When it comes to food, everyone seems to have a different opinion.
Social media, marketing, our peers and even celebrities have come to shape the way we think about nutrition and food. At times, it can be difficult to differentiate between fact and fad.
Below are 4 common food myths that are still going around!
Myth 1: Eating fat will make you FAT
Low fat and fat free products are now widely available. This can be attributed to fear that eating fat will make you fat. However, these products are not necessarily healthy. Some have a lot of added sugar to compensate for the loss in flavor/texture. People also tend to over consume, thinking that because it is free/low in fat, they can consume more of it.
Yes, fat has more calories per gram (9 kcal/g) compared to carbs and protein (4 kcal/g). But that does not mean that it is more “fattening”. In fact, studies have found that low carb diets (as oppose to low fat) have led to more weight loss [1, 2, 3].
We all need fat! They have roles in absorbing vitamins, appetite regulation, making of your brain cells, nerve cells and key hormones (sex hormones).
The source, amount and type of fat are very important. These should come from olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, fish/fish oil and grass-fed animal fats.
Myth 2: Red meat is unhealthy
Red meat has always gotten a pretty bad rep. I often hear people say that they have to avoid eating red meat. And when I ask why, common answers would be “it is not good for me” or “it is not healthy”. But they cannot seem to pin point WHY it is unhealthy. It seems like an ingrain assumption. I wish people would have that same assumption towards highly processed packaged foods!
Yes, PROCESSED meats
such as poor quality sausages, ham, salami and burgers are associated with an increased risk of diseases such as diabetes, CHD and cancer. That is because processed meats are filled with chemicals
. The same cannot be said for unprocessed red meat [4
Good cuts of fresh, grass-fed red meats are very nutritious (protein, iron, zinc, Vit Bs, selenium, phosphorus etc) and they do have a place in a healthy diet. Just remember to cook them well. Harmful compounds can form if you burn the meat!
Oh, and if you’re worried about the saturated fat, check out this recent study.
Myth 3: Eggs are high in cholesterol and are bad for you
This myth has been busted ages ago but it still comes up every now and then. Our liver makes the bulk of the cholesterol in our bodies. The food we eat has very little effect on its production.
Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol BUT studies have shown that eggs raises HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and improves blood lipid profile [7, 8].
Eggs are very nutrient dense. Loaded with protein (high quality essential amino acids), choline (for healthy brain), antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin (protects the eyes) along with other vitamins and minerals.
Myth 4: Low GI foods are healthier
The GI rating is another index that has been widely abused by the commercial food industry. The common perception is that if it is low in GI, it is healthy, regardless of the other ingredients.
Low GI has been associated with terms such as complex carbohydrates, improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, a study has shown that low GI foods are not necessarily associated with healthier outcomes when compared to high GI foods . In fact, some sugar-laden foods such as soft drinks have a relatively low GI. This can be very misleading, especially if one swears by the GI rating.
The GI rating alone says very little about the food. Instead of relying on a number or rating that has been assigned to it, focus on the ingredients that make up the food!
The next time you feel overwhelmed by all the food information out there, just remember – WHOLESOME, NUTRIENT RICH and FRESH!
Let me know if you have any questions!