Monday, September 11, 2023

Food Myths Debunked!


Food.  Glorious Food. Most of us have a bit of a love hate relationship with it in that we love the food but we don't want to eat too much.  I enjoy cooking but since there is only really me, its hard to make much of it at once.  I love trying new recipes but I still have the things my mom told me in the back of my mind.  Some of these things fall within the food myth category.

One of those myths I heard growing up is the one that there is nothing better than fresh produce for your health.  My mother mentioned it a lot as she commented that she couldn't afford all the fresh produce and had to use either canned or frozen since it lasted longer.  There is research out there that says that canned, frozen, or dried produce can be as good as fresh.  It is important to read labels to make sure there is no added sugar, salts, or oils that make an otherwise healthy item into something that isn't as healthy.

Along this vein is the idea that one should only use unrefined sugars such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar because they are healthier due to have additional vitamins and minerals. That isn't quite true because the amount of vitamins and minerals are extremely small and they are a sugar.  Sugar is sugar no matter what and too much is not good for us.

There is also a rumor out there that says one must cut out all fat because it is better for your heart and overall health.  The food industry has replaced fat with sugar and salt to help maintain the flavor lost when the fat was taken out. In fact, it is important to consume healthy fats so you have energy, are able to absorb certain nutrients, to support cell function while helping to produce certain hormones.  

Of course, my mother was great at following the rule about counting calories to lose or maintain weight but it isn't calories that is the only thing to look at.  It is much more important to eat healthy foods.  Look at quality over quantity.  I saw a infographic that showed a small plate.  Half of it was devoted to veggies and greens, one quarter to grains etc, and the last quarter to protein as the best way to eat.  

There is another myth that if you want to lose weight you avoid all carbs.  Many of these low carb diets restrict or eliminate all fruit and grains which are good for you. If people eliminate processed carbohydrates found in cookies, cakes, or soda, they are likely to lose weight.  It is not good when a diet eliminates one class of food.

One thing my doctor told me was that I couldn't eat anything white including potatoes.  I was not allowed to have any potatoes because they aren't good for my health.  According to John Hopkins, potatoes are good for you with Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and other nutrients but they should be eaten with the skins on because the skins have nutrients. They should be fixed by baking, air frying, boiling, and roasting.  Furthermore, they are available in the grocery store year round.

Another myth is that certain foods such as apple cider vinegar, grapefruit juice, or cayenne peppers will help your body burn calories.  There are no foods which will make your body burn more calories. What really happens is that diets recommending these foods eliminate others and that is what causes your body to lose weight.  When you add the missing foods back in, you are likely to gain the weight back.

These are just some of the food myths out there.  Remember, check to see if the food advice you get is actually good or a myth.  You want to take the best care of yourself and want to eat as healthy as possible.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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