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Food Myths: Sweet Tooth Edition

With misleading labels and health halo foods around us, it’s hard to determine what is really good and bad for us. With proper research and improved FDA regulations and food labels, we can better understand the pros and cons of our favorite foods. Here are some common food myths that may or may not disappoint you.

Honey is healthier than white sugar.
People may believe that honey is healthier than sugar because it can be found in nature. However, sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are both plants found in nature, making sugar just as “natural” as honey. In addition, both honey and sugar contain 16 calories per teaspoon. And while the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of honey have only been proven in lab studies, they have yet to be proven in the “real world.”

As with any added sugar or sweetener, they should be used sparingly. Some added sugars include brown sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, evaporated cane syrup, Demerara sugar, and date sugar.

Eating chocolate is good for your health.
The known health benefits of chocolate come from an antioxidant called flavanoids or flavanols. Unfortunately, most chocolate doesn’t contain enough of this antioxidant to be effective.

Because of the variability in processing chocolate, even 70% cacao might not be rich in flavanols. In lab studies that resulted in flavanols moderately lowering blood pressure, purified preparations were likely used.

In comparison to what we eat, people who ate a quarter pound of dark chocolate daily for three weeks only saw a minor drop in blood pressure. And at 160 calories per ounce, that equates to 640 calories per day from chocolate alone, which is about 1/3 of the RDI.

Frozen yogurt is a low-sugar choice.
While it is a lower-fat option in comparison to ice cream, frozen yogurt is not a low-sugar option. In fact, when fat content is lowered in foods, more sugar is usually added to balance the taste.

The only way to know for sure what you are getting is to read the label or access nutritional information online. Because it is perceived as healthier (thus, flavor is assumed to be compromised), consumers often overcompensate with toppings, which further adds to the sugar content.

If you decide to indulge, there are low- or no-sugar added options available for frozen yogurt.

Watermelon is loaded with sugar.
Watermelon does contain fruit sugar (fructose), however, it is nearly 92% water. While it does taste sweet, it is not loaded with sugar.

Watermelon has a glycemic index (GI) of 75 out of 100, which can be misleading. While its GI score may be high, its glycemic load (GL) is 4. While the GI measures how quickly a carbohydrate will absorb into your bloodstream, the GL takes into consideration the carbohydrates per serving size, making it a better indicator of a food’s affect on blood glucose levels. With that being said, a serving of watermelon will have little impact on your blood sugar.

As a red fruit, watermelon is loaded with lycopene, and with such high water content, is ideal for hydration. One serving (1 cup) contains:

  • 45 calories
  • 20% of daily vitamin C needs
  • 17% vitamin A

Do you have any other food myths or facts to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest!

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