’s what they know for sure that just ain’t so. This old saying applies brilliantly in the world of dieting. With so many misconceptions flying around, it’s a wonder that anyone manages to eat healthy at all. As a public service, here are a few of the more egregious misconceptions, as reported by Self.com, about what people should (or shouldn’t) be putting into their mouths.
• Myth #1: Egg yolks are bad: Dietary cholesterol has been wrongly accused of raising blood cholesterol levels for years. It’s become clearer that saturated fats and trans fats are more influential in raising blood cholesterol levels. And while eggs—the yolks included—are high in cholesterol, they are relatively low in saturated fats. Lots of research has been done in recent years, and the verdict is that the entire egg can actually be a part of a healthy diet and in most people, do not significantly impact cholesterol levels or heart disease risk.
• Myth #2: Coffee is dehydrating: Yes, coffee is a diuretic (i.e., promotes urine production), but it’s an extremely mild one. It also has a lot of water in it and therefore actually counts toward daily fluid intake. The amount it would take to dehydrate a person is more than anyone should be consuming in a day—if someone has two or three cups daily, their fluid levels will be completely fine.
• Myth #3: Natural sugar is different from added sugar: Sugar is sugar. On a molecular level, the sugar in an apple is the same as the sugar spooned into a coffee cup. There can be a difference in how bodies break down the sugar when it’s combined with other nutrients like fiber and protein, but simply being natural doesn’t cut it. Sugar in a whole fruit comes with fiber and helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes. That’s better than sugar that comes void of other nutrients. But when the juice is squeezed out and drank, the body reacts the same way it would to table sugar.
• Myth #4: Organic food is automatically healthy: The word “organic” comes with a big health halo around it, as if everything with the label is automatically good. The truth is that organic snacks are still snacks. Eating them in excess isn’t suddenly okay because they meet the requirements for an organic label. Organic chocolate syrup is still chocolate syrup. Organic cookies, crackers, chips, and candies have the same amount of sugar, fat and empty calories as non-organic versions.
• Myth #5: Margarine is automatically better than butter: Margarine become popular in the fat-is-bad era, but many actually contain trans fats, which are worse than the naturally occurring saturated fat in butter. Butter’s ingredient list is short and sweet and doesn’t contain extra ingredients to make up for lack of taste. Not all fake butter is bad, but one has to be cautious about what one is buying. Stick margarines are not recommended due to the fact that they contain hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats). Spreads that are in tubs can be considered; just make sure the ingredients are beneficial.
• Myth #6: Salads are always the healthiest option on the menu: Think that choosing the salad is safe? All the add-ons piled atop a bed of lettuce can make the sugar, fat and calorie count just as high as that mouthwatering burger. Watch out for tricky salad toppings that add up quickly: creamy, bottled dressings; cheese; bacon; croutons; or sweetened, dried fruit. Other ingredients, like avocado and nuts, are healthy in small amounts but are usually served in too-large portion sizes. To make sure salad is as healthy as possible, look for one with leafy greens, lean protein, a small serving of healthy fat, and an oil-based dressing.
• Myth #7: Low-fat versions are better than the originals: Anyone still buying low-fat varieties of naturally fatty foods might be doing themselves a disservice. Fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Any extra calories eaten that the body can’t use can be converted into body fat, not just dietary fat. Fat is more densely caloric, though, which is both a blessing and a curse. Because fat is so rich in calories, it is also very satisfying. That’s good because ideally it means one could mindfully eat or use a small amount to feel full. It also means it’s important to watch portion sizes.
Separating myth from fact is vital when it comes to diet. Keeping these tips in mind can go a long way toward maintaining good health.
© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.