With the various nutritional websites throwing out different information, it can be difficult to know which sources are true. Here I’ll debunk 5 common food myths which hopefully will allow you to be on your way to cultivating a balanced diet.
1. Juice Cleanses are “Detoxes”
Likely, you’ve had that one friend or relative who swears upon juice cleansing. Maybe you’ve even had the temptation to hop on the bandwagon yourself. If so, you’ve probably doubted your ability to swear off solid foods for a good few days. Luckily, you don’t need to. Unless you seriously know what you’re doing, it seems no one should simply jumpstart a juice cleanse. Think about it: drinking solely juice for several days on end means missing out on a whole lot of fiber, fat, and protein. To go on, you’re also likely ingesting excessive amounts of sugar. The fact is that there’s no scientific data that supports this trend. In fact, research has pointed to the opposite; researchers have found that oxalates, a compound found in plants, can be toxic. Thus in reality, juice cleanses might be more damaging than beneficial.
2. Carbs Make you Fat
The simple fact is that yes, some carbs can be damaging to your health…key-word: some. It’s crucial to understand that not all carbohydrates are the same! That is, “bad carbs” vs. “good carbs”. The former refers to refined carbohydrates, which contain minimal fibers and essential nutrients. Examples include white bread and pasta, fruit juices, soda, and pastries. Good carbs, however, take longer to be broken down and used, and are often loaded with necessary fibers. Good carbs include vegetables, whole grain bread, and legumes. Moreover, many of these can help protect against cancer, heart disease, and various illnesses. On the flip side, bad carbs increase ones risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
3. Brown Eggs are Supreme
This food myth is seemingly based on nothing but utter ignorance, because as it turns out, it’s simply the chicken breed that determines the egg color. Moreover, there are no differences in taste and nutrition. Research has found that there is truly no effect of egg color on nutritional quality and that both brown and white eggs offer the same nutrients.
4. Fresh is Better than Frozen
This is a very common food myth, but also one of the more nuanced ones. There has been much debate and research, but the only thing that has been determined is that fresh produce and frozen produce are nearly the same in their nutritional value. That being said, there are some nutrient decreases that have been found- but, they’ve been marginal. Bottom line: fresh and frozen foods are extremely similar in their nutritional value, and the nutritional value of vegetables overrides these negligible differences.
5. Gluten-Free Foods are Better
In the last decade, “gluten-free” became a trend, but based on little to no evidence about its health benefits. Quite literally, the products started popping up in stores, a few celebrities endorsed it, and people were hooked. Somehow people started to believe gluten-free to be supreme, when in reality, only certain people need to and should go gluten-free. For those diagnosed with celiac disease, it is essential. This group consists of 1% of Americans. Furthermore, nutritionists and doctors do recommend the diet for people with other conditions. The truth is is that that gluten-free is not a healthy diet for most. Not only are many gluten-free products high in sodium and fat, but the diet can be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals, creating nutritional deficiencies.
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