Five Myths About Healthy Foods, Busted

 

In today’s food culture, nearly every aspect of the industry is trending towards healthy eating. For health-conscious consumers, that means more variety and more options at an affordable price. It also means that it’s harder than ever to know what’s real and what’s just marketing… or myth.

Recently, we debunked five common meaningless food claims, like slapping “all natural” on a food label and what’s really in sugar-free foods. Now, we’re back again to bust five common beliefs about healthy foods, from healthy-diet rumors that just aren’t true to the truth about buying organic.

 

Myth #1: Avoid Eggs for the High Cholesterol Content

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/03/06/518152471/unscrambling-the-nutrition-science-on-eggs

The Facts: In the late 1970s, eggs were lumped in with fellow high-cholesterol foods like butter and red meat as foods that could be disastrous to a healthy diet. Doctors had just discovered that excess cholesterol in the blood was linked to heart disease, so they naturally assumed that dietary sources of cholesterol should be avoided.

In fact, we now know that most of the cholesterol in our bodies we make ourselves in the liver, and that eating sugar, trans fats, and excessive saturated fats is more harmful to our cholesterol levels than consuming dietary cholesterol. So go ahead and enjoy that omelette, but keep in mind that the healthiest option is to keep your breakfast varied by mixing in GF granolafresh fruit, and whole grain breads.

 

Myth #2: “A Good Source Of…” Isn’t Always So Good

Source: http://bottomlineinc.com/5-health-myths-that-food-companies-peddle-and-what-the-science-really-says/, http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/are-fortified-foods-good-for-you/

The Facts: Here’s the deal with this food claim: a company can claim their product to be a ‘good source’ so long as it provides 20 percent of your daily dose of a certain vitamin or mineral. You can probably imagine the ways that this can play into deceptive marketing claims, like sugary cereals that are advertised as a ‘good source of fiber,’ distracting consumers from the 19 grams of sugar and lack of healthy ingredients. This is the troubling bait-and-switch technique many food manufacturers use today, and the best way to combat it is to ignore splashy marketing claims and take the time to read the nutrition label.

Often, the vitamin or nutrient the product is claiming is readily available in fresh food form, without all of the unhealthy added ingredients. For example, if you’re looking for a healthier source of fiber, a quarter cup of GF steel cut oats, a slice of whole grain bread, and a banana will get you 11 grams of fiber without all those filler ingredients.

 

 

Myth #3: Salad is the Healthiest Item on the Menu

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120619230234.htm, http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/healthy-fast-food-salads#1

The Facts: When you’re grabbing a meal on the road, you probably try and opt for the healthiest item on the drive-thru menu. In a sea of burgers, fries, and Doritos Locos Tacos, salad likely seems like the safest bet. Enter dressing: the foil to your earnest attempts to eat green.  While salads themselves are usually made with healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients (lettuce, nuts, and berries, oh my!), the dressings they come with could add 200 calories and 17 grams of fat to your meal, as is the case with McDonald’s Ranch dressing.

It can also be challenging to make informed choices on-the-go because many restaurants don’t include dressing when they list nutritional information for menu items – they’re often considered separate add-ons. When in doubt, use the dressing sparingly or opt for a low or reduced fat option.

 

Myth #4: The Only Way to Cut Down on Pesticides is to Eat Organic Produce

Source: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php, http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/michael-pollan-answers-readers-questions/

The Facts: For most of us, shelling out extra money for all-organic groceries just isn’t realistic. Instead, buy your organic products strategically. Journalist and food activist Michael Pollan explains that certain organic products offer more value to consumers than others. For example, certain produce will have more pesticides on them when you buy conventionally, so it’s worth it to buy organic for the following “dirty dozen” fruits &

vegetables:  strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.

That list comes from the Environmental Working Group, who analyzed tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the presence of pesticides on conventionally-grown produce. They’ve also identified the “Clean 15” for 2017, conventionally-grown produce that are the least likely to contain pesticide residue: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.

 

Myth #5: There’s Less Nutritional Value In Frozen Fruits And Vegetables

Source: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/are-frozen-fruits-and-vegetables-as-nutritious-as-fresh/?_r=0, http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/michael-pollan-answers-readers-questions/


The Facts:
A team of researchers at the University of California compared the nutritional content in eight different fresh and frozen produce and found that there were no differences of consequence between fresh foods and their frozen counterparts. Often, frozen fruits and vegetables are processed at their peak freshness, meaning they could be even more nutritious than a carton of blueberries that has been sitting in your fridge for a week.

Even better, frozen fruits and vegetables are often more affordable than fresh produce, giving families on a budget a cheaper option without compromising on nutrition. Remember to buy only single-ingredient frozen produce – if you’re buying fruits and veggies treated with sauces or seasoning, that’s a different product altogether.

 

 

Now let’s hear from you. What lessons in healthy eating have you learned lately? What questions do you still have? Let us know in the comments below!


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