8 common food myths busted!


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In this day and age, everyone is a nutrition expert and indeed nutrition information is everywhere, with multiple experts telling us what we should and should not eat. Yet despite the influx of information, there remains several beliefs out there that are simply not true! So here are the most common food myths and the actual scientific truth behind them.

Fruit is high in sugar so should be avoided

The anti-sugar brigade has been lecturing us about the toxicity of fructose for a number of years, and of course one of the richest sources of fructose in the diet is from fresh fruit. While fruit does contain the sugar fructose, it also contains plenty of fibre and key nutrients and many thousands of years consumption would tell us that a couple of pieces of fruit a day will do no harm. On the other fruit based snacks, juices and dried fruit are all concentrated sources of fruit sugars and as such can be easily over consumed and linked to weight gain long term.

Nut milks are better for you than dairy milk

Nut based milk is generally only a good choice nutritionally if you cannot tolerate dairy milk or prefer not to drink it. The key nutrients we get from milk are protein and calcium and it is important to remember that almond milk contains literally none of either of these. Some non-dairy milks have a little calcium added, but again it is much smaller amounts than is found in dairy, or soy milks for that matter so if you do choose nut milk, make sure you get your calcium from somewhere else.

If you often feel hungry and unsatisfied, here are some of the reasons why and the key foods you can focus on to keep full and satisfied.

Eggs increase cholesterol

Possibly the most commonly held nutrition belief is that eggs, as they contain cholesterol, in turn increase blood cholesterol levels. Not true. Rather it is our dietary fat balance, calorie intake along with individual genetics that will determine if you have high cholesterol. The good news is that you can enjoy an egg or two as part of a nutritious diet daily without cause for cholesterol concern.

Olive oil should not be heated

No, in fact, the antioxidants in olive oil help protect the oil from oxidising when it is heated. Yes you will get the best results from olive oil when it is used in dressings or for roasting or baking but it does not turn carcinogenic when it is heated as commonly thought.

Lettuce and celery have negative calories

While salad vegetables including cucumber, lettuce and celery contain very few calories per serve, there is no such thing as foods that burn more fat simply because you eat them. This is not to say that they are not a good choice as you could literally eat as much of these water rich salad vegetables as you like with no risk of weight gain.

Raw vegetables are better than cooked ones

This really depends on the type as some nutrients become more concentrated and bioavailable when they are cooked. For example the beta carotene content of carrots increases when carrots are cooked as does the lycopene content of tomatoes. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables can have some of their key nutrients destroyed when exposed to high temperatures so these are best consumed raw or lightly cooked.

Skim milk contains sugar

A shift toward more natural eating has seen health enthusiasts keen to consume their foods in as natural a state as possible. It is often argued that skim milk is more processed than full cream milk, and that skim milk contains more sugar, which is not the case. The truth is that full cream milk contains more fat and more of the naturally occurring sugar lactose than skim milk.

Bananas are not a good choice for weight loss

Bananas, like all fruit are a nutrient rich food and are a rich source of fibre, Vitamin B, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates. Bananas like all fruit is a natural source of good quality carbs and as such can be included in the diet as would any other types of fruit without any concern. If anything bananas are a great food choice when your goals is weight loss as they offer a naturally sweet food, that is also rich in fibre which will help to keep you full in between meals and fuel your body for regular exercise.

Bananas also make a great choice for breakfast. Read more about why here.

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