We make all our life decisions based on the opinions and beliefs, but they’re largely influenced by the society. Food isn’t the exception! Our diet choices are influenced by our beliefs on whether some specific food is good for us or not. The problem is that a number of food myths circling around prevent us from getting the most out of a well-balanced nutrition. To help you make wiser diet choices and get the maximum out of the food you eat, this post discusses ten healthy food myths that you probably believe, but shouldn’t.
- Fresh is always better than frozen
Although we would like to eat fresh produce all the time, sometimes it’s not possible. Some fruits and vegetables aren’t always available, especially when it’s not their season. We are led to believe that fresh produce is always better than frozen or that the latter are unhealthy. Not everything is black and white, and this subject isn’t the exception.
A common assumption is that freezing reduces the nutritional value of the produce, but scientists explain this practice actually preserves the nutrients. Evidence shows that nutritional content of fresh and frozen produce is similar.
One study evaluated the concentrations of l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin A, and folate in fresh and frozen vegetables. Results showed there were no differences in nutrient contents between fresh and frozen vegetables, but levels of vitamins A, C, and folate were greater in frozen produce compared to fresh.
All this means that if fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available, frozen produce is also a viable and nutritious option.
- Brown eggs are more nutritious than white
One of the most common food myths that most people firmly believe is that brown eggs are more nutritious than white. How many times have you opted to buy brown eggs in the store just because you thought they were healthier?
Eggs belong to the group of high protein foods with amazing health benefits, regardless of their color. In fact, the color of eggs is not an indicator of quality at all. Egg color depends on the breed of the chicken e.g. White Leghorn chickens carry white eggs while Plymouth Rocks lay brown-shelled eggs.
A study whose findings were published in the Poultry Science discovered that although there are differences between white and brown eggs and production methods, one doesn’t contain a better value or quality attributes than the other.
- All fat is bad
Nowadays, most of us live in some sort of fear of fat. We consider fat as the biggest enemy of our health and weight and strive to avoid it whenever possible. Not all fat is created equal, and while unhealthy fat increases LDL or bad cholesterol and contributes to the cardiovascular disease risk, healthy fats can prevent these negative scenarios.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy fats, which you should consume moderately. Great sources of healthy fats are fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines, trout), avocado, nuts, olive oil.
- Eating after 6 PM makes you gain weight
In order to lose weight, you eat until 6 PM and avoid consuming food until breakfast? That’s a common weight loss tactic but most people find it unsuccessful. You’re probably wondering why and the answer is in the fact it’s not when you eat, but what.
The key to successful weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. If you eat more calories than your body needs, you’ll gain weight regardless of the time of the day. A person who eats more calories until 6 PM will gain weight while another individual who eats a lower amount of calories until 8 PM won’t. It’s all about your diet plan and foods you include in it.
- Fasting periodically helps detox
The truth is that your body has its own system elegantly designed for removal of toxins. This particular system involves spleen, liver, kidney, and the digestion process. Even though detox products and smoothies, and fasting are incredibly popular detox option today there is no enough evidence to support their efficacy.
Avoiding to eat at all or consuming only juices for a certain period of time isn’t a detox measure supported by science and many doctors advise against it. You can help your body get rid of toxins through consumption of well-balanced fiber-rich diet and stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Food plays no role in our mental health
We tend to underestimate the power of healthy diet. A well-balanced eating pattern doesn’t benefit your body only, but the mind as well. Individuals who suffer from mood disorders such as manic depression can greatly benefit from making tweaks in the way they eat.
A study from the Public Health Nutrition found that adherence to a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for individuals who struggle with depression. Why? That’s because this particular diet delivers folate and vitamin B12 as well as other nutrients that support mental health.
- Granola bars are super healthy
People think granola and granola bars are incredibly healthy because they contain whole grains, but you should probably rethink your decision to eat them. Why’s that? Granola tends to be loaded with sugar and it is oftentimes cooked with oil, butter, or some other kind of fat.
So, if you take into consideration all the sugar and fat, granola bars are calorie-dense foods. We usually go for these bars for energy boost which they can deliver, but many people use them as a healthy snack when want to lose weight. But they can only undermine your weight loss endeavor.
- Vitamin water is always a good choice
Water is, by far, the healthiest beverage a person can drink. Your body needs water to function properly and the best thing is – it’s beneficial just the way it is, without any additions. That being said, lately, we see the rise of vitamin water.
These water bottles contain different vitamins for specific needs and although they may seem like a brilliant idea, that’s not always the case. Vitamin water also contains sugar which adds extra calories to your diet.
If you’d like to mix things up, simply add a few pieces of fruit to your water and that’s it.
- Dark bread is healthier than white
We tend to assume dark bread is healthier because it is supposed to contain greater whole grains content. That’s not always the case! In some instances, dark bread just contains caramel coloring meaning while its nutritional value remains the same as white.
Before you buy bread in the store, make sure it truly contains whole grains. Don’t judge a bread by its color i.e. just because it’s dark it doesn’t mean it is healthier for you.
- Foods labeled “natural” are better for you
Although the label “natural” gives you a sense of security, these foods aren’t necessarily better for you. The problem is in the fact that “natural” and “all-natural” products aren’t strictly regulated, thus leaving the manufacturers freedom to manipulate the entire process.
As a result, these foods can still contain a high level of fructose syrup or they could be treated with pesticides and other substances. Recently, FDA and other government agencies are making efforts to enforce stricter rules to ensure that “natural” label isn’t that manipulated anymore.
Most of us form our opinions about food based on experiences, opinions, and what we hear or see in our environment. That’s why there are always some food myths lurking around. Believing in these myths prevents us from getting the most out of a healthy diet. This post outlined ten common misconceptions that you should abandon today. Research, dare to question food and look for the answers.