It seems like every year there’s a new health craze to stay on top of. If it’s not a new vegetable to eat, it’s an old carb to avoid. To make things simple, it’s generally the refined sugars, the added fats, and the highly processed carbs that cause problems. Here are 7 popular health myths to keep in mind the next time you shop for groceries.
Myth N°1: Salads are Always Good for You!
You only get what you give when it comes to salads. Everything from the lettuce you choose, to the toppings you add, and the dressing you use determines a salad’s health factor. For example, a classic fast food chicken caesar salad contains 520 calories and 31 g of fat! That’s well over half the recommended daily fat intake for the average woman. Making sure you opt for dark leafy greens, olive oil based dressings, and nutrient dense additions like raw nuts, fruit, and lean protein is a sure way to avoid sabotaging your salad.
Myth N°2: Drinking Calories isn’t that Bad!
Depending on what you’re drinking, anything other than water often contains too much sugar, too much fat, or both. The average size frappuccino can be up to 430 calories, 14 g of fat, and 69 g of sugar! That’s a meal in itself, minus the nutrition. The big issue here is that the sugar count is nearly 3 times the recommended daily intake for women. Drinks can do the most damage if you don’t know their contents.
Myth N°3: Natural Sweeteners are Harmless!
Most natural sweeteners like agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup actually have more calories per cup than granulated table sugar. However, natural sweeteners can have small health benefits like the small amounts of antioxidants found in honey and maple syrup. That means if you’re looking to lose weight, natural sugars might not be helping you. A natural sugar that is both lower in calories and better for you is date sugar! Try it the next time you bake.
Myth N°4: Fresh Juices are packed with Nutrients!
Sure, juicing is a healthy option. However, it’s not the ideal way to benefit from the nutrients in the fruits and veggies you buy. When you juice, you separate the pulp and fibre from the fruit or vegetable. You’re left with only some vitamins and get no benefit of fibre, which is the healthiest part. It’s also easy to add too much fruit and spike fructose levels unintentionally. The solution is easy: eat your fruit as often as you can, instead.
Myth N°5: Avoid Fat at all Costs!
Fat isn’t always bad. Natural fats like avocado and raw nuts are actually beneficial for weight loss. “Good fats” like these keep you full and boost your metabolism, while providing antioxidants. Blood flow is also regulated by these fats which ensure a functional and healthy brain. Consume nuts regularly and reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. You need fat to function!
Myth N°6: The Higher Grain Count, the Better!
In reality, whole grain and white bread aren’t that different in terms of how much nutrition they offer. After processing, white and whole grain bread end up with nearly the same micronutrient count due to white bread’s added enrichment. However, some minerals like selenium and manganese do occur in higher amounts in whole grain, but only by 2-16%. Overall, whole grain can still be considered “healthier” because of its slightly higher fiber content, but the best option is to find a 100% whole wheat bread instead of grain, not fortified, and organic.
Myth N°7: All Carbs are Bad!
If you overeat carbs, of course they’re bad for you. The fact is we still need carbs for energy, and the right carbs. Most foods are carbs, so what should be focussed on is eating whole carbs rather than processed. For example, boiled potatoes and beans and legumes are great in moderation. Incorporate beans and legumes to get around 15 g of fiber rather than 2g out of your pasta. Cutting carbs is hardly ever effective because the hunger is often satisfied by binge eating. Find your balance!
It can be hard to keep track of what is right and wrong in the world of health. The best approach is to know your body and that of your children in order to make the right choices.
If you liked this article on popular health myths, heck out these 5 Delicious Dairy Free Meals!
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