What is a Food Myth and What is a Fact? Let's Find Out

A very interesting article, found on US news website in health and wellness section, written by Bonnie Taub-Dix (MA, RD, CDN, an owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC). It talks about food and how we think about it in terms of what is good and bad for us. Hope you find it as useful as we did. [caption id="attachment_998" align="alignnone" width="212"] Image taken from http://tsh.to/[/caption]   "Examining Food Myths and Facts "Sugar is toxic." "Don't eat after 7 pm." "Avoid all white foods." "Going gluten-free or low-glycemic is the best way to lose weight." "All of the nutrition is in the skin of fruits and veggies." The statements above are like magnets – pulling us in as we walk past the magazine rack or, worse yet, when we walk down a supermarket aisle. Consumers are hungry for miracle cures and easy ways to get healthy and slim without making much of an effort to get there. But buyer beware: Not all of the so-called "facts" you read about are true and, in fact, some food myths harm more than help. I'm here today to help you decipher fact from fiction, but first let's test your foodie knowledge by answering the following 10 statements with either "true" or "false": 1. Zero grams trans fat on the label means you're not getting any trans fat in your food. 2. Sugar-free and fat-free items are practically calorie-free or very low in calories. 3. Multi-grain is rich in whole grains. 4. Potatoes are carbs, and therefore should be avoided. 5. White vegetables don't have value. 6. Nuts are fatty. 7. Brown eggs are healthier than white. 8. Gluten-free foods will help you lose weight. 9. If you eat late, you're doomed to become obese. 10. Breakfast isn't important. I know you're probably a supermarket sleuth, so let's see how you did: 1. ZERO grams trans fat on the label means you're not getting any trans fat in your food. FALSE! The FDA allows any food with .5 grams of trans fat or less to claim "0 grams trans fat" on the label. If you happen to eat several servings or a few different 'trans fat-free' foods during a day, you can wind up consuming a measurable amount, which leads to increased levels of artery-clogging, bad (LDL) cholesterol. Don't be fooled! Check the ingredient list, and if you see "hydrogenated" or "partially-hydrogenated oil" listed, step away from the package. 2. Sugar-free and fat-free items are practically calorie-free or very low in calories. FALSE! Items that decrease sugar or fat to qualify as "sugar-free" usually increase fat and sodium content and vice versa for "fat-free" (defined as less than .5 grams of sugar or fat per serving) products. Additionally, sugar-free items can use artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols that could cause digestive issues (gas, bloat, diarrhea … not pretty.) 3. Multigrain is rich in whole grains. FALSE! "Multigrain" simply means that several types of grains are used in the making of a product, which could also include refined grains that are less nutritionally dense. "Whole grain" is defined as containing the entire grain (bran, endosperm, and germ). If you're looking for a whole-grain product, be sure the first ingredient listed contains the word "whole," such as "100 percent whole wheat." It might help to look for the Whole Grains Council's stamp, which means at least a half of a serving of whole grains are contained in the product. Be sure to still read the rest of the label because not all products containing whole grains are nutritious – they can still contain more sugar, fat or sodium than you thought you were buying. 4. Potatoes are carbs and therefore should be avoided. FALSE! Potatoes may be a starchy vegetable, but they contain a powerhouse of nutrients. The carbs you should avoid are highly processed, sugar-laden types that provide little, if any, value. Potatoes, on the other hand, have more potassium than a banana, if compared gram by gram! They are also great sources of fiber, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus,as well as other vitamins and minerals. Put out a welcome mat for potatoes, no matter how you slice 'em. Additionally, sweet potatoes and yams are an excellent source of beta-carotene and, contrary to popular belief, these superfoods may actually help insulin metabolism, boost your energy and keep you feeling satiated. 5. White vegetables don't have value. FALSE! As an artist, I frequently mix colors on my palette, and as a foodie, I like to pack a colorful plate. But let's not forget that white is a color. We're told that the more color a fruit or vegetable displays, the more nutrients you'll find within, and although this is true for some produce, white vegetables still contain many essential nutrients including fiber, magnesium and potassium. Try on some white tonight with turnips, mushrooms, cauliflower or white potatoes – white works year round with these veggies. 6. Nuts are fatty. TRUE and FALSE! Although nuts do contain fat, there's no need to be fat phobic. Most nuts contain healthy, monounsaturated fats that help promote heart health and may even stabilize blood sugar. Almonds, for example, provide a satisfying mix of protein and fat that can also help you slim down without compromising crunch and with an added bonus of fiber and calcium. 7. Brown eggs are healthier than white. FALSE! This one's easy. The only reason some eggs are brown and others are white is because the chickens that hatch the eggs have different colored feathers! Save some green in your wallet – there's no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. 8. Gluten-free foods will help you lose weight. FALSE! Diets free of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) have become red-hot over the past few years, even for those without celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. If you suffer from gluten sensitivity, the products that line gluten-free aisles may help keep your symptoms at ease, but they may not keep you slim. These products are often filled with excess fat and sugar to compensate for the lack of gluten protein. Instead, fill up on gluten-free whole grains, such as quinoa, teff, amaranth and buckwheat. 9. If you eat late, you're doomed to become obese. FALSE! When you eat has little to do with gaining weight. Focus instead on what you're eating and how much you swallow. Although consuming excess calories late at night is not the healthiest practice, it's not a direct route to tighter pants. Prone to late-night snacking? It's more likely that it's habit, not hunger, that's calling you. It's likely that you're not truly hungry but just bored, tired or stressed. Try turning in early to prevent aimless snacking. 10. Breakfast isn't important. FALSE! We've long been told that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and now there are many scientific studies backing up this claim. For Better Breakfast Month, I put together these irresistible tips, so there's no excuse for not boosting breakfast now!"
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