Food and Nutrition: 20 Common Myths
FOOD AND NUTRITION: 20 COMMON MYTHS
1. Superfruits are healthy alternatives
Superfruits, (and super foods), do not exist. This was a marketing term coined only a few years ago. Bananas and pineapples contain as much, or more, nutritional value as some of these “superfruits”, yet they are not mentioned in these lists. A superfruit is simply a fruit that has a high level of nutrients, but this tends to apply to the majority of fruits anyway, whatever name you give them.
2. Eggs raise cholesterol
Egg yolks may raise cholesterol, but not so egg whites.
3. Brown eggs are healthier than white
The colour of the shell has no bearing on what is inside.
4. Alcohol is bad for you
Too much or binge drinking is harmful. Alcohol can raise good cholesterol, which in turn can help prevent blood clotting. (That does not mean drinking in excess is good, it is not.)
5. Natural or herbal products are safe
They seldom undergo scientific tests, or indeed any form of control. They are not yet subject to regulations so any claim can be made. Some have been banned in many countries as “too hazardous” to be on the market. Not all are bad for you, but not all are good either, you just need to take a bit of care choosing.
While they frequently contain fewer calories than the regular equivalent, there are some that do contain the same amount – or more!
7. Skipping a meal helps weight loss
This has been proven to be untrue and people who skip means often consume more at other times. Their bodies need the food that was not provided by the missed meal, so eating small portions keeps all the internal workings of the body functioning well while providing less food.
8. Brown sugar and brown grains are healthier than white
It is not the colour that makes a difference and some brown sugar and brown grains are simply coloured white sugar/grains – so are actually worse. It is unrefined sugar, which tends to be brown that is better, albeit only slightly. It is whole grain that can make a difference.
9. All fat is bad
Fat is essential for healthy living, (it helps the body absorb nutrients, for example), it is saturated fats and trans fats, that on the whole are not good for you, while monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats help with wellness.
10. Drink 2 litres of water a day to be healthy
Water is needed to replace moisture lost, for whatever reason, so this will vary from person to person and according to situations. (Golden-Yellow urine means your liquid intake is fine, dark yellow means you need more water.)
Firstly, if you need a supplement you are probably not eating a balanced diet, secondly it is possible to overdose and the toxicity may damage your body, thirdly they seldom react with your body the same way as nutrients from food do, and lastly some of the ones available actually do harm. This means careful usage requires profound knowledge of the type, brand ethics, food labelling and other factors in order to be able to select only healthy supplements.
12. Red meat is bad for you
Red meat is good for you, (for more information see article “Meat and Health ”), it is the fat that is not good, and this is easily removed.
13. Organic food is healthier
Research shows that this is not generally true, and except for the possibility of trace amounts of pesticides or herbicides in normal food, the difference is negligible to none. Some “organic” food is grown near roads and fumes from the vehicles can come into contact with the food making it “less organic” than believed.
14. Fish is a healthy alternative
Doctors only recommend eating fish twice a week, not more than that, and the reason are the toxins in fish, (mercury is one found in just about every fish tested).
15. Fish oil is a good way to get the benefits of fish
There are currently quite a few legal battles underway about the high levels of PCBs, (polychlorinated biphenyls, manmade toxic chemicals), in fish oil capsules and supplements, and it is thought these may be connected to cancer.
Actually it is much worse on the whole, and in more than a few cases a bottle of water is simply tap water treated with chemicals and sold for inflated prices. (See article, “Tap Water is Better than Bottled Water”)
17. Raw vegetables are better than cooked
This is true in some cases, but in others cooking the vegetable actually brings out more positive effects – and it does very much depend on the way of cooking.
18. Salt is bad for you
Salt is necessary to maintain a good balance of the blood, amongst other things. Like most food stuffs, it is too much that causes damage, and as many food types contain natural salt adding more may take you over the limit. (While competing in sports events in Africa I was prescribes salt tablets – just condensed salt.)
19. Strict detox diets are good for you
They can do a lot of harm. A gentle detox can help, if followed for a short period. (For an example of a gentle detox diet see, “A Gentle Detox for Your Body”)
20. Potatoes are part of the 5-a-day recommended
Actually they aren’t, but many tinned fruit and vegetables are.