Tag Archives: food myths

4 Food Myths… BUSTED!

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.

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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).

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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!
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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 and fillers. The same cannot be said for unprocessed red meat [4, 5, 6].

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].

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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_Logo_CMYK_R

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 [9]. 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!

Does Gluten Free = Healthy?

The term “Gluten Free” (GF) has been plastered all over food packages, menus and health websites. It is as though gluten has become the biggest health enemy that everyone should avoid.

Does gluten free = healthy?


Miracle Health Claims

I’ve read/seen/heard countless of times about the miracle health claims of going gluten free. So many promise exaggerated health outcomes that it makes me sick in the stomach.

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Weight loss and improved energy levels (sound familiar) are among the most common “health claims”. FYI, there is no evidence. 😀


 

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and some grains like oat and rye. In cooking, it helps the dough to rise and contributes to its texture. Gluten becomes a problem only if you are truly intolerant towards it (Celiac Disease).

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune condition that destroyes the lining of the small intestines (reaction to gluten), leading to malabsorption of nutrients from food. Symptoms include pain, extreme fatigue, diarrhoea etc. For them, avoiding gluten is necessary.

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The symptoms can be vague. Sometimes,  irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is the triggering of sensitive nerve endings in the gut, is mistaken for gluten intolenrance. Recent research has shown that IBS might be caused by the malabsorption of fermentable sugars found in wheat such as fructans (and not gluten). It could also be other things like food additives, soy or dairy. You would have to do a restriction/elimination test to find out (before blaming it on gluten)!

This does not mean that these foods are bad for health. Avoiding gluten when you do not have a problem may be unnecessary. In fact, they may be unhealthy.

WHY?

-Cutting out gluten would mean that you are avoiding a lot of wheat based products, which are good sources of B group vitamins, FIBRE, calcium and iron.

-Some gluten free products are HIGH in SUGAR (added during the food manufacturing process) as it makes them more palatable. (Weight loss? Maybe not)

-Could lead to a negative change in the bacteria composition of the gut. The right composition of gut bacteria is essential to the immune system.

Fun Facts:

-Gluten Free products are extremely expensive. Don’t waste your money.

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-My GF friends despise GF foods. They miss the normal taste of CAKES. Be THANKFUL that you do not have a problem with gluten. So, EAT YOUR GLUTEN. ;P


Take home msg: If you do not have a problem with gluten, think twice before reaching out for a gluten free product!

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If you are caught up and confuzzled by all the health/nutrition jargon, the healthy and safest approach would be to focus on consuming from ALL the FOOD GROUPS.

FRESH. WHOLE. NATURAL.

It is THAT simple and you can never go wrong. 🙂