I Ain't Afraid of Food Fads

When there’s something strange in the nutrition news… who you gonna call? Nu-Train!

Nutrition myths spread like cream cheese on a bagel, they’re all over your email inbox, splashed across magazine and paper articles and even discussed on the nightly news. Well, the time has come to debunk some of these common nutrition myths.

Myth #1:  Eating eggs raises your blood cholesterol levels.

Contrary to popular belief, the dietary cholesterol found in eggs actually does not have a tremendous impact on your blood cholesterol levels. It’s a simple mis-”semantic”-communication; unlike the toe-may-toe vs toh-mah-toh conundrum, these two cholesterols, dietary and blood cholesterol, are not created equal. Dietary cholesterol, which is the fat-like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs, actually has little to do with the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Since your body is capable of producing its own cholesterol, it doesn’t need you to get any from food sources so the cholesterol you ingest has little influence over the amount in your blood. However, the actual thing that may increase your body’s blood cholesterol production is specific saturated and trans fats and adversely, soluble fiber may lower blood cholesterol by inhibiting its absorption in the small intestine. One large egg contains only 1.5 g of saturated fat (such a miniscule amount compared to the butter you use to cook your egg), which means they are not a big contributor to blood cholesterol levels. Keep them on your grocery list because they’re a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals!

Myth #2:  The more fiber you eat, the better.

Ladies and Gentlemen: the Fiber Fad has arrived! This is a little trickier than some of the other myths because there is a lot of truth to it. Fiber does keep you full, meaning you’ll ingest fewer calories but not all fiber are created equal. The naturally occurring fiber-rich whole foods satisfy hunger, such as the fiber found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. However, the yogurt found in your grocery aisle that contain fiber-supplements, “faux-fiber foods”, may not be equally beneficial. Manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods in order to increase sales. There are so many components of fiber and they each have their own jobs- wheat bran keeps things moving, oat bran lowers cholesterol and inulin supports a healthy gut, so it’s best to get the benefits of fiber from whole foods rather than isolate aspects of fiber from “faux-fiber foods” boasting unnatural added fiber!

Myth #3:  Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional ones.

We all do it, I am a victim of buying the 30 cent more per pound fruit just because it’s organic but truth is a good mango by any other name is still a mango. Manufacturers began promoting organics as being inherently more nutritious but this is a fallacy, there is no significant nutritional difference existing between conventional and organic crops. Of course there is the issue of pesticides and herbicides that can be found in conventional produce. Also if you opt for organic because the sustainable farming support the health of the soil, the work of small farmers, or he well-being of livestock- then you’re good in my book.

Myth #4:  Skipping meals helps you lose weight

This is a dietitian's biggest nightmare! Did you know that people who skip meals, particularly breakfast, and eat fewer times during the day actually tend to be heavier… yes I said heavier. When you skip a meal you slow down your metabolism and you frequently eat more at other meals to compensate, both of which work against your body trying to lose weight. Actually eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help you control your appetite and keep your calories burning.

Myth #5:  You have to drink 8 glasses of water everyday.

Water, water - it’s everywhere; water bottles have become the fashion accessory and it’s for good reason too. Drinking your necessary daily water requirements is absolutely crucial but you don’t need to go crazy trying to satisfy the eight 8-oz glasses a day rule. Insider’s secret: no one is really sure where this so-called “8-by-8” mantra originated. You know the saying - “everyone’s different”? well this is where it actually applies; the amount of water you should drink daily is dependent on your diet, size, and body chemistry.

 


Heather Bauer, RD CDN
Heather Bauer, RD CDN

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