Demystifying common food and nutrition myths
When it comes to eating healthy, it’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction.
“We’re constantly bombarded with food and nutrition advice from friends, family, the media and the Internet, so it’s no surprise that certain misconceptions continue to thrive,” said Belinda Lo, a Dietitian at The Scarborough Hospital.
Lo takes us through some of the most common food and nutrition myths, and the truth behind them.
Myth: Nuts are fattening
Fact: Nuts and seeds have a high amount of unsaturated fats—the good kind—and are also a good source of protein and fibre. However, it is important to enjoy them in moderation.
Myth: Carbohydrates are bad for you
Fact: Everyone needs carbohydrates to meet their energy needs. Carbohydrates are found in grains/grain products, fruits, vegetables and milk. We should include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in our diet and eat less processed foods that contain refined sugars, such as pastries, cookies and other sweets.
Myth: Fat free and low fat foods are healthier
Fact: The lower the fat, the better is a good rule when it comes to dairy products and meat, but it’s not always the case with other foods. Some low fat or fat free products can also contain a lot of sugar and sodium. So make sure you check the nutrition labels.
Myth: Raw fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than cooked ones
Fact: While some vegetables may contain higher levels of antioxidants when cooked, both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables are sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Everyone should eat plenty of them.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes
Fact: Eating too much sugar does not directly cause diabetes. However, foods that are high in refined sugars, such as candies, cakes, cookies, and pastries, can also contain a lot of saturated/trans fats (the bad fats) and calories. Being overweight and having high cholesterol levels are risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes.