Food Myths You’ve Been Believing for Way Too Long
When trying to eat healthy and having no idea where to start or what you’re doing, it can be overwhelming to sift through all the information out there. The internet allows many people to put in their two cents about every topic under the sun, unfortunately this means that what you read is not always true.
We believe that when it comes to food and eating well, a simple and realistic approach works best. We’ve noted some food myths below that we think everyone should be aware of. These myths have been floating around for quite some time and it’s time to put them to bed!
Myth: You Should Always Pick Fresh Over Frozen Vegetables
While ‘fresh is best’ is an accurate statement in many cases, when it comes to fruits and vegetables, studies show that there is little difference between when it comes to their nutrition content. Why is this? A lot of the time, fresh produce remains ‘in transit’ for several days or even weeks before reaching supermarket shelves. This means that the amount of nutrients the fruit or veggies contain may gradually decrease during this time.
Furthermore, the reason frozen versions can sometimes be more nutritious than fresh ones is because manufacturers pick and freeze them in their prime condition. They don't lose their nutritional content in transit.
So, if you worry that you can’t afford/find certain fruits and veggies on your supermarket shelves, don’t be scared to go for the frozen option. I know this doesn’t always work for all fruit/veggies. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of soggy spinach in my salads!
Myth: Drinking 100% Fruit Juice Is The Same As Eating Whole Fruit
Fruits and vegetables provide our bodies with a wide variety of nutrients. One of the most nutritious parts of a fruit is the pulp and skin because they contain fiber. Fiber is an important factor for heart and digestive health and can also help you feeling full in between meals. We buy fruit juice from the store, however in the juice making process, manufacturers often remove these nutritious skin and peels of the fruit. Ultimately, we drink bottle of fruit sugar. While there is nothing wrong with fruit sugars when eaten in the right amounts, drinking bottled juice can make it super easy to consume too much of it in a short period of time.
So, homemade juices are better than store bought?
Think about it this way: when you eat an apple for a mid-morning snack, you generally just eat one, right? However, when you make an apple juice, you might add two, three or even four apples to create a decent amount of juice. This dramatically increases the amount of fruit you are consuming in one serving. When you eat the whole fruit, including the peel and pulp, the fiber that it contains helps your body to break it down slowly and tells your brain when you have had enough. Because juice can be drunken much faster, your body may struggle to recognize these cues to the same extent as eating the whole fruit.
Yes, fruit contains a number of beneficial ingredients, but fool yourself with fancy packaging and marketing of juices. Just remember to eat (or drink!) everything in moderation. Sometimes it is easier and better to just grab that apple and go!
Myth: Dark Bread Is Always Better
When it comes to grain foods, such as bread, we like to believe that darker is better. We associate this brown color with the fact that it is whole wheat, and grains undergo less processing. However, one thing many people don’t know is that some manufacturers may add colors or small amounts of whole wheat to their bread, giving us the illusion that their product is ‘healthier’, while really it isn’t nutritionally better than the white variety.
To avoid falling into this trap, it is always a good idea to check the ingredients list and make sure that the first thing on the list is has the word “whole” or “wholemeal” at the front (for example, whole wheat flour). That way you can be sure that you’re getting the real deal.
Myth: Gluten Free is Healthier
This is similar to the dark bread scenario--many people also think that because something is gluten free, it is instantly a healthier option. Yes, gluten free grains such as quinoa and rice provide our bodies with great nutrients, but there are also plenty of other gluten free food items that aren’t as great. For example, store bought biscuits and other bakery items.
Taking gluten out of products can also have a massive effect on the texture of them. To help with this manufacturers may add extra sugars or other ingredients in order to improve the texture and taste of these foods. Not to mention, they can be far more expensive!
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because it says ‘gluten free’ you are doing your body a favor. Unless there is a medical reason why you shouldn’t (for example, you are gluten intolerant), there is nothing wrong with eating gluten-containing carbs as long as they are the right kind, and you eat them in the right amounts!
We hope that going over some of these myths has helped you differentiate between fact and fiction! Remember--when it comes to your health, it is always a good idea to have sound education and not to believe everything you hear. If you are ever unsure about something, it’s a great idea to do a little research!