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common food myths

Five More Common Food Myths

Last month, we addressed some common food myths that have gained traction in the mainstream despite evidence to the contrary. We want to you to be fully informed and armed with all the right information, so we’re going to expand on the previous post with some more common food myths – and why they’re just not true.

Myth #1: Eating 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day helps you burn more calories.

This is a big one, and as written, it’s false. As far as calories go, your body processes 5 to 6 small meals exactly the same way it does 2 to 3 larger meals. There might be a benefit of eating smaller meals though – when you’re constantly eating, you tend to keep yourself satisfied throughout the day so when you do eat, you eat less. However, intermittent fasting—or going a set period of time without eating—has been shown to reduce appetite over time.

Myth #2: Calories are calories, regardless of where they come from.

While it’s true that a calorie is a calorie no matter what, not all calories are nutritionally equal. Your body metabolizes foods differently. Depending on which metabolic pathway a food takes, it can contribute to fat burning – or fat storage – as well as appetite suppression and regulation and hormonal signaling. Not only that, but 100 calories worth of chips is just not nutritionally equal to 100 calories of an apple. Even if you’re staying within your calorie recommendations, you don’t get the same vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the chips.

Myth #3: Low-fat foods are healthier than their conventional counterparts.

The low-fat craze of the ‘90s had everyone banning fats from their plates, but just because a food is low in fat, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. While it’s true that naturally low-fat foods, like fruits and vegetables, should make up a large percentage of your diet, packaged low-fat “health” foods should be off limits. Fat makes food taste good and when manufacturers remove fat from a food, it affects the taste in a bad way. They make up for this by adding extra sugar, which is incredibly harmful to not just your waistline, but your health as well.

Myth #4: Brown sugar is more nutritious than white sugar.

While it’s true that brown sugar contains slightly more minerals – and we mean slightly – than white sugar, it isn’t enough to classify brown sugar as being a wiser choice than white sugar. Brown sugar is simply refined white sugar with molasses added to it. If you’re looking for a better sweetener option, choose raw honey or real maple syrup; but still use them in moderation. Too much sugar – in any form – can contribute to weight gain.

Myth #5:  Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is the same as eating a piece of fruit.

While manufacturers would love you to believe that drinking “5 servings of fruit in every glass” is the key to meeting your fruit needs for the day, too much fruit juice is bad for your waistline. When you drink a glass of fruit juice, you’re basically only getting the sugar from the fruit. While you may be getting some vitamins and minerals too, the juicing process strips most of them – especially fiber – from the fruit. If you do like to have some juice, make your own at home and add plenty of vegetables to cut down on the sugar content.


Common Food Myths – and the Real Truth

There are some common food myths so ingrained in our culture that lots of people – including physicians and health care professionals – accepts them as fact even though there is no evidence to support them. We’re not sure where or why these myths started, but we’re here to get to the bottom of them once and for all.

Common Food Myth #1: Egg yolks are bad for you.

It’s true that egg yolks contain a significant amount of cholesterol – about 200 milligrams in a single yolk – and that too much cholesterol in the blood can contribute to heart disease, but that’s where the connection stops. The cholesterol you eat actually has very little impact on the cholesterol in your blood. In fact, your body makes 75 percent of the cholesterol in your blood; so when you eat more cholesterol, your body just makes less. Eggs are actually a good source of 13 different vitamins and minerals, most of which are found in the yolk.

Food Myth #2: Eating late at night makes you gain weight.

When someone is trying to lose weight, eating at night is often one of the first things to go. There is a common belief that when you eat food after a certain time, your body stores it as fat, but that’s not true. It’s not the time on the clock that is the cause for the weight gain; it’s the fact that in many cases, the late night eating occurs in addition to a full day’s worth of meals. If your late night snack puts you over your calorie needs for the day, you may gain weight.

Common Food Myth #3: Fat makes you fat.

This a myth that seems to persist no matter what the research shows. For some reason, people tend to believe that fat is largely responsible for weight gain, when in fact, eating it can actually help you lose weight. Some fats, like those found in coconut, actually help boost metabolism and give you a quick source of energy. It’s true that overdoing it on fat can lead to weight gain – since each gram contains 9 calories – but the same is true of any of the macronutrients. If you eat too many calories, you’ll gain weight, regardless of where they come from.

Food Myth #4: If there’s fiber in it, it’s good for you.

Manufacturers would love you to believe that their fiber bars and fiber-enriched snacks are the perfect alternative to fiber-rich whole foods, but don’t let them fool you. The faux fiber manufacturers add to these snacks foods does not provide the same health benefits as the fiber naturally found in things like beans and broccoli. In addition, these snacks are often loaded with sugar so the cons end up outweighing any potential pros.

Common Food Myth #5: You need to drink 8 glass of water each day.

The 8 glasses of water a day rule is one that is widely accepted and widely spread, but the recommendation is really just a suggestion that seems to have taken hold. The truth is everyone’s water needs are different. Your age, gender, activity level, size, and climate all play a role in how much water you need. If you’re looking for a general recommendation, aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces. Although this is still just a suggestion, it’s a little more specific.