We have all heard various things about how too many carbohydrates is bad for you and plenty of green vegetables is best and you can never go wrong with fruits, blah, blah, blah…Behind most food and nutrition myths, there’s a kernel of truth. We separate the science from the silliness. This week’s FYI decided to debunk the myths and show the truth solely for YOUR information.
Myth: If I’m not overweight, I don’t have to be careful about what I eat.
Fact: Even if you’ve never had a problem with your weight, it’s important to choose healthy foods every day. If you think of your body as a machine, then you’ll want to use the very best fuel to keep that machine going strong, and that means staying away from junk food. Also, if you develop poor eating habits now, you could have a lot of problems with your weight and health in the years to come.
Myth: As long as I skip a meal, I can eat whatever I want at my next meal.
Fact: It’s never a good idea to skip a meal, and it won’t make up for eating unhealthy foods, or eating too much, the next time you eat. It’s important to eat three normal-sized and healthy meals a day, and even a few snacks in between, so your body has energy when it needs it.
Myth: Carbs make you fat
Fact: You may know someone who’s on a ‘low-carb’ diet; after all, it’s the biggest weight-loss trend out there. These diets try to make people believe that carbs are just plain bad, but the truth is this: Carbs, just like sugar and fat, will make you gain weight if you eat too much of them. If you eat them in average, balanced amounts, they’re the best source of energy your body can find.
Myth: Eating celery burns more calories than you take in.
Fact: It’s a food myth that celery has ‘negative’ calories. But, with less than 10 calories per serving, it’s great to munch on to lose weight.
Myth: Sugar gives you energy. If you need a boost mid-afternoon or before playing sports, eat a candy bar.
Fact: ‘Simple’ sugars like those found in chocolate, cookies, candies and cakes definitely cause spikes in your blood sugar level, which may make you feel a quick shot of energy in your system. But after that first rush, blood sugar drops sharply, and you’ll suddenly feel like you have less energy than when you started!
Myth: Energy bars are a good way to get needed vitamins and minerals.
Fact: Energy bars can be a good source of carbs, protein and fat, but they can be abused like any other food. Eat too many, and you’re doing as much damage to your body as you would eating lots of candy, cake and cookies. They’re no substitute for low-calorie, no-fat snacks like fruit and vegetables and should only be used occasionally if you’re in a pinch.
Myth: As long as a food package says ‘all natural’ on it, it’s healthy to eat.
Fact: Even if something is labelled ‘all natural’, it can still contain tons of sugar, unsaturated fats, or other things that can be bad for you. Some snacks labelled ‘all natural’ can contain just as much fat as a candy bar! It’s important to read the BACK of the package, where the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list will spell it all out for you.
Myth: Legumes must be eaten at the same time as grains to get a ‘complete’ protein.
Fact: Eat a mix of amino acids throughout the day, and you’ll get all the complete nutrition you’ll need. But yes, beans and legumes are nutritional powerhouses, high in protein, fibre, B vitamins, iron, potassium and other minerals, while low in fat.
Myth: Raw carrots are more nutritious than cooked.
Fact: Cooking actually increases carrots’ nutritional value! The process breaks down the tough cellular walls that encase the beta-carotene. Just don’t overcook it.
Myth: As long as I take a vitamin pill every day, I don’t need to be careful about what I eat.
Fact: Some nutritionists say that it’s good to take vitamin pills, but these pills can’t give you everything you need, not by a long shot! Eating healthy foods gives you fibre, protein, energy, and lots of very important things that vitamin pills don’t give you. So, a vitamin and a bag of chips is still a terrible lunch. Instead, you’ve got to eat a balanced and nutritious meal.