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Healthy Food Myths Debunked

With all the health and nutrition advice out there, often times contradicting each other, it’s hard to determine what is true and what is not. By following the wrong health advice, you may be missing out on proper, well-balanced nutrition. Here are some of the most common healthy food myths you should stop believing.

Myth: Fresh is always better than frozen.
Ideally, we would always opt for fresh produce, however, some fruits and vegetables are not always available. The common belief is that fresh produce is better than frozen, or that frozen is unhealthy because it reduces the nutritional value of the produce.

But it has been shown that the nutritional content of fresh and frozen produce is similar. Because the freezing process is initiated when produce is at its peak, it actually preserves the nutrients. So next time you’re craving fruits or vegetables that are out of season, you can head to the freezer aisle.

Myth: Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs.
The only thing that the color of an egg indicates is the breed of the chicken. Although there are differences in production methods, it does not affect nutritional values. Whether white or brown, eggs still provide amazing health benefits and are a great protein source.

Myth: All fat is bad.
Not all fat is created equal. Sure, there are bad fats which increase LDL (bad cholesterol), but there are also healthy fats. Heart-healthy fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which should be consumed in moderation, and can be found in foods like fatty fish (salmon, sardines, trout), avocado, nuts, and olive oil.

Myth: Eating after 6pm makes you gain weight.
This common weight loss tactic is often found to be unsuccessful. The truth of the matter is that what you eat matters more than what time you eat. You will gain weight if you consume more calories than your body needs. Therefore, a person who consumes more calories than they need before 6pm will gain weight, versus someone who consumes fewer calories and eats until 8pm. You want to burn more calories than you consume, but you also want to consume the right calories to ensure you are maintaining your health and nutrition.

Myth: Fasting periodically helps detox.
Your body uses the spleen, liver, kidney, and digestion process to rid your body of toxins naturally. Although many believe fasting or juicing for a certain amount of time will help to detox and cleanse their system, it is rather unnecessary and doctors often advise against it. You can help your body eliminate toxins naturally by eating a well-balanced, fiber-rich diet and staying hydrated throughout the day.

Myth: Food plays no role in our mental health.
A healthy diet not only affects our bodies, but it can play a significant role in our mental health as well. For example, people who suffer from mood disorders (ex. manic depression) can benefit from dietary changes. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is encouraged for individuals who struggle with depression as it delivers nutrients (such as folate and vitamin B12) which support mental health.

Myth: Granola bars are very healthy.
It is believed that these are healthy because they contain whole grains, but they are often loaded with sugar and cooked with oil, butter, or some other kind of fat. All things considered, granola bars are calorie-dense foods, and are good for an energy boost. The problem is that people use them as a healthy snack when they want to lose weight, but it can end up hindering your progress.

Myth: Vitamin water is always a good choice.
Water is always the healthiest beverage to drink. It is necessary for your body to function properly and is great just how it is. But there has been an uptick in vitamin water, which contain different vitamins for specific needs. In theory, this sounds good, but the problem is that it also contains sugar and adds extra calories to your diet.

If you want a bit of flavor and added nutrition, try infusing your water with lemon, cucumber, or berries.

Myth: Dark bread is healthier than white bread.
Some people assume that dark bread is healthier because it is supposed to contain more whole grains. However, if you don’t look closely, it may simply be darker because of caramel coloring, but still contains the same nutritional content as white bread. Be sure to check the label to see if it really contains whole grains, and to ensure you are getting a quality product.

Myth: Foods labeled “natural” are better for you.
Using the term “natural” or “all-natural” on labels is not strictly regulated, so it is important to look at the ingredients list and nutrition label. Sometimes these foods contain a high level of fructose syrup or may even be treated with pesticides and other substances. The good news is that the FDA and other government agencies are working to enforce more stringent rules in regards to using the term “natural” on labels.

Are there any other myths you would like to share? Inform your peers and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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