Growing up, you may have been told that having more than two eggs at a time can eventually lead to heart problems. Or you may have been told that eating after 8 PM can cause you to gain weight. Our dietitians are often debunking nutrition myths that have become mainstream and we’re here to share some of the most common myths we see.
True or False: Carbohydrates are bad for you
False. Our bodies need carbohydrates for fuel. The concern, however, is when we over consume calories from carbohydrates in refined, low fiber sources as these are often high in sugar, salt, or unhealthy fats. Eat carbohydrate rich foods from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to pack a nutritional punch and fuel your body well.
True or False: Fruit is too high in sugar
False. Fresh fruit contains naturally occurring sugar called fructose as well as fiber. The fiber helps to slow down the rate which fructose is absorbed, preventing big spikes in blood sugars, as well as providing other health benefits. However, processed fruits such as juice or jams are stripped of this fiber and may contain added sugars. For example, one medium apple contains 14 grams of sugar and about 4 grams of fiber versus 6 ounces of low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt which contains 19 grams of sugar and no fiber.
True or False: Snacking or eating after 8pm will make you fat
False. Snacks can be healthy! Listening to your body cues for hunger is what determines the need to eat a meal or snack. What time you eat makes no difference as, ultimately, total calories is what matters. However, sometimes we snack for entertainment or boredom and that is where the potential for weight gain can occur.
True or False: Eggs are bad for the heart
False. Cholesterol content in food does not always raise the cholesterol in our bodies. However, eating food high in saturated and trans fat will raise our bad cholesterol and increase our risk of heart disease. Eggs can be part of a healthy diet but limit intake to 4-5 a week.
True or False: Organic food is more nutritious
It depends here. The difference is that organic food is grown and processed without chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or antibiotics. However, most studies have shown that the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant levels in organic foods are no different from the nutritional qualities of conventional food. Consider buying organic items for the Dirty Dozen if you’re curious!
True or False: Buy foods that are labeled as high fiber
False. Not all fiber is created equal. Isolated fibers, found in many packaged foods like cereal bars and yogurt, appear on the ingredients label as inulin, maltodextrin, oat fiber, soy fiber, modified wheat starch, sugarcane fiber, and polydextrose. They may not provide the same health benefits such as improving regularity, decreasing cholesterol, or improving blood glucose levels that intact natural fiber does. For the best health benefits, choose fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are all natural sources of fiber.
For information about our Outpatient Nutrition Services or programs, or if you wish to make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian, please call Winchester Hospital or Winchester Family Medical Center.
Mariale Renna, MS, RD, LDN also contributed to this article.